A. Townsend Peterson

University Distinguished Professor
Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Biodiversity Institute
Primary office:
Dyche Hall

Expertise and Current Research Activity

This year was dedicated in largest part to moving my Biodiversity Informatics Training Curriculum program forward—this project, with funding from the JRS Biodiversity Foundation, consists of getting experts from around the world together with trainees from across Africa together in a classroom (somewhere), and fostering a constructive learning and collaboration environment; all of the classes are captured digitally, and shared broadly for global use and learning. We carried off a first five courses (three in Nairobi, two in Cape Town), and have another three classes already programmed for 2014.

On other fronts, my book entitled Mapping Risk of Transmission of Zoonotic Diseases is now in press with Johns Hopkins University Press. Funding from the Provost’s Office’s Research Investment Council is supporting development of an online identification facility for Chagas bugs, a diverse group of disease vectors distributed throughout the Americas, which is leading to new challenges in my program.

Why Study at the University of Kansas?

The program in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) at KU is extremely attractive thanks to the strengths of its faculty, which is drawn from fields as diverse as ecology, evolutionary genetics, genomics, and geography. Of particular importance is the full participation of the faculty and staff of the Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center, which lends a strong dimension of systematics and biodiversity science, as well as biodiversity informatics, to the program. EEB undergraduate and graduate students come from across the US, and indeed from around the world; they form a fascinating 'family' of junior scientists and young colleagues who interact extensively with the faculty in the program.

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