Troy L. Best

Professor and Curator of Mammals

                                    Vertebrate Ecology, Systematics, Mammalogy,

                                    Ornithology, Herpetology, Endangered Species

                                    OFFICE:         350 Funchess Hall

PHONE:         334/844‑9260

FAX:               334/844‑9234

















                                                                                                                            Banner-tailed kangaroo rat.




                             Lesser Prairie-chicken on a lek in New Mexico.










Bats exiting a cave in northern Alabama.




The primary focus of my research is on the ecology and systematics of vertebrates.  I have conducted extensive field work in the southwestern United States and Mexico, primarily related to ecology and systematic studies of bats, heteromyid rodents, and other desert species.  For the past 15 years, my research also has included studies of the ecology of birds and reptiles in New Mexico, and the ecology of bats in Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico.



                        Identifying a bat in Africa.


                                                                                                                         Research camp in Argentina.



                                                                        Looking for migratory bats in Mexican caves.



                        Plotting collecting localities in Alabama


                                                                                                                                                                       Thunderstorm in Big Bend National Park, Texas.



                                                                                                Grazing in Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya.



In collaboration with M. J. Harvey (Tennessee Technological University) and J. S. Altenbach (University of New Mexico), we produced three full‑color, 24 by 36‑inch posters on bats for distribution to the general public by private, state, and federal organizations throughout the United States (Bats of Alabama, Bats of the Eastern United States, and Bats of the Western United States).  These posters contain photographs of 45 species of bats that occur in the United States (photos are by J. S. Altenbach) and the back side of each poster has information including distribution, ecology, reproductive biology, and behavior of each species shown on the front.  About 200,000 copies are being distributed by sponsoring organizations.

                     Measurements of a puma (Gay and Best, 1996).



Completed Theses/Dissertations:

Since 1993, 21 students have completed graduate degrees under my direction (2 Ph.D, 13 M.S., 6 non‑thesis), and I have served as a committee member for more than 30 other graduate students.  In addition to completing the Ph.D. and M.S. degree requirements with course work and thesis, all of these students have presented results of their research at international scientific meetings and several have manuscripts derived from their thesis research that are now published or “in press.”





                                                                                                                                                  Bats in Arizona.



                                                            Reptiles in New Mexico.



                                    Birds in New Mexico.



                                                                                           Quesadillas in Mexico.







                                                                                         Sunrise at Carlsbad Cavern, New Mexico.   








Setting the harp trap in northern Alabama.





                                                                                                                                                   Adjusting the recording equipment.


                                                                                                       Capturing infrared images of bats.



                                                            Visiting research collections.



                                                                                    Asking lots of questions.






Catching fruit bats in South America.



Theses/Dissertations in Progress:








                   Listening for bats in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, Alabama.


                                                                       Checking field photos in New Mexico.


       Setting traps in southern Alabama.


                                                                                                                                                    Catching bats in Mexico.


Nope, not a bat! 



Courses Taught:




                                         Catching up on field notes, New Mexico.


                                                                                                              Taking a break from field work in Mexico.


                         Setting up the “mega-net” in southern Alabama.


                                                                 Finding a campsite in Zacatecas, Mexico. 


                                                                                                                                                                        Kangaroo rat on Padre Island, Texas.


Searching for parasites, Arizona. 


                                                 Stalking a hoary marmot in Washington.


                                                                                                         Identifying a cowbird in Argentina. 


Service to Professional Organizations:








           Capturing cotton rats in Mexico.






                                                           Index to first 36 years of The Southwestern Naturalist.



Publications (access PDF following most citations):







                                                                        Baiting camera stations in tree canopy.









                                                                                                    Volcán de Fuego, Colima, Mexico. 






                                                                                     Alabama Wildlife was published in 2004.









         Bat crew in southern Alabama.







                                                                        How to catch a mammal.








                    Supplies for class population grid.





                                                                        Bats leaving the cave.  Where do they go for dinner?






Lekking Lesser Prairie-chickens.






                                                                                    Volcán de Fuego, Jalisco, Mexico.









                                    Examining specimens of Asian mammals.






                   Bat with a radiotransmitter, northern Alabama.








                                           Checking the dermestid colony.







                                                                                                                    Black-tailed jackrabbit.











             San Joaquin Valley kangaroo rat, California. 










                                                Sign of protection for pumas in Mexico.






                                                                Arctic ground squirrel in Alaska.








                 Habitats in study area (Sullivan and Best, 1997).









                                                                                                         Catching mice on a lava field in New Mexico.









Getting ready for aerial radiotelemetry.












                     Puma skull from voyage of H.M.S. Beagle.












                                                                      Monitoring movements of bats in northern Alabama.  










                   Price of lunch in Cachi, Argentina, 2004.








                                                            Iquazú Falls in South America.









Catching endangered bats in Alabama. 












                San Quintin kangaroo rat, Baja California, Mexico.









                                                                                                                                       Recording data on vegetation transects in New Mexico.









                                                                                                                    Camp on Isla San José, Baja California Sur, Mexico. 









                                                             Preparing to mist-net bats in northern Alabama.











                     T. L. Best searching for a maned wolf in Argentina.







                                Field Biology and Ecology class trip in Baja California Sur, Mexico.







                                    Camp in Coahuila, Mexico.  










                             Collared lizard in New Mexico.







                                                                                               Filming television documentary about bats.







                                                                                                                                                         Nest of an oven bird in Argentina.








                                       Radiotracking bats in Alabama.







                                                                                       Ghost bat in Mexico.  









  Recording radiotelemetry data.











                                                                                 Burrow of banner-tailed kangaroo rat.








                                                                        Fruit bat in a Kenyan mine.









                                               Cacti and boojum trees in Baja California, Mexico.







                                                                                                                           Bacula of kangaroo rats (Best and Schnell, 1974).









                                                 Getting close to a humpback whale in Massachusetts.








                                                        Pallid bat and enthusiast. 









  Bats of the United States (Harvey et al., 1999).






                                                                                           Effects of low-level radiation (Best and Hoditschek, eds., 1981). 







                Excavated burrow of kangaroo rat in Baja California, Mexico.



Miscellaneous Contributions:






                                                                                                            Bighorn sheep once roamed this desert.







                                                                                       Sunset in Colima, Mexico.


                                                                                                                                                         Programming game cameras, Mexico.


              Sunrise in Colima, Mexico.