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Biography - Joel Cracraft, Ph.D.

Dr. Cracraft's major interests include systematic theory, speciation analysis, biological diversification, avian higher-level relationships, historical biogeography, and molecular systematics and evolution.

Using DNA sequence information, Cracraft and his students are investigating the phylogenetic relationships of a variety of different avian groups. For example, such studies are being used to reconstruct the evolutionary radiation of birds-of-paradise and related families within Australasia. Special attention is being paid to patterns of endemism in order to develop a general hypothesis about the biogeographic history of the Australiasian avifauna. Cracraft and co-workers have also undertaken studies on the conservation genetics of tigers.

Dr. Cracraft is Co-chairman of the Systematics Agenda 2000 International, a program of the International Union of Biological Sciences endeavoring to promote basic research and training in biodiversity and systematics science. He is also a participating curator for the future Hall of Life's Diversity exhibition at American Museum of Natural History. He is primarily responsible for the curation of the Central African Republic rainforest diorama which will occupy a large portion of the Hall.

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