Our Staff

Lawrence Heaney's picture
Curator of Mammals
Year Started: 

As Curator and Head of the Division of Mammals, I am actively involved in research, education, care of the museum’s research collection, development of exhibits, and management of the museum. I have been a member of the staff since 1988. I began my career as a volunteer at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History, attended the University of Minnesota and worked at the Bell Museum of Natural History as an undergraduate, and received my PhD in Systematics and Ecology from the University of Kansas. I currently teach undergraduate students and advise graduate students at the University of Chicago, with a primary affiliation with the Committee on Evolutionary Biology.

My primary research interest is in the evolutionary origin, ecological maintenance, and conservation of mammalian diversity in island ecosystems. I began conducting research in the Philippines in 1981, and as have led teams of researchers (both foreign and Filipino) to many remote areas, where we have discovered dozens of previously unknown species of mammals, documented patterns of diversity along elevational and disturbance gradients, and inferred the historical processes that have led to the development of this highly distinctive fauna. This research has helped to promote the declaration of several national parks, and has helped to improve the management of many others. With funding from the MacArthur Foundation, I worked with Filipino colleagues to establish the Wildlife Conservation Society of the Philippines in 1992, and I now serve as Emeritus Member of the Board of Directors for that society. I began a two-year term as President of the International Biogeography Society in January 2011.