Featured Student

Aspen Reese (Yale ’12)

A Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology major in Timothy Dwight College, Aspen Reese has been working in the mammal collection of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History for more than a year. There she has systematically identified North American rodents, rabbits, bats, and carnivorans to subspecies. She has also been preparing study skins and skeletons of lemur specimens originating from the Duke Primate Center. Most recently, she’s applied her preparation skills to Alaskan mammals collected during recent fieldwork by Yale Peabody Museum Curator of Mammalogy Eric Sargis and Division of Vertebrate Zoology Curatorial Affiliate Link Olson, Curator of Mammals, University of Alaska Museum of the North. On completion of these new specimens, Reese will return to working on the mammals collected earlier and stored in the Division of Vertebrate Zoology freezer.


Reese has also been working with Sargis on the taxonomy and ecogeography of treeshrews from Southeast Asia. A National Science Foundation grant awarded to Sargis funded her trip to Berkeley, where she was trained in georeferencing methods by the BioGeomancer Working Group at the University of California’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. This grant also funded her trip to the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution, where she was trained in X-ray measuring techniques by USGS Curator of Mammals Neal Woodman. Reese continues her work measuring the digital proportions of the hands of nearly 150 USNM treeshrew skins X-rayed by Sargis and Woodman for a future publication on the taxonomy of the Tupaia glis-belangeri species complex. She also continues to georeference collecting localities for an ecogeographic study of these taxa.


Reese plans to study the morphology and behavior of pikas for her senior thesis, which will include participating in a Yale Peabody Museum collecting trip with Sargis and Olson in Alaska.