Dr. Daniel T. Ksepka
Museums are my home, and I am broadly interested in building natural history collections, museum-based outreach and education, and presenting compelling topics in exhibitions. My research centers on the evolution of birds, with particular interests in phylogeny, divergence dating, and the transition to wing-propelled diving in penguins.
Current Research Projects
Modeling the flight patterns of the largest flying bird ever to have lived, Pelagornis sandersi.
Reconstructing patterns of brain size expansion in dinosaurs and birds. This project was initiated during a Catalysis Meeting funded by NESCent (NSF EF 0905606) titled “A Deeper Look into the Avian Brian: Using Modern Imaging to Unlock Ancient Endocasts”, with Amy Balanoff and N. Adam Smith.
Inferring phylogeny and patterns of morphological change in the best group of birds: penguins!
This research is currently funded by NSF award DEB: 1556615 “Collaborative Research: Advancing Bayesian Phylogenetic Methods for Synthesizing Paleontological and Neontological Data” with Tracy Heath and Rob Meredith.
Assembling a full species level tree for all 10,000+ species of birds. As a paleontologist I am particularly interested in using fossil data to accurately reconstruct the timing of the modern bird radiation in order to better understand how events like extinctions, climate change, and plate tectonic events influenced avian evolution.
This research is currently funded by NSF award DEB 1655736 “All Birds: A Time-scaled Avian Tree from Integrated Phylogenomic and Fossil Data” with Brian Smith, F. Keith Barker, Edward Braun, Robb Brumfield, Terry Chesser, Brant Faircloth, Rebecca Kimball.
PhD, Columbia University (2007)
MS, Columbia University (2005)
BS, Rutgers University (2002)
Curator, Bruce Museum
Research Associate, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History
Research Associate, Field Museum of Natural History
Research Associate, American Museum of Natural History
Assistant Research Professor, University of Connecticut