2015 Merriam Award - Bruce Patterson

The C. Hart Merriam Award is given to eminent scholars in recognition of outstanding research in mammalogy over a period of at least 10 years. C. Hart Merriam was the first chief of the Division of Economic Ornithology and Mammalogy of the United States Department of Agriculture (the precursor of the national Fish and Wildlife Service), and a founding member of the American Ornithologists' Union, the National Geographic Society, and the American Society of Mammalogists.  Among other contributions to mammalogy and science, he developed the concept of "life zones" to classify biomes found in North America.

Bruce D. Patterson is the MacArthur Curator of Mammals at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. He is currently appointed to the faculties of the University of Chicago and University of Illinois at Chicago, and formerly was adjunct at Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (Lima), Northern Illinois University, and Northwestern University.  He has served as president of both the Society for the Study of Mammalian Evolution (1996-1998) and the American Society of Mammalogists (2002-2004). 

Bruce’s research focuses on patterns and processes of mammalian diversification, refining taxonomy and clarifying both systematic and biogeographic relationships.  He has worked on various groups of small mammals throughout South America and East Africa, focusing especially on marsupials, rodents, and bats. Based on coordinated field programs, he has also studied host-parasite co-evolution involving bats and their ectoparasitic bat flies. For 10 years, he led a program on the genetics, morphology and ecology of maneless lions in East Africa; his “Lions of Tsavo” program with Earthwatch eventually hosted 542 volunteers from 40 countries in East African field studies.  Bruce has published more than 190 scientific articles, and is currently working on “The Bats of Kenya,” with colleagues Paul Webala and Carl Dick, and various collaborators on the systematics of Neotropical mammals.