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Michael A. Mares

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Dr. Mares

Michael A. Mares

Director, SNOMNH

Presidential Professor

Joseph Brandt Professor of Biology

Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin
M.S., Fort Hays Kansas State University
B.S., University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
405-325-9007 (Phone)
405-325-5020 (Phone)
405-325-6202 (Fax)


1. Presently, the major thrust of my research is on the systematics, ecology, biogeography and conservation of the mammals of South America. For the past two decades I have worked throughout the continent and, especially over the last few years, have conducted intensive surveys of the fauna of Argentina. Since receiving an NSF grant for this research three years ago, almost a dozen students and colleagues have been supported for extensive field research throughout Argentina, from the southernmost part of South America to the tropical forests of the Argentine-Brazilian border. We have discovered many new species and several new genera of mammals. In addition, we have been able to utilize the data to clarify several concepts relating to the problem of threatened biodiversity.

2. I continue to be interested in the study of mammal adaptations to and evolution in deserts, particularly in comparative research between deserts. I recently completed research on an NSF project to examine habitat selection and population dynamics of small mammals in the deserts of Argentina. This research is continuing at present and I will be seeking additional funds to determine how small mammal populations that have evolved from different phylogenetic lineages manage to adapt to extreme environments and in particular whether of not their communities are structured in similar ways.

3. Other ongoing research projects include the development of field guides for diverse groups of South American mammals and analysis of extensive data gathered over a number of years on the population ecology of chipmunks.

4. Student research has been done on: bat community ecology and morphometrics in Brazil; systematics of Argentine bats; community ecology of small mammals in Brazil; salamander population ecology; bird vocalizations in areas of competitive sympatry; biogeography of South America's mammals; parasite community ecology of tropical mammals. Student research has appeared in: Ecology, Ecological Monographs, J. of Herpetology, Journal of Mammalogy, American Naturalist, American Zoologist, etc. 


  • Mares, M. A. 1992. Neotropical mammals and the myth of Amazonian biodiversity. Science, 255:976-979.

  • Mares, M. A., J. K. Braun, R. M. Barquez, and M. M. Diaz. 2000. Two new genera and species of halophytic desert mammals from isolated salt flats in Argentina. Occasional Papers, Museum of Texas Tech University, 203:1-27.

  • Mares, M. A. 2002. A Desert Calling: Life in a Forbidding Landscape. Harvard Univ. Press, 318 pp.

  • Mares, M. A. 2006. The moral obligations incumbent upon institutions, administrators and directors in maintaining and caring for museum collections. P. 79-98. In Museum Philosophy (H. H. Genoways, ed.). AltaMira Press.

  • Mares, M. A., J. K. Braun, Coyner, B. S., and R. A. Van Den Bussche. 2008. Phylogenetic and biogeographic relationships of gerbil mice Eligmodontia (Rodentia, Cricetidae) in South America, with a description of a new species. Zootaxa, 1753:1-33.

  • Mares, M. A. 2009. Natural Science Collections: America‚Äôs irreplaceable resource. BioScience 59:544-545.

  • Braun, J. K., M. A. Mares, B. S. Coyner, and R. A. Van Den Bussche. 2010. A new species of Akodon (Rodenta, Cricetidae, Sigmodontinae) from central Argentina. Journal of Mammalogy. 91:387-400.

  • Beach, J., S. Blum, M. Donoghue, L. Ford, R. Guralnick, M. A. Mares, B. Theirs, M. Westneat, Q. Wheeler, B. Wiegmann, and the Network Integrated Biocollection Alliance. 2010. A strategic plan for establishing a Network Integrated Biocollections Alliance. [ ]

  • Lack, J., D. Greene, C. Conroy, M. J. Hamilton, J.K. Braun, M. A. Mares, and R. A. Van Den Bussche. 2012. Invasion facilitates hybridization with introgression in the Rattus rattus species complex. Molecular Ecology 14: 3545-3561.

  • Lack, J., M. J. Hamilton, J.K. Braun, M. A. Mares, and R. A. Van Den Bussche. 2012. Comparative phylogeography of invasive Rattus rattus and Rattus norvegicus in the U.S. reveals distinct colonization histories and dispersal. Biological Invasions, DOI 10.1007/s10530-012-0351-5.
  • Braun, J. K., B. Yang, M. A. Mares, and S. B. Gonzalez-Perez. Myotis yumanensis.
    Mammalian Species. (in press).

  • Ojeda, Agustina, Agustina Novillo, Ramiro Ovejero, Pablo Cuello, Cecilia Lanzone, Alex Borisenko, Janet Braun, Michael Mares, Ricardo Ojeda. A cytogenetic, molecular genetic and morphological study of Patagonian chinchilla mice Euneomys (Rodentia, Cricetidae) in the Southern Central Andes. Acta Theriologica (in press).

  • Lack, J., M. J. Hamilton, J.K. Braun, M. A. Mares, and R. A. Van Den Bussche.
    Comparative phylogeography of invasive Rattus rattus and Rattus norvegicus in the
    U.S. reveals distinct colonization histories and dispersal. Biological Invasions
    (2013) 15:1067-1087.

  • Coyner, B., J. K. Braun, M. A. Mares, and R. A. Van Den Bussche. Taxonomic validity
    of species groups in the genus Akodon (Rodentia, Cricetidae). Zoologica
    42 (4): 335-350.