Eric Rickart, Ph.D.

Eric Rickart kneels on the ground while conducting field work.

Curator of Vertebrates


As the Museum's Curator of Vertebrate Zoology, Eric Rickart has devoted more than 30 years studying the origins and preservation of biological diversity, both regionally and globally. His research has involved historical biogeography, community ecology, and evolution of mammals in island systems where geographic isolation makes the patterns of diversity more apparent. In collaboration with Dr. Lawrence Heaney and Danilo Balete from the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Dr. Rickart conducts research on the remarkably diverse and highly endemic mammals of the Philippines. Their studies have involved scientific expeditions to previously unexplored regions, discovery of several species of native mammals new to science, revealed fundamental patterns of geographic distribution across islands and along elevational gradients, and shown how native and non-native species respond to both disturbance and restoration of natural habitat. Their studies have helped in efforts to establish a nationwide system of protected areas for long-term preservation of Philippine biodiversity.  

In collaboration with Museum Research Associate Dr. Rebecca Rowe, Rickart's current research on mammals of the Great Basin uses historical data from museum collections together with modern field surveys to document faunal change over the past century and to investigate the relative roles of climate change and human land use in driving observed changes. Another project, with Research Associate Dr. William Newmark, involves analysis of wildlife trail systems in the Intermountain West to determine how landscape features affect movement patterns of large mammals. All of Rickart's research has direct implications for future conservation efforts and the preservation of biodiversity. He frequently presents his research at national conferences and has published more than 60 peer-reviewed articles in a wide variety professional journals.

Dr. Rickart recently received a grant of $400,000 from the National Science Foundation to expand and re-house the Vertebrate Zoology collections of 71,000 specimens within the new Museum building, set to open in 2011. He is a member of several professional organizations, including Society for Conservation Biology, Southwestern Association of Naturalists, and the American Society of Mammalogists. He is a past editor of Journal of Mammalogy, and a current associate editor of Mammalian Species.

Eric Rickart received a PhD in Biology in 1982 from the University of Utah and a M.A. in Biology and a B.S. in Systematics and Ecology from University of Kansas. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Utah and a Research Associate in the Department of Zoology at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

Selected Publications

Rowe, R. J., R. C. Terry, and E. A. Rickart. 2011. Environmental change and declining resource availability for small mammal communities in the Great Basin. Ecology 92:1366-1375.

Heaney, L. R., D. S. Balete, E. A. Rickart, P. A. Alviola, M. R. M.  Duya, M. V. Duya, M. J. Veluz, L. VandeVrede, and S. Steppan. 2011. Seven new species and a new subgenus of forest mice (Rodentia: Muridae: Apomys) from Luzon Island. Fieldiana Life and Earth Sciences 2:1-60.

Alviola, P. A., M. R. M. Duya, M. V. Duya, L. R. Heaney, and E. A. Rickart. 2011. Mammalian diversity patterns on Mount Palali, Caraballo Mountains, Luzon. Fieldiana Life and Earth Sciences 2: 61-74.

Balete,D.S., L. R. Heaney, P. A. Alviola, M. R. M. Duya, M. V. Duya, and E. A. Rickart. 2011.  The mammals of the Mingan Mountains, Luzon: evidence for a new center of mammalian endemism. Fieldiana Life and Earth Sciences 2: 75-87. 

Rickart, E. A., D. S. Balete, R. J. Rowe, and L. R. Heaney. 2011. Mammals of the northern Philippines: tolerance for habitat disturbance and resistance to invasive species in an endemic insular fauna. Diversity and Distributions. 17:530-541.

Rickart, E. A., R. J. Rowe, S. L. Robson, L. F. Alexander, and D. S. Rogers.  2011. Shrews of the Ruby Mountains, northeastern Nevada. Southwestern Naturalist 56:95-102.

Rickart, E. A., L. R. Heaney, D. S. Balete, and B. R. Tabaranza, Jr. 2011. Small mammal diversity along an elevational gradient in northern Luzon, Philippines. Mammalian Biology 76:12-21.

Rowe, R. J., J. A. Finarelli, and E. A. Rickart. 2010. Range dynamics of small mammals along an elevational gradient over an 80-year period. Global Change Biology 16:2930-2943.

Heaney, L. R., D. S. Balete, E. A. Rickart, M. J. Veluz, and S. Jansa. 2009. Chapter 7. A new genus and species of small “tree mouse” (Rodentia, Muridae) related to the Philippine giant cloud rats.  Pages 205-229 in R. S. Voss and M. D. Carleton, editors. Systematic mammalogy : contributions in honor of Guy G. Musser. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, no. 331.

Balete, D. S., L. R. Heaney, M. J. Veluz, and E. A. Rickart. 2009. The non-volant mammals of Mount Tapulao, Zambales Province, Luzon. Mammalian Biology 74:456-466.

Balete, D. S., L. R. Heaney, R. S. Quidlat, and E. A. Rickart. 2008. A new species of Batomys Muridae:Murinae) from eastern Mindanao, Philippines. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 121:411-428.

Rickart, E. A., S. L. Robson, and L. R. Heaney. 2008. Mammals of Great Basin National Park, Nevada: comparative field surveys and patterns of faunal change.  Monographs of the Western North American Naturalist 4:77-114.

Newmark, W. D., and E. A. Rickart. 2007. Viewpoint: Are natural history museums telling the right story?  Bioscience 57:390.

Balete, D. S., E. A. Rickart, R. G. B. Rosell-Ambal, S. Jansa, and L. R. Heaney. 2007. Description of two new species of Rhynchomys (Rodentia: Muridae: Murinae) from Luzon Island, Philippines. Journal of Mammalogy 88:287-301

Heaney, L. R., B. R. Tabaranza, Jr., E. A. Rickart, D. S. Balete, and N. R. Ingle. 2006. The mammals of Mt. Kitanglad Nature Park, Mindanao, Philippines. Fieldiana Zoology, n.s. 112:1-63

Balete, D. S., E. A. Rickart, and L. R. Heaney.  2006. A new species of the shrew-mouse, Archboldomys (Rodentia: Muridae: Murinae), from the Philippines. Systematics and Biodiversity 4:489-501.

Rickart, E. A.  2006. Order Dermoptera. pp 98-99 in Atlas of Mammalian Chromosomes (S. J. O'Brien, W. G. Nash & J. C. Menninger, eds.), John Wiley and Sons, New York.

Rickart, E. A., L. R. Heaney, S. M. Goodman, and S. Jansa. 2005. Review of the Philippine genera Chrotomys and Celaenomys (Muridae) and description of a new species. Journal of Mammalogy 86:415-428.

Baugh, A. T., A. G. West, E. A. Rickart, T. E. Cerling, J. R. Ehleringer, and M. D. Dearing. 2004.  Stable isotope ratios (d15N and d13C) of syntopic shrews (genus Sorex). Southwestern Naturalist 49:493-500.

Rickart, E. A., L. R. Heaney, and R. S. Hoffmann.  2004. First record of Sorex tenellus from the central Great Basin. Southwestern Naturalist 49:132-134.

Rickart, E. A., L. R. Heaney, and B. R. Tabaranza, Jr. 2003. A new species of Limnomys (Rodentia: Muridae: Murinae) from Mindanao Island, Philippines. Journal of Mammalogy 84:1443-1455.

Rickart, E. A., and L. R. Heaney. 2002. Further studies on the chromosomes of Philippine rodents (Muridae: Murinae). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 115:473-487.

Rickart, E. A., L. R. Heaney, and B. R. Tabaranza, Jr.  2002. Review of Bullimus (Muridae: Murinae) and description of a new species from Camiguin Island, Philippines. Journal of Mammalogy 83:421-433.

Rickart, E. A. 2001. Elevational diversity gradients, biogeography, and the structure of montane mammal communities in the intermountain region of North America. Global Ecology and Biogeography 10: 77-100

Rickart, E. A., and L. R. Heaney. 2001. Shrews of the La Sal Mountains, southeastern Utah. Western North American Naturalist 61:103-108.