Sharlene Santana

Associate Professor, Department of Biology,
Curator of Mammals, Burke Museum

I grew up in Venezuela, surrounded by biodiversity. My curiosity for nature led me to pursue a career as an evolutionary biologist, and to focus my research on understanding the mechanisms that underlie diversity in form, function, ecology, and number of species.

To understand the processes that underlie phenotypic and lineage diversification, I integrate studies of morphology, function, behavior, and ecology (=ecomorphology) within an evolutionary context. With some exceptions, my work is largely focused on bats. This group is one of the most ecologically and morphologically diverse lineages of mammals, and thus offers a natural experiment to investigate patterns and mechanisms of diversification. I apply comparative, integrative and interdisciplinary approaches, involving data collection in the field from free-ranging animals, along with modern lab techniques and quantitative tools. By doing this work in a broad evolutionary context, my lab is able to test hypotheses about adaptation and drivers of diversification.

Academic positions and education

2017-present: Associate Professor, Department of Biology, University of Washington.

2012-present: Curator of Mammals, Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, University of Washington.

2012-2017: Assistant Professor, Department of Biology,  University of Washington.

2010-2012: Postdoctoral Fellow. Institute for Society and Genetics. University of California Los Angeles.

2005-2010: Ph.D. in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. University of Massachusetts Amherst.

2004: Licenciatura en BiologĂ­a. Universidad de Los Andes, Venezuela.

Contact: ssantana”at”uw”dot”edu; Twitter: @SESantanaM