Research Fellow 
Environmental Resilience Institute, Indiana University


I am an evolutionary ecologist interested in how climate and landscape history shape the diversity, biogeography, and ecological structure of mammalian faunas across spatio-temporal scales. I test hypotheses about how changes in climate, topographic complexity, and habitat heterogeneity impact communities and ecological processes at local scales and govern diversity at regional scales.


To do so, I use the fossil record to investigate diversity patterns and paleoecology, focusing on the history of small mammals in western North America during the Cenozoic. My work on the past is conducted in parallel with investigations of modern and historical small-mammal populations across climatic and environmental gradients spanning the continent today.

I am currently the Stable Isotope Ecology Fellow at the Environmental Resilience Institute and an Assistant Research Scientist in the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department at Indiana University. I recently completed an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Integrative Biology at Oregon State University, mentored by Dr. Rebecca Terry. I finished my PhD, advised by Dr. Catherine Badgley, in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Museum of Paleontology at the University of Michigan in 2016. To read more about my specific research projects, please see my Research page. 

Tara M. Smiley, PhD

Environmental Resilience Institute, Indiana University


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