I enjoy the integration of the classroom and the natural world that makes the learning community of Northland College so unique. Small classes give me an opportunity to get to know each of my students and link my research interests with our course material. It's easy to share my passion for mammals with my students through field trips right in Northland's backyard. Even in my free time, I'm drawn to the outdoors. I enjoy hiking with my dog, running, canoeing, and exploring Lake Superior.
I study small mammals, mostly rodents, living in North America. Small mammals are an important, though often overlooked, component of our ecosystems. They influence plant diversity and provide food for carnivores and raptors. Unlike the larger, more charismatic species, their small size makes them perfect for replicated, field ecology studies spanning several generations. Another advantage to studying rodents is that there is an exceptionally good fossil record for North American rodent species. I combined Holocene and modern vole population dynamics in my dissertation and I am working on a project investigating competition between Miocene Heteromyid rodents in the western United States. I am also currently studying populations of Woodland Jumping Mice that inhabit northern Wisconsin's boreal forests.
Spaeth, P. A. 2009. Morphological convergence and coexistence in three sympatric North American Microtus (Rodentia: Arvicolinae). Journal of Biogeogaphy 36: 350-361.
Spaeth, P. A., M. van Tuinen, Y. L. Chan, D. Terca, and E. A. Hadly. 2009. The phylogeography of the long-tailed vole, Microtus longicaudus, in the tectonically and glacially dynamic landscape of the Central Rocky Mountains. Journal of Mammalogy 90: 571-584.
Hadly, E. A., P. A. Spaeth, and C. Li. 2009. Niche conservatism above the species level. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106: 19707-19714.
P. A. Spaeth. 2009. Not “just a theory” [Book review of "Why Evolution Is True" by Jerry A. Coyne] Evolution: Education & Outreach 2:738-739.