STEM Shoutout: Dr. Felisa Smith

UNM biology professor selected as a Fellow of the Paleontological Society


Dr. Felisa Smith, professor in the department of biology at the University of New Mexico, was recently selected as a Fellow of the Paleontological Society. 


“I am both humbled and honored to have been selected a Fellow of the Paleontological Society. These are my peers, whose opinions and scientific achievements I greatly respect,” Smith said, “My election as a Fellow suggests they respect my work and that is very gratifying.”


Smith’s selection as a Fellow of the Paleontological Society highlights her work with the research of large mammals and their impact on the ecosystem. This research on the body size evolution of mammals through the examination of fossils contributed to this recognition.


“My work investigates mammals at all spatial and temporal scales — from local modern studies of animals living in extreme environments, like Death Valley, to the constraints and drivers of body size evolution over hundreds of millions of years,” Smith said.


This research contributes to the understanding of the role that large mammals have on ecosystems. It also answers the question of how their extinction would affect the functions of their surroundings. In the future, Smith hopes that her research will help guide management and conservation of the remaining wild megafauna.