Dr. John McCormack will speak on the history of Los Angeles’ Amazona parrots (Red-crowned and Lilac-crowned Parrots) and what DNA from museum specimens can tell us about their origins, adaptation to city life, hybridization, and future as distinct species. Dr. McCormack is Director and Curator of the Bird and Mammal Collection at the Moore Laboratory of Zoology and an Assistant Professor of Biology at Occidental College. The Moore Lab holds the largest collection of Mexican birds in the world and over 65,000 specimens in total, which researchers from around the world study to understand the basic units of biodiversity and how it got here. Dr. McCormack has pioneered the use of new DNA sequencing technologies to collect DNA from museum specimens. He received his undergraduate degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona and his PhD from UCLA. After postdoctoral research at the University of Michigan and Louisiana State University, he arrived at Occidental College as Moore Lab Director in 2011. He recently oversaw the completion of a major remodel to the Moore Lab’s facilities and collection space under program umbrella of the Anderson Center for Environmental Science.
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