Felisa A. Smith
Department of Biology, University of New Mexico

About The Lab

Simply put, I am interested in body size. My research aims to understand why organisms are the size they are, what the ecological and evolutionary consequences are of being a certain size, and the complex and dynamic trade-offs between physiology, life history, environment, phylogeny, and past history. All of these undisputedly interact to influence the ultimate size of an organism. I try to bridge the gap between paleontology and modern biology by examining factors influencing body size across both ecological and evolutionary time. I tend to work mostly with mammals because, frankly, I find them more interesting than other taxa. Maybe it’s the fur?

Current research projects range across a hierarchy of spatial and temporal scales: from field work examining life history trade-offs in modern rodent populations occupying extreme environments, to paleomidden work on local and regional adaptations of animals to late Quaternary climate, to museum and computer-based studies of continental and global distributions of long-dead mammals that span the entire Cenozoic.

Recent News

Welcome to the start of a new academic year in the Land of Enchantment! A special welcome to our two new packrat lab members: Catalina Tome and Marie Westover. Recall that I will be on sabbatical for the fall semester. In practice, this means I won't be in more than once a week, sometimes less. You'll have to catch me as you can.

Many congratulations to Dr. Ian Murray, who successfully defended his dissertation on Friday, April 13th!  Ian will be sorely missed around the lab and, especially, in the field.  I don't think there is a midden trip he's missed!

Wood Rat