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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Mammalian Diversification: From Chromosomes to Phylogeography (A Celebration of the Career of James L. Patton)


James L. Patton served as Curator of Mammals in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology (MVZ) and as Professor of Integrative Biology (formerly Zoology) at the University of California, Berkeley, from January, 1969 until June, 2001. During his 32 years as a curator and a member of the Berkeley faculty, Jim made an indelible mark on vertebrate evolutionary biology through his tireless pursuit of excellence in research and teaching. In addition to significantly advancing studies of mammalian evolutionary genetics, systematics, and phylogeography, Jim was instrumental in shaping the careers of vertebrate biologists throughout the Americas. Given the magnitude of his impact on studies of mammals, it seemed only appropriate to celebrate Jim’s retirement from the Berkeley faculty by compiling a volume that reflects the breadth of his contributions to vertebrate biology. At the same time, everyone involved in the project agreed that the volume should capture something of Jim, the person. As those of us who have had the privilege of working with him know, Jim is an enthusiastic, generous, no-nonsense individual who doesn’t hesitate to support his students and colleagues in any way that he can. Thus, while Jim’s intellect and work ethic have made him a successful scientist, it is his personality that has endeared him to so many of his students and colleagues. Here, we try to capture both elements of Jim’s career. The result is a series of rigorous, original research papers combined with more informal recollections of Jim’s activities as a scholar, mentor, and museum curator. For those readers who have not had the opportunity to interact with Jim, we hope that the following pages will bring to life both the distinguished career and the distinctive personality of this highly respected evolutionary biologist.

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