Alexis M Mychajliw

Alexis M Mychajliw
Middlebury College · Departments of Biology & Environmental Studies

PhD Biology, Stanford University

About

49
Publications
16,444
Reads
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694
Citations
Citations since 2017
41 Research Items
683 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120140
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120140
Introduction
Hi! I am interested in using extinction lessons from the recent past (Pleistocene/Holocene) to inform conservation goals for the present and future. I focus on island systems and their mammalian faunas (native, invasive, and human!) as contrasts for continental systems. My field work is with extant and extinct Caribbean mammals.
Education
August 2008 - June 2012
Cornell University
Field of study
  • Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
August 2008 - June 2012
Cornell University
Field of study
  • Natural Resources
August 2008 - June 2012
Cornell University
Field of study
  • Applied Economics & Management

Publications

Publications (49)
Article
As the last habitable continent colonized by humans, the site of multiple domestication hotspots, and the location of the largest Pleistocene megafaunal extinction, South America is central to human prehistory 1–7 . Yet remarkably little is known about human population dynamics during colonization, subsequent expansions, and domestication 2–5 . Her...
Article
Full-text available
BACKGROUND: The pace and magnitude of human-caused global change has accelerated dramatically over the past 50 years, overwhelming the capacity of many ecosystems and species to maintain themselves as they have under the more stable conditions that prevailed for at least 11,000 years. The next few decades threaten even more rapid transformations be...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
There are currently two endemic primate species known from Hispaniola. A large collection of cranial and postcranial specimens of Antillothrix bernensis have been recovered from the eastern and northern Dominican Republic. The second species, Insulacebus toussaintiana, was described from craniodental remains from southwestern Haiti; the sample also...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding extinction drivers in a human-dominated world is necessary to preserve biodiversity. We provide an overview of Quaternary extinctions and compare mammalian extinction events on continents and islands after human arrival in system-specific prehistoric and historic contexts. We highlight the role of body size and life-history traits in...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental challenges of the Anthropocene are synergistic and interdisciplinary, complicating the ability of scientists to effectively communicate to the public. This complexity illuminates the limitations of traditional Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education, as students frequently have difficulty applying their coursework t...
Article
Full-text available
Conservation paleobiology has coalesced over the last two decades since its formal coining, united by the goal of applying geohistorical records to inform the conservation, management, and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Yet, the field is still attempting to form an identity distinct from its academic roots. Here, we ask a decep...
Article
Full-text available
Cities are among the most extreme forms of anthropogenic ecosystem modification, and urbanization processes exert profound effects on animal populations through multiple ecological pathways. Increased access to human-associated food items may alter species' foraging behavior and diet, in turn modifying the normal microbial community of the gastroin...
Article
Full-text available
Scientists recognize the Caribbean archipelago as a biodiversity hotspot and employ it for their research as a “natural laboratory”. Yet, they do not always appreciate that these ecosystems are in fact palimpsests shaped by multiple human cultures over millennia. Although post-European anthropogenic impacts are well documented, human influx into th...
Article
Full-text available
The places in which people live and spend time are steeped in history, memory, and meaning from the intersection of daily life, environmental interactions, cultural practices, and ritual. Geologic features, plants, animals, and ecosystems merge with these cultural histories, forming critical parts of the landscape and areas of “high cultural salien...
Article
Full-text available
While trends in tropical deforestation are alarming, conservation biologists are increasingly recognizing the potential for species survival in human-modified landscapes. Identifying the factors underlying such persistence, however, requires basic ecological knowledge of a species' resource use. Here, we generate such data to guide conservation of...
Article
Full-text available
Raptor roosts, as accumulations of expelled pellets and nest material, serve as archives of past and present small mammal communities and could therefore be used to track invasive species population dynamics over time. We tested the utility of this resource and added new information towards reconstructing the phylogeographic history of a globally i...
Preprint
Full-text available
Cities are among the most extreme forms of anthropogenic ecosystem modification and urbanization processes exert profound effects on animal populations through multiple ecological pathways. Increased access to human associated food items may alter species’ foraging behavior and diet, in turn modifying the normal microbial community of the gastroint...
Article
The Caribbean archipelago is a hotspot of biodiversity characterized by a high rate of extinction. Recent studies have examined these losses, but the causes of the Antillean Late Quaternary vertebrate extinctions , and especially the role of humans, are still unclear. Previous results provide support for climate-related and human-induced extinction...
Article
Full-text available
An accurate understanding of biodiversity of the past is critical for contextualizing biodiversity patterns and trends in the present. Emerging techniques are refining our ability to decipher otherwise cryptic human-mediated species translocations across the Quaternary, yet these techniques are often used in isolation, rather than part of an interd...
Preprint
Full-text available
Ancient biomolecule analyses are proving increasingly useful in the study of evolutionary patterns, including extinct organisms. Proteomic sequencing techniques complement genomic approaches, having the potential to examine lineages further back in time than achievable using ancient DNA, given the less stringent preservation requirements. In this s...
Article
Full-text available
Ancient biomolecule analyses are proving increasingly useful in the study of evolutionary patterns, including extinct organisms. Proteomic sequencing techniques complement genomic approaches, having the potential to examine lineages further back in time than achievable using ancient DNA, given the less stringent preservation requirements. In this s...
Article
The human-mediated movement of species across biogeographic boundaries—whether intentional or accidental—is dramatically reshaping the modern world. Yet humans have been reshaping ecosystems and translocating species for millennia, and acknowledging the deeper roots of these phenomena is important for contextualizing present-day biodiversity loss,...
Article
Species reintroductions involve considerable uncertainty, especially in highly altered landscapes. Historical, geographic, and taxonomic analogies can help reduce this uncertainty by enabling conservationists to better assess habitat suitability in proposed reintroduction sites. We illustrate this approach using the example of the California grizzl...
Article
Full-text available
As fossilized feces, coprolites represent direct evidence of animal behavior captured in the fossil record. They encapsulate past ecological interactions between a consumer and its prey and, when they contain plant material, can also guide paleoenvironmental reconstructions. Here we describe the first coprolites from the lagerstätte Rancho La Brea...
Preprint
Full-text available
The human-mediated movement of species across biogeographic boundaries--whether intentional or accidental--is dramatically reshaping the modern world. Yet, humans have been reshaping ecosystems and translocating species for millennia, and acknowledging the deeper roots of these phenomena is important for contextualizing present-day biodiversity los...
Preprint
Full-text available
The Caribbean archipelago is a hotspot of biodiversity characterized by a high rate of extinction. Recent studies have examined these losses, but the causes of the Antillean Late Quaternary vertebrate extinctions, and especially the role of humans, are still unclear. Current results provide support for climate-related and human-induced extinctions,...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The locality Rancho La Brea (the La Brea Tar Pits, Los Angeles, California) is famous for its rich Late Pleistocene fossil record. Excavations began in the early 1900s through exploration of over 100 deposits, which took the form of man-made “pits”. Though asphalt is an effective preservative agent for numerous biological tissues (bone, cellulose,...
Article
Full-text available
Venom systems are key adaptations that have evolved throughout the tree of life and typically facilitate predation or defense. Despite venoms being model systems for studying a variety of evolutionary and physiological processes, many taxonomic groups remain understudied, including venomous mammals. Within the order Eulipotyphla, multiple shrew spe...
Article
Full-text available
Drivers of Late Quaternary megafaunal extinctions are relevant to modern conservation policy in a world of growing human population density, climate change, and faunal decline. Traditional debates tend toward global solutions, blaming either dramatic climate change or dispersals of Homo sapiens to new regions. Inherent limitations to archaeological...
Article
Full-text available
en Island species are difficult to conserve because they face the synergy of climate change, invasive species, deforestation, and increasing human population densities in areas where land mass is shrinking. The Caribbean island of Hispaniola presents particular challenges because of geopolitical complexities that span 2 countries and hinder coordin...
Article
Full-text available
The extensive postglacial mammal losses in the West Indies provide an opportunity to evaluate extinction dynamics, but limited data have hindered our ability to test hypotheses. Here, we analyze the tempo and dynamics of extinction using a novel data set of faunal last-appearance dates and human first-appearance dates, demonstrating widespread over...
Article
Full-text available
The Jamaican primate, Xenothrix mcgregori, regarded variously as either a pitheciid or a stem platyrrhine, was the terminal branch of a clade that likely entered the West Indies at least as early as the Early Miocene, although its lineage is represented by fossils of Quaternary age only. We present a new direct radiocarbon-based date of 1,477 ± 34...
Article
Question: Are there general traits that will foster the persistence of terrestrial vertebrates (Superclass Tetrapoda) through the challenges of the Anthropocene? Methods: We identified five primary anthropogenic threats to terrestrial biodiversity: habitat change, direct interaction/exploitation, invasive species, climate change, and pollution. We...
Poster
Full-text available
There has been an explosion of interest in ancestral state reconstruction methods, in which the values of a given trait for an ancestral node are inferred from information present in tip taxa. The vast majority of such studies have been performed using molecular phylogenies that only include trait and genetic data from extant tip taxa. Such practic...
Article
Full-text available
The muskrat, Ondatra zibethicus, is a semiaquatic rodent native to North America that has become a highly successful invader across Europe, Asia, and South America. It can inflict ecological and economic damage on wetland systems outside of its native range. Anecdotal evidence suggests that, in the early 1900s, a population of muskrats was introduc...
Poster
Full-text available
The Hispaniolan solenodon, Solenodon paradoxus, is a venomous small mammal endemic to the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. Considered a “living fossil” due to its deep evolutionary history, it provides an exceptional opportunity to bring fossils to life in a region whose native biota has been decimated in both geologic and modern time. Once home to...

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