Mark S. Hafner

Mark S. Hafner
Curator Emeritus

Museum of Natural Science and
Department of Biological Sciences
119 Foster Hall
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803



I was raised in the foothills of Mt. Diablo in northern California. In 1970 I received my undergraduate degree in Nautical Science from the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo. After serving 2 years in the U.S. Merchant Marine and U.S. Navy (Reserve), I enrolled at Occidental College (Los Angeles) and received my Master’s degree in Biology in 1975. From there, I enrolled in the University of California, Berkeley, were I received my Ph.D. degree in Zoology in 1979 under the guidance of Professor James L. Patton. That same year, I accepted an appointment as Assistant Professor of Zoology and Curator of Mammals at LSU, and I have been happily employed here ever since.


Research Interests

I am an evolutionary biologist with major interests in the areas of molecular systematics, host-parasite coevolution, and science education. Most of my research has focused on mammals, primarily rodents, and I rely heavily, although not exclusively, on molecular evidence to study rodent relationships. For the past 20 years, I have investigated coevolutionary relationships in a fascinating host-parasite system involving pocket gophers and their chewing lice. I am always happy to advise graduate students interested in molecular systematics or host-parasite coevolution, particularly if it involves mammals.


Selected Publications

Hafner, M. S., and D. J. Hafner. 2010. Systematics and conservation status of the pocket gophers of Mexico. Pp. 239-246 in (F. A. Cervantes, J. Vargas C., and Y. Hortelano M., eds.) Sixty years of the National Mammal Collection of the Institute of Biology, National University of Mexico (UNAM). Contributions to Knowledge and Conservation of Mexican Mammals. Institute of Biology, National University of Mexico.

Hafner, M. S., D. J. Hafner, J. W. Demastes, G. L. Hasty, J. E. Light, and T. A. Spradling. 2009. Evolutionary relationships of pocket gophers of the genus Pappogeomys (Rodentia: Geomyidae). Journal of Mammalogy, 90:47-56.

Light, J. E., and M. S. Hafner. 2008. Cospeciation in heteromyid rodents (Rodentia: Heteromyidae) and their sucking lice of the genus Fahrenholzia (Phthiraptera: Anoplura). Systematic Biology, 57:449-465.

Hafner, D. J., M. S. Hafner, G. L. Hasty, T. A. Spradling, and J. W. Demastes. 2008. Evolutionary relationships of pocket gophers (Cratogeomys castanops species group) of the Mexican altiplano. Journal of Mammalogy, 89:190-208.

Hafner, M. S. 2007. Field research in mammalogy: an enterprise in peril. Journal of Mammalogy, 88:1119-1128.

Hafner, J. C., J. E. Light, D. J. Hafner, M. S. Hafner, E. Reddington, D. S. Rogers, and B. R. Riddle. 2007. Basal clades and molecular systematics of heteromyid rodents. Journal of Mammalogy, 88:1129-1145.

Light, J. E., and M. S. Hafner. 2007. Cophylogeny and disparate rates of evolution in sympatric lineages of chewing lice on pocket gophers. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 45:997-1013.

Kelt, D. A., D. H. VanVuren, M. S. Hafner, B. J. Danielson, and M. J. Kelly. 2007. Threat of Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome to field biologists working with small mammals. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 13:1285-1287.

Light, J. E., and M. S. Hafner. 2007. Phylogenetics and host associations of Fahrenholzia sucking lice (Phthiraptera: Anoplura). Systematic Entomology, 32:359-370.

Contact Us

Museum of Natural Science
119 Foster Hall
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
Phone: 225-578-2855


Hours & Admissions

Admission: Free
: Mon - Fri, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.*
Closed: Sat; Sun; state holidays
*Closed Fri at 2 p.m. during school year.

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