David M. Grossnickle

Macroevolution - Paleontology - Functional morphology - Mammalogy

Research Interests

I'm an evolutionary biologist interested in how functional traits influence macroevolution. My preferred study organisms are mammals, both modern and extinct. Much of my research has focused on early mammals from the Mesozoic Era (or Age of Dinosaurs), but I've also studied modern mammals to address questions about evolutionary processes, convergence, and functional morphology.

I'm especially interested in the tempo of ecological diversification during major mammalian radiations, and I'm currently examining one such example -- the adaptive radiation of phyllostomids, an incredibly diverse group of bats. I'm performing this research as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington, working in Sharlene Santana's lab. Previously, I was an NSF postdoctoral fellow in Greg Wilson Mantilla's lab. I recently obtained my PhD (2018) through the Committee on Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago, studying in the labs of Zhe-Xi Luo and Kenneth Angielczyk. I'm a former fellow at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

Teaching & Outreach

Prior to entering graduate school, I taught biology for four years at Wawasee High School in Indiana. And recently I taught a paleontology field methods course through the University of Washington. Pedagogy remains a central focus as I pursue a career in academia.

I have been an active participant in several museum outreach programs, including Dozin' with the Dinos at the Field Museum of Natural History. This program gives children an opportunity to interact with scientists and spend the night at the museum.

During the summers, I assist scientists from the University of Washington (Wilson lab) with paleontological fieldwork in Montana. This includes helping with the DIG Field School (below), which is a professional development program for K-12 teachers.

The top banner image is from east central Montana, summer 2015. I took the photo while assisting paleontologists from the University of Washington (led by Greg Wilson). Our campsite was especially busy because 30 teachers from had joined us for the DIG Field School. The lake is the Fort Peck Reservoir.