Taxonomy, Phylogeny, and Fieldwork:



Rob and other lab members have undertaken taxonomic studies of poorly known genera of mammals from the northern and central Neotropics (Mexico to Brazil). Our goals here are to elucidate species boundaries and describe new species (Anderson, 2003; Anderson and Timm, 2006; Anderson and Gutiérrez, 2009) and elucidate phylogenetic and phylogeographic relationships (Anderson et al., 2006; Anderson and Jansa, 2007; Gutiérrez et al. 2014). These collection-based studies also provide extensive data sets for biogeographic analyses and conservation assessments.

Skulls of Heteromys australis and H. anomalus; Anderson, 1999 

We also conduct fieldwork, both as inventories of poorly known regions and to provide samples for genetic analyses conducted by collaborators (and by some lab students). Rob has conducted modern inventories for mammals through field work in Colombia, Costa Rica, Guyana, and Venezuela (see below; Cadena et al., 1998; Lim et al., 1999; Anderson et al., 2012). 


Our fieldwork in Venezuela has been in close collaboration with Eliecer E. Gutierrez, José Ochoa-G. and Marisol Aguilera. In particular, we surveyed the Cerro Santa Ana and the Serranía de San Luis.  These isolated mountain ranges support evergreen cloud forest but are surrounded by a lowland matrix of dry thorn forests (see Fieldwork gallery; Anderson et al., 2012).  To compare with these small isolated ranges, we conducted later fieldwork in the larger Cordillera de la Costa, in which then-undergraduate at CCNY Mariya Shcheglovitova participated.  See Biogeography of Insular Biotas for more information.


Complementarily, Mariano Soley-Guardia led a field program in Costa Rica. We focused on highland sites, with the goal of studying comparative phylogeography and niche evolution of small non-volant mammals as part of his dissertation. CCNY then-undergraduate student Robert Boria participated in fieldwork during summer 2011.

Participants, IUCN (World Conservation Union) Global Mammal Assessment, Andean small mammals workshop, Villa de Leyva, Boyacá, Colombia, 6–10 February 2006.  Robert Anderson is standing behind Belkis Rivas, who is wearing a pink shirt.

Fieldwork Gallery: