Jocelyn Colella

Jocelyn Colella
  • Assistant Curator, Mammals Division, Biodiversity Institute & Natural History Museum
  • Robert W. and Geraldine Wilson Assistant Professor, Dept. of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Contact Info

Dyche Hall
Lawrence, KS 66045


I am an evolutionary biologist that leverages the temporal and geographic breadth of natural history collections to understand how organisms respond to change through time. The foundation of my research is assessing the evolutionary consequences of climate cycling on the pattern and process of mammalian diversification.


Ph.D. in Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
with distinction
M.S. in Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
summa cum laude
B.S. in Biology & Psychology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
magna cum laude


Jocelyn P. Colella is an evolutionary biologist interested in genomic mechanisms of adaptation and hybridization among mammals, with an acute interest in biodiversity conservation. Dr. Colella completed her graduate education at the University of New Mexico, where she was classically trained in scientific collecting and curation at the Museum of Southwestern Biology. Her dissertation research focused on the evolutionary and conservation consequences of post-glacial secondary contact and hybridization among high-latitude mustelids. Her postdoctoral research at the University of New Hampshire aimed to identify genomic mechanisms of dehydration-tolerance in desert adapted rodents by pairing fieldwork with in-lab physiological experiments to characterize complex mammalian responses to their environment. Dr. Colella’s current research program utilizes museum collections (both old and new) to understand how organisms change through time by integrating genomics, morphometrics, physiology and ecology.

Selected Publications

Colella J.P., A. Tigano, M.D. MacManes. (2020) Higher quality de novo genome assemblies from degraded tissue samples: a linked-read approach to museomics. Molecular Ecology Resources, 20(4): 856-870.

Tigano A., J.P. Colella, M.D. MacManes. (2020) Comparative and population genomics approaches reveal the basis of adaptation to deserts in a small rodent. Molecular Ecology, 29(7), 1300-1314

Colella J.P., S.L. Talbot, C. Brochmann, EP Hoberg, EB Taylor, JA Cook. (2019) Conservation Genomics in a changing Arctic. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 35(2): 149-162.

Colella J.P., R.E. Wilson, S.L. Talbot, J.A. Cook (2018) Implications of introgression for wildlife translocations: the case of North American martens. Conservation Genetics 20(2): 153-166.

Colella J.P., E.J. Johnson, J.A. Cook. (2018) Reconciling molecules and morphology in North American MartesJournal of Mammalogy 99(6): 1323–1335.

Colella J.P., T.Y. Lan, S.C. Schuster, S.L. Talbot, J.A. Cook, C. Lindqvist. (2018) Whole-genome analysis of Mustela erminea finds that pulsed hybridization impact evolution at high-latitudes. Nature Communications Biology 1(1):51.

Burgin, C.J.*, J.P.Colella*, P.L. Kahn, N.S. Upham. (2018) How many species of mammals are there? Journal of Mammalogy 99(1):287–297. Featured article.

Dawson, N.G., J.P.Colella, M.P. Small, K.D. Stone, S.L. Talbot, J.A. Cook. (2017) Historical biogeography sets the foundation for contemporary conservation priorities for mesocarnivores (genus Martes) of Pacific Northwest. Journal of Mammalogy 98(3):715–730.

Cook, J.A., K. Galbreath, K. Bell, M. Campbell, S. Carriere, J.P.Colellaet al(2016) The Beringian Coevolution Project: Holistic collections of mammals and associated parasites reveal novel perspectives on Evolutionary and Environmental change in the North. Arctic Science (Arctic Museum Collections – Special Issue) 3:585–617.

Cook, J.A., B. McLean, D. Jackson, J.P.Colella, S. Greiman, V. Tkach, T. Jung, J. Dunnum (2016) First record of the Holarctic Least Shrew (Sorex minutissimus) and associated helminths from Canada: New light on Northern Pleistocene Refugia. Canadian Jof Zoology, 94:367–372.

McLean B., K.C. Bell, B. Abrahamson, J.P.ColellaA.K. Jones, J. Weber, J.A. Cook (2015) Natural history collections-based research: progress, promise and best practices. Journal of Mammalogy, 97:287–297.

Grants & Other Funded Activity

Early-Career Scientists Symposium Honoraria: Innovation in Museums, 2021
Joseph Gaudin Fellowship in Mammalogy, $11,750, 2014–2019
U.S. Geological Survey Carnivore Hybridization CESU, $20,000, 2017–2018
Forbes Award, $500 2019 Shadle Fellowship in Mammalogy, $4,800, 2018
American Society of Mammalogists Travel Awards, $800 2016, 2018
UNM Graduate Resource Allocation Committee, $1,118, 2013–14, 2018
Society of Systematic Biologists Travel Award, $500, 2018
Graduate and Professional Student Association Grant, $1,000, 2014, 2017
Shared Knowledge Conference, 3-minute thesis, $1,000, 2017
Caroline G Grove Summer Research Scholarship, $3,250, 2015–2016
Donald Caughran Memorial Scholarship, $250, 2016
Society of Systematic Biologists Research Award, $1,500, 2015
Center for Evolutionary and Theoretical Immunology (CETI), $10,000, 2015
American Society of Mammalogists Grant-in-Aid of Research, $1,500, 2015
The Wildlife Society (Alaska) and Northern Furbearers Alliance, $100, 2015
National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) Academy, $600, 2014
NCAA-Division I, Full-ride Women’s Swimming Scholarship, 2008–2011


American Society of Mammalogists
Society of Systematic Biologists
Society for the Study of Evolution