University of New Mexico Professor Felisa A. Smith was recognized recently for her contributions to the paleontology community with her selection as a Fellow of the Paleontological Society.

The Paleontological Society is an international nonprofit organization devoted exclusively to the advancement of the science of paleontology including invertebrate and vertebrate paleontology, micropaleontology, and paleo-botany. Fellows are nominated by their peers for their significant contributions to paleontology through research, teaching or service to the profession.

Felisa Smith
Felisa Smith, UNM Department of Biology

Smith’s nomination cited her “creative and voluminous research that is relevant to our current biodiversity crisis, including an outstanding and high-profile publication record on mammalian paleobiology and climate change; her works on the role of women in paleontology and bias; and her many leadership roles in the societies and journals, including as President-Elect of the International Biogeography Society.”

“It is an honor to be recognized by my fellow paleontologists,” said Smith. “I love studying long-dead things and it’s an honor to be recognized for my accomplishments in doing so.”

Smith has a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of California Irvine. She focuses her research interests on paleoecological and evolutionary research—specifically the effects of current global and past climatic change on mammals.

Smith attempts to bridge the gap between paleontology and modern biology by examining factors influencing body size across both ecological and evolutionary time. Her research aims to understand why organisms are the size that they are and what are the ecological and evolutionary consequences of being a certain size.

Current research projects vary from fieldwork examining life-history trade-offs in modern rodent populations experiencing extreme environments to paleo-midden work on local to computer-based studies of continental and global distributions of long-dead mammals that span the entire Cenozoic.

For more information, visit the Paleontological Society.