Staff Profile

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Lawrence Heaney


Negaunee Integrative Research Center
Environmental Conservation
Evolutionary Biology

As Negaunee Curator of Mammals at the Field Museum, Larry has been actively involved in research, education, care of the museum’s research collection, development of exhibits, and management of the museum since 1988. He began his 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 his PhD in Systematics and Ecology from the University of Kansas. He currently teaches undergraduate students and advises graduate students at the University of Chicago, with a primary affiliation with the Committee on Evolutionary Biology.

His primary research interest is in the evolutionary origin, ecological maintenance, and conservation of mammalian diversity in island ecosystems. He began conducting research in the Philippines in 1981, and has led teams of researchers (both foreign and Filipino) to many remote areas, where they 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 many national parks, and has helped to improve the management of others. With funding from the MacArthur Foundation, he worked with Filipino colleagues to establish the Wildlife Conservation Society of the Philippines in 1992 (now the Biodiversity Conservation Society of the Philippines), and now serves as Emeritus Member of the Board of Directors for that society. He served as President of the International Biogeography Society from January 2011 to 2013, and remains actively engaged with that organization and its journal, Frontiers of Biogeography, as Associate Editor.

Larry Heaney was born in Washington D.C. and began his career in biodiversity studies as a volunteer in the Division of Mammals at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History.  He attended the University of Minnesota as an undergraduate, and the University of Kansas for his MS and PhD studies.  After serving on the faculty of the Museum of Zoology and Department of Biology at the University of Michigan, he returned to the Smithsonian Institution for several years, then moved to the Field Museum (in 1988).  He has conducted field research in many parts of the United States, but has focused most of his research on the mammals of the Philippines, where the density of mammalian endemic species is among the highest globally.  His research deals with the long-term evolutionary, ecological, and geological factors that influence patterns of biodiversity and endemism in oceanic archipelagoes, in collaboration with a wide range of researchers, conservationists, and government officials in the Philippines as well as the US.  Much of this research has contributed to the development of a community of conservation-related biologists in the Philippines.

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Additional Information


University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; B. S. - June 1975

University of Kansas, Lawrence; M.A. awarded with honors - May 1978

University of Kansas, Lawrence; Ph.D. - October 1979


Grants & awards

The following is a list of grants and awards since 1990. For a full list of grants and awards, see attached Curriculum Vitae.

 1990. "Conservation of Mammalian Diversity in the Philippine Islands: Training, Inventory, and Resource Development".  MacArthur Foundation.  Three years (Nov. 1990 - Nov. 1993).

1993. "A Collaborative Advanced Training Program in the Conservation of Biological Diversity". MacArthur Foundation. Three years; Heaney, R. Lacy, and J. Brown. (Sept. 1993-Dec. 1996).

1996. "Proposal for a Conservation Training Consortium".  MacArthur Foundation.  Three years. Challenge grant accepted by a consortium of The Field Museum, Brookfield Zoo, University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Shedd Aquarium.  Heaney and D. Moskovits, Co-PI.

1998. “Improvement of long-term storage of the Field Museum’s Bird and Mammal genetic resources”. National Science Foundation.  Two years.  Hackett, Patterson, Bates, Heaney.

2001. “Development of an Integrated Network for Distributed Databases of Mammal Specimen Data”.  National Science Foundation.  Three years.  Heaney, Lowther, Patterson, Stanley.

2001. “Dissertation Research: Comparative phylogeography of six Philippine fruit bats (Pteropodidae)”. National Science Foundation.  Two years.  Heaney, Bates, Roberts.

2002. “Building Capacity for Biodiversity Conservation, Research, and Education in Bhutan”. MacArthur Foundation. Three years.  Heaney, Bates, Hackett, Kerbis, Willard.

2003. “EPA Star Fellowship for Rebecca Rowe.”  Environmental Protection Agency.  Three years.  Heaney, Rowe.

2006. “A Field Guide to the Mammals of Luzon Island”.  Grainger Fund for Science, Field Museum. Two years.

2007. “Collaborative Proposal: Curation, Data-basing, and Integration of the Orphaned Illinois Mammal Collection”.  National Science Foundation, with Univ. New Mexico and Brigham Young Univ.  Heaney, Stanley.

2008. “Web-Based Education to Promote Philippine Conservation”.  Negaunee Foundation. One year.

2009. “Promoting Conservation in the Philippines Through Public Education: A Field Guide to the Mammals of Luzon Island”.  Negaunee Foundation.

2009. “Support for the Division of Mammals Preparator”. Negaunee Foundation.

2010.  “Promoting Conservation in the Philippines through Public Education: A Field Guide to the Mammals of Luzon Island, Year 2.”  Negaunee Foundation.

2011. “Promoting Conservation in the Philippines: The Mammals of Luzon, Year 3".  Negaunee Foundation.

2011. “Support for the Mammals Preparation Lab”. Negaunee Foundation.


A list of publications since 2000For a full list of publications, see attached Curriculum Vitae.

Work experience

EMPLOYMENT: June 1967 to June 1971: Volunteer and Museum Technician, Division of Mammals, Smithsonian Institution

June 1971 to Sept. 1971: Field Collector, Delaware Museum of Natural History

June 1972 to June 1975: Undergraduate Curatorial and Research Assistant, University of Minnesota

June 1973 to August 1975: Field and Research Assistant, Smithsonian Institution (summers)

August to May, 1975 to 1979: Curatorial, Teaching, and Research Assistant, University of Kansas

June 1978 to Sept. 1978: Smithsonian Institution Visiting Graduate Student

Sept. 1979 to Aug. 1986: Assistant Professor, Dept. of Biology and Assistant Curator, Division of Mammals, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan

Sept. 1986 to Oct. 1988: Research Fellow, Smithsonian Institution

1 Jan. - 31 Dec. 2003: Visiting Scholar, Dept. Geological Sciences, Northwestern University

Oct. 1988 to present: Assistant Curator of Mammals, 1988-June 1991; Associate Curator, June 1991-2002; Curator, 2002-present, Field Museum

Professional affiliations

Current Honorary, Adjunct, and Advisory Appointments:

Member, Committee on Evolutionary Biology, University of Chicago; Adjunct Curator/Research Associate, Department of Zoology, Philippine National Museum; Research Associate, Department of Mammalogy, American Museum of Natural History; Research Curator of Zoology, Utah Museum of Natural History; Adjunct Professor and Curator, University of the Philippines - Diliman