Our Staff

Ben Marks's picture
Collection Manager of Birds
Year Started: 

I am an evolutionary biologist with an emphasis in biogeography of birds.  I use museum specimens to study biogeographic patterns at various spatial scales.  My research interests span the fields of systematics, population genetics, phylogeography, conservation biology, and historical biogeography. 

Understanding the mechanisms that lead to the formation of new species (speciation) is central to evolutionary biology.  I am interested in the contemporary and historical factors that have played a role in driving population divergence in widespread species, as these same factors may lead to the formation of new species.  From a conservation perspective, the more we can learn about species distributions and the factors that have contributed to their extent and limits, the better prepared we will be to conserve biodiversity.

At a broader geographic scale than my phylogeographic work, I’m interested in understanding phylogenetic relationships of bird families with primarily paleotropical distributions, or those who reach their peak diversity in the African and Asian tropics.  Recently, I’ve worked on projects investigating family-level systematics of Kingfishers, Bee-eaters  and Bulbuls and Greenbuls.