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Rasmussen, Pamela C., Ph.D.

Assistant Curator of Mammalogy & Ornithology, MSU Museum

Assistant Professor, MSU Department of Integrative Biology

Scientific Associate, Bird Group, Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum, Tring, UK, 2002-present

Member of Editorial Board, Systematics and Biodiversity, 2003-present

Fellow, American Ornithologists’ Union, 2007

American Ornithologists Union (AOU) Committee on Classification & Nomenclature, 1999-present

Recent Aves Editor, Zootaxa, 2008-present
Scientific Affiliate, Field Museum of Natural History, 2014-present
Founder and editor, AVoCet (Avian Vocalizations Center at MSU);

Research Interests/Experience

Dr. Rasmussen's research focuses on the diversity, vocalizations, taxonomy, and conservation of the avifauna of southern Asia. She recently (2012) co-authored the second edition of a two-volume book, Birds of South Asia: the Ripley Guide. Between 1998 and 2015, she has authored or co-authored the scientific descriptions of ten new species of Asian birds.

Media Featuring Rasmussen's Research

  • Cameron, L. 2015. New bird species makes ornithologists’ hearts flutter. MSU Alumni Winter 2015: 6.
  • Emery, M. 2012.  Conservation: one bird call at a time. MSU International 13: 22–24.
  • Oehler, D. 2009. Rediscovered: Forest Owlet. Bird Watcher’s Digest. November/December ‘09.
  • Seabrook, J. 2006. The Meinertzhagen Ruse. The New Yorker.
  • Grimmett, R. 2005. Taking flight. Nature 438: 916.
  • Dalton, R. 2005. Ornithologists stunned by bird collector's deceit. Nature 437: 302-303. 
  • Weidensaul, S. 2002. The ghost with trembling wings. Science, wishful thinking, and the search for lost species. North Point Press, New York.
  • Gallagher, T. 1998. Lost and found. Living Bird, Spring 1998. 

Selected Publications

  • Alström, P., C. Xia, P. C. Rasmussen, U. Olsson, B. Dai, J. Zhao, P. J. Leader, G. J. Carey, L. Dong, T. Cai, P. I. Holt, H. Le Manh, G. Song, Y. Liu, Y. Zhang, & F. Lei. 2015. Integrative taxonomy of the Russet Bush Warbler Locustella mandelli complex reveals a new species from central China. Avian Research.
  • Harris, J. C. B. H., Rasmussen, P. C., Yong, D. L., Prawiradilaga, D. M., Putra, D. d., Round, P. D., & Rheindt, F. E. 2014. A new species of Muscicapa flycatcher from Sulawesi, Indonesia. PLoS ONE 9 (11): e112657. Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112657.
  • Rasmussen, P. C., D. N. S. Allen, N. J. Collar, B. Demeulemeester, R. O. Hutchinson, P. G. C. Jakosalem, R. S. Kennedy, F. R. Lambert & L. M. Paguntalan. 2012. Vocal divergence and new species in the Philippine Hawk Owl Ninox philippensis complex. Forktail 28: 1–20.
  • Alström, P., P.C. Rasmussen, U. Olsson, & P. Sundberg. 2008. Species delimitation based on multiple criteria: the Spotted Bush Warbler Bradypterus thoracicus complex (Aves: Megaluridae). Zoological Journal of the Linnaean Society 154: 291-307.
  • Grenyer, R., C.D.L. Orme, S.F. Jackson, G.H. Thomas, R.G. Davies, T.J. Davies, K.E. Jones, V.A. Olson, R.S. Ridgely, P.C. Rasmussen, T.S. Ding, P.M. Bennett, T.M. Blackburn, K.J. Gaston, J.L. Gittleman, & I.P.F. Owens. 2006. The global distribution and conservation of rare and threatened vertebrates. Nature 444: 93-96.
  • Johnson, J.A., H.R.L. Lerner, P.C. Rasmussen, & D.P. Mindell. 2006. Systematics within Gyps vultures: a clade at risk. BMC-Evolutionary Biology 6.
  • Orme, C.D.L., R.G. Davies, M. Burgess, F. Eigenbrod, N. Pickup, V. Olson, A.J. Webster, T.-S. Ding, P.C. Rasmussen, R.S. Ridgely, A.J. Stattersfield, P.M. Bennett, T.M. Blackburn, K.J. Gaston, & I.P.F. Owens. 2005. Global hotspots of species richness are not congruent with endemism or threat. Nature 436:1016-1019.
  • Rasmussen, P.C. & J.C. Anderton. 2012. Birds of South Asia: the Ripley guide. 2 vols, second edition. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

Selected Exhibitions

  • "Land of the Feathered Dragons: China and the Origin of Birds" Michigan State University Museum, 2015
  • “They Passed Like a Cloud: The Passenger Pigeon and Extinction” Michigan State University Museum, 2014
  • “Echoes of Silent Spring: 50 Years of Environmental Awareness”, Silent Spring 50th anniversary exhibit, Michigan State University Museum, 2012
  • “Avelution: Birds in the Development of Darwin’s Theories of Evolution,” Michigan State University Museum, 2010
  • "Birds of South Asia: History vs. Mystery," Michigan State University Museum, 2003-2004 and Detroit Zoo Wildlife Interpretive Gallery, 2005-2006


Ph.D., University of Kansas, 1990
M.S., Walla Walla College, 1983