Robert E. Ricklefs
Curators' Professor of Biology
Department of Biology, University of Missouri at St. Louis
8001 Natural Bridge Road, St. Louis, MO 63121-4499
Phone: (314) 516-5101
Fax: (314) 516-6233

A.B., Stanford University, Biology, 1963
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, Biology, 1967
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, 1967-68


Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, 1968-1972

Associate Professor, Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, 1972-1978

Professor, Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, 1978-1995

Curators’ Professor, Department of Biology, University of Missouri-St. Louis, 1995-

Research Keywords
Evolutionary ecology; avian life-histories; avian demography, including aging; avian malaria; host-parasite interaction; island biogeography; phylogenetics; community ecology; historical ecology.

Research Interests
My interests focus on diversity in ecological systems at several levels of organization and scales of time and space. A long-standing interest is the evolutionary diversification of avian life histories, emphasizing comparative and theoretical analyses of variation in life tables, including patterns of senescence, and physiological and experimental studies of growth, development, and parental care. On a higher level of ecological organization, I am interested in the historical development of ecological communities and regional species richness, using comparative analyses of diversity patterns and molecular analyses of genetic divergence and phylogenetic relationship. Through these studies, I would like to understand how factors that promote diversification, such as selection, speciation, and dispersal, are balanced by constraints that limit the response to selection or the coexistence of species.

Publication list
Reprints available as pdf files


Current students and lab personnel

Hu Chen (M.S. student): locomotory development in European starlings

Toshi Tsunekage (Ph.D. student): Oxidative damage to avian embryos

Matthew Madeiros (Ph.D. student): Vector relations of avian haemosporidian parasites

Maria Svensson-Coelho (Ph.D. student): community organization of haemosporidian parasites

Maria Pil (Ph.D. student): genetic structure of island bird populations

Eliot Miller (Ph.D. student): structure of Australian meliphagid bird communities

Leticia Gutierrez (Ph.D. student): vector-borne blood parasites in mammals of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

Leticia Soares (Ph.D. student): vectors and blood parasites of birds in fragmented tropical forests

Vincenzo Ellis (Ph.D. student): health and population distribution of North American birds


Former Ph.D. students