Shannon Hackett

- Assoc. Curator & Head, Bird Division, Zoology Department, Field Museum of Natural History

Contact Information

Zoology Department/Bird Division
Field Museum of Natural History
1400 South Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605

Phone: 312 665 7729
Fax: 312 665 7729
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


My research program focuses on describing patterns of avian diversity from different perspectives, across multiple time frames, throughout the taxonomic hierarchy and spanning geography. Fundamental to all these research areas are rigorous phylogenetic analyses.

I am actively collaborating with a number of other researchers to determine patterns of phylogeny among major lineages of birds (under NSF’s Assembling the Tree of Life). Despite the contributions birds have made to science in general, we actually have a very poor understanding of how the major lineages of birds are related to each other. The Early Bird project will use DNA sequence data from multiple nuclear loci, in combination with fossil and morphological data to solve some of these important issues in avian biology.

I am also interesting in describing patterns of genetic diversity within and among populations of tropical birds (in the Neotropics, Africa, and Madagascar) and relating those patterns to biogeographic histories of these regions and to efforts to conserve biodiversity.

I am also interested in the information content of different kinds of data (molecular, morphological, behavioral, ecological) for phylogeny reconstruction. I believe that there has been too little emphasis placed on the design of molecular studies (choice of taxa to be analyzed) and analyses of the information content of DNA sequence data in comparison to other kinds of phylogenetic data.

I would be pleased to supervise students interested in molecular systematics of birds at all hierarchical levels, especially those interested in Neotropical biogeography. The Field Museum has an excellent collection of birds (including genetic resources), as well as modern facilities for molecular systematics (Pritzker Lab) and morphometric/image analysis.

Research Papers