Michigan State University

Hours: Mon: 9am - 5pm, Tue: 9am - 8pm, Wed, Thu, and Fri: 9am - 5pm, Sat: 10am - 5pm

Pamela Rasmussen

Assistant Curator, Mammalogy & Ornithology
(517) 353-5428

Assistant Curator of Mammalogy & Ornithology, MSU Museum
Assistant Professor, MSU Department of Integrative Biology
Scientific Associate, Bird Group, Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum, Tring, UK, 2002-present
Member of Editorial Board, Systematics and Biodiversity, 2003-present
Fellow, American Ornithologists’ Union, 2007 American Ornithologists Union (AOU) Committee on Classification & Nomenclature, 1999-present
Recent Aves Editor, Zootaxa, 2008-present
Scientific Affiliate, Field Museum of Natural History, 2014-present
Founder and editor, AVoCet (Avian Vocalizations Center at MSU); avocet.zoology.msu.edu

Research Interests/Experience

Dr. Rasmussen's research focuses on the diversity, vocalizations, taxonomy, and conservation of the avifauna of southern Asia. She recently (2012) co-authored the second edition of a two-volume book, Birds of South Asia: the Ripley Guide. Between 1998 and 2015, she has authored or co-authored the scientific descriptions of ten new species of Asian birds.

Media Featuring Rasmussen's Research

  • Cameron, L. 2015. New bird species makes ornithologists’ hearts flutter. MSU Alumni Winter 2015: 6.
  • Emery, M. 2012. Conservation: one bird call at a time. MSU International 13: 22–24.
  • Oehler, D. 2009. Rediscovered: Forest Owlet. Bird Watcher’s Digest. November/December ‘09.
  • Seabrook, J. 2006. The Meinertzhagen Ruse. The New Yorker.
  • Grimmett, R. 2005. Taking flight. Nature 438: 916.
  • Dalton, R. 2005. Ornithologists stunned by bird collector's deceit. Nature 437: 302-303.
  • Weidensaul, S. 2002. The ghost with trembling wings. Science, wishful thinking, and the search for lost species. North Point Press, New York.
  • Gallagher, T. 1998. Lost and found. Living Bird, Spring 1998.

Selected Publications

  • Alström, P., C. Xia, P. C. Rasmussen, U. Olsson, B. Dai, J. Zhao, P. J. Leader, G. J. Carey, L. Dong, T. Cai, P. I. Holt, H. Le Manh, G. Song, Y. Liu, Y. Zhang, & F. Lei. 2015. Integrative taxonomy of the Russet Bush Warbler Locustella mandelli complex reveals a new species from central China. Avian Research.
  • Harris, J. C. B. H., Rasmussen, P. C., Yong, D. L., Prawiradilaga, D. M., Putra, D. d., Round, P. D., & Rheindt, F. E. 2014. A new species of Muscicapa flycatcher from Sulawesi, Indonesia. PLoS ONE 9 (11): e112657. Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112657.
  • Rasmussen, P. C., D. N. S. Allen, N. J. Collar, B. Demeulemeester, R. O. Hutchinson, P. G. C. Jakosalem, R. S. Kennedy, F. R. Lambert & L. M. Paguntalan. 2012. Vocal divergence and new species in the Philippine Hawk Owl Ninox philippensis complex. Forktail 28: 1–20.
  • Alström, P., P.C. Rasmussen, U. Olsson, & P. Sundberg. 2008. Species delimitation based on multiple criteria: the Spotted Bush Warbler Bradypterus thoracicus complex (Aves: Megaluridae). Zoological Journal of the Linnaean Society 154: 291-307.
  • Grenyer, R., C.D.L. Orme, S.F. Jackson, G.H. Thomas, R.G. Davies, T.J. Davies, K.E. Jones, V.A. Olson, R.S. Ridgely, P.C. Rasmussen, T.S. Ding, P.M. Bennett, T.M. Blackburn, K.J. Gaston, J.L. Gittleman, & I.P.F. Owens. 2006. The global distribution and conservation of rare and threatened vertebrates. Nature 444: 93-96.
  • Johnson, J.A., H.R.L. Lerner, P.C. Rasmussen, & D.P. Mindell. 2006. Systematics within Gyps vultures: a clade at risk. BMC-Evolutionary Biology 6.
  • Orme, C.D.L., R.G. Davies, M. Burgess, F. Eigenbrod, N. Pickup, V. Olson, A.J. Webster, T.-S. Ding, P.C. Rasmussen, R.S. Ridgely, A.J. Stattersfield, P.M. Bennett, T.M. Blackburn, K.J. Gaston, & I.P.F. Owens. 2005. Global hotspots of species richness are not congruent with endemism or threat. Nature 436:1016-1019.
  • Rasmussen, P.C. & J.C. Anderton. 2012. Birds of South Asia: the Ripley guide. 2 vols, second edition. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

Selected Exhibitions

  • "Land of the Feathered Dragons: China and the Origin of Birds" Michigan State University Museum, 2015
  • “They Passed Like a Cloud: The Passenger Pigeon and Extinction” Michigan State University Museum, 2014
  • “Echoes of Silent Spring: 50 Years of Environmental Awareness”, Silent Spring 50th anniversary exhibit, Michigan State University Museum, 2012
  • “Avelution: Birds in the Development of Darwin’s Theories of Evolution,” Michigan State University Museum, 2010
  • "Birds of South Asia: History vs. Mystery," Michigan State University Museum, 2003-2004 and Detroit Zoo Wildlife Interpretive Gallery, 2005-2006

Degrees Ph.D., University of Kansas, 1990 M.S., Walla Walla College, 1983

As MSU continues to evaluate the safety of our campus and community in response to COVID-19, we have made the decision to close the MSU Museum. Due to the rapidly changing nature of the situation, we have not determined a reopening date. We will continue to communicate updates as they become available. During this time, we will do everything we can to stay engaged with you virtually. Access virtual learning and activity resources