Photo: Joseph Cook

Joseph Cook

  • Regents' Professor, Biology
  • Curator of Mammals; Past Director (Museum of Southwestern Biology)

Curriculum Vitae


Joe curates the second largest mammal collection worldwide, critical infrastructure for understanding wildlife conservation, zoonotic pathogens, environmental pollutants, and a host of other critical issues. Previously, he was Professor and Curator at the University of Alaska and Professor and Chair of Biology at Idaho State University. His research integrates graduate and undergraduate student training into initiatives in conservation biology, evolution, and environmental change. He has chaired a national conservation committee (American Society of Mammalogists) and multiple international consortia and communities of practice (e.g., AIM-UP! Research Coordinating Network). He is Past President of a national museum association (Natural Science Collections Alliance) and served on the National Academy of Sciences panel that reviewed biocollection infrastructure in the US. With diverse colleagues, he has explored new ways to integrate museum resources into STEAM initiatives and encouraged greater participation of underrepresented students, especially Native Americans. Over 30 years, his international field projects aimed to understand the history, diversity and conservation status of the mammals in the American Southwest, Beringian nexus (Beringian Coevolution Project in Siberia, Mongolia, Canada and Alaska), the Tongass National Forest-Alaska (ISLES), and Latin America (Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile, Ecuador, Panama). Those efforts engaged local communities, resource managers, public health agencies, scientists, artists, educators, students, and citizen scientists to build site-intensive and spatially-extensive biodiversity infrastructure to explore the relationships between environmental change, conservation, natural resource management, and human health.

Joe dropped out of high school in Silver City, then received his GED and later BS in Biology at Western New Mexico University (1980), and then MS (1982) and PhD in Biology (1990) at UNM. Pronoun preferences: He/his and the singular "they" for singular use.