J. V. Remsen

J. V. Remsen
Curator Emeritus
Museum of Natural Science
119 Foster Hall
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
Email: najames@lsu.edu
Telephone: 225-578-2855
Fax: 225-578-3075


Ph.D.: Zoology, U.C. Berkeley, 1978
(Dissertation: “Geographical ecology of Neotropical Kingfishers,” Dr. Frank A. Pitelka, advisor).

M.A. & B.A.: Biological Science, Stanford Univ., 1971.

A fanatical naturalist starting at age 5 and a rabid birder at age 11, I credit undergraduate mentors Harold Mooney, Dave DeSante, and Paul Ehrlich for inspiring me to be a scientist, and graduate mentors Frank Pitelka and Ned Johnson for their patience and guidance in my development. To have landed and held a job for 27 years at one of the world’s centers for tropical bird research, with great colleagues and students, is a dream fulfilled.

Research Interests

I study the ecology, evolution, and biogeography of Neotropical birds, particularly those of the Andes and the Amazon basin. I concentrate on investigating how and why tropical birds differ from their temperate-latitude counterparts, especially with respect to foraging behavior, habitat selection, and patterns of geographic variation. My current major project, with Robb Brumfield and Santiago Claramunt, examines patterns of evolution in a phylogenetic framework within a family of tropical birds, the Furnariidae, which shows unparalleled diversity in these variables. I also work on what might best be called “applied phylogenetics,” namely using phylogenetic data to change traditional bird classifications. I have a secondary interest in the biogeography and timing of migration in both tropical and Louisiana birds.


Ornithology (BIOL 4142); taught annually in Spring
Global Avian Diversity (BIOL 7800); taught on demand, not annually
Vertebrate Curatorial Methods (BIOL 7800); taught on demand, not annually


Selected Publications

Foraging behavior and habitat selection of tropical birds:

Marra, P. P. & J. V. Remsen, JR. 1997. Insights into the maintenance of high species diversity in the Neotropics: habitat selection and foraging behavior in understory birds of tropical and temperate forests. Pp. 445-483 in Studies in Neotropical ornithology honoring Ted Parker. Ornithol. Monogr. 48.

REMSEN, J. V. JR., M. A. Hyde, & A. Chapman. 1993. The diets of Neotropical trogons, motmots, toucans, and barbets. Condor 95:178-192.

REMSEN, J. V., JR. & S. K. Robinson. 1990. A classification scheme for foraging behavior of birds in terrestrial habitats. Pp. 144-160 in “Avian foraging theory, methodology, and applications” (Morrison, M. L. et al., eds.). Studies in Avian Biol. No. 13.

REMSEN, J. V., JR. 1985. Community organization and ecology of birds of high elevation humid forest of the Bolivian Andes. Pp. 733-756 in “Neotropical Ornithology” (P. A. Buckley at al., ed.). Ornith. Monogr. No. 36.

REMSEN, J. V., JR. & T. A. Parker, III. 1984. Arboreal dead-leaf-searching birds of the Neotropics. Condor 86: 36-41.

REMSEN, J. V., JR. & T. A. Parker, III. 1983. Contribution of river-created habitats to Amazonian bird species richness. Biotropica 15: 223-231.

Geographic variation and biogeography of tropical birds:

Brumfield, R. T. & J. V. REMSEN, JR. 1996. Geographic variation and species limits in Cinnycerthia wrens of the Andes. Wilson Bull 108: 205-227.

REMSEN, J. V., JR. & W. S. Graves IV. 1995. Distribution patterns and zoogeography of Atlapetes brush-finches (Emberizinae) of the Andes. Auk 112: 210-224.

REMSEN, J. V., JR. & W. S. Graves IV. 1995. Distribution patterns of Buarremon brush-finches (Emberizinae) and interspecific competition in Andean birds. Auk 112: 225-236.

REMSEN, J. V., JR., O. Rocha O., C. G. Schmitt, & D. C. Schmitt. 1991. Zoogeography and geographic variation of Platyrinchus mystaceus in Bolivia and Peru, and the Circum-Amazonian distribution pattern. Ornitologia Neotropical 2: 77-83.

REMSEN, J. V., JR. & S. W. Cardiff. 1990. Patterns of elevational and latitudinal distribution, including a “niche switch,” in some guans (Cracidae) of the Andes. Condor 92: 970-981.

REMSEN, J. V., JR. 1984. High incidence of “leap-frog” pattern of geographic variation in Andean birds: implications for the speciation process. Science 224: 171-173.

Applied phylogenetics:

Banks, R. C., B. L. Monroe, Jr., J. W. Fitzpatrick, T. R. Howell, N. K. Johnson, H. Ouellet, J. V. REMSEN, JR., & R. W. Storer. 1998. Check-list of North American Birds. 7th Edition. American Ornithologists’ Union, Washington, D.C., 829 pp.

Johnson, N. K., REMSEN, J. V., Jr., & C. Cicero. 1999. Resolution of the debate over species concepts in ornithology: a new comprehensive biologic species concept. Pp. 1470-1482 in Proceedings 22nd International Ornithological Congress, Durban. BirdLife South Africa, Johannesburg.

REMSEN, J. V., Jr., A. Jaramillo, M. Nores, M. B. Robbins, T. S. Schulenberg, F. G. Stiles, J. M. C. da Silva, D. F. Stotz, and K. J. Zimmer. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. American Ornithologists’ Union. http://www.museum.lsu.edu/~Remsen/SACCBaseline.html

REMSEN, J. V., JR. 2003. Family Furnariidae (ovenbirds). Pp. 162-357 in “Handbook of the Birds of the World,” Vol. 8. Broadbills to Tapaculos (del Hoyo, J. et al., eds.). Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

REMSEN, J. V., JR. 2003. [Species accounts for 4000 New World bird species]. In “The Howard and Moore complete checklist of the birds of the World, Revised and enlarged 3rd Edition” (Dickinson, E. C. ed.). Christopher Helm, London, 1040 pp.

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


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