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Prospective students

Interested in graduate school? I am searching for outstanding and highly motivated students to join the lab in the Fall of 2022. If you are interested in birds, island biogeography, tropical field work, natural history collections, and/or molecular systematics and phylogenomics, I encourage you to contact me


There are several labs at UNM focused on bird research, so prospective students should explore all opportunities within the department. UNM Ornithology comprises a group of faculty, staff, and students who conduct integrative studies of birds at the University of New Mexico Department of Biology. Research strengths in our group include biogeography, phylogenomics, and ecological physiology. We collaborate on the growth and curation of the Museum of Southwestern Biology Bird Collection, a global set of fully digitized specimens and tissues whose number and research value have grown exponentially over the past three decades.


Graduate students will join a highly collaborative, interactive group consisting of three primary faculty advisors: Drs. Mike Andersen, Chris Witt, and Blair Wolf. The UNM Department of Biology has a tradition of excellence in ornithology, ~32 faculty research labs, >100 graduate students, state-of-the-art facilities, and a nurturing environment for prospective ornithologists to develop research skills.

Prospective students should also consider applying for a first-year Museum Research Traineeship.


The University of New Mexico is a major research university in a state that has spectacular biotic and cultural diversity. More than 500 species of birds occur in the state and the nearby Sandia Mountains offer incredible opportunity to explore four life zones across a >4,000-foot elevational transect. UNM biologists agree that Albuquerque is a tremendous place to live with cultural and culinary diversity, and a low cost of living.


White Sands National Monument, a 3 hour drive from Albuquerque


The view of the Sandia Mountains from Albuquerque


The Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Santa Fe

*UNM Biology Application process*

For those considering a PhD, I suggest reading this classic essay by Stephen Stearns and a reply by Ray Huey. Also see this excellent perspective by David Hillis.

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