Dr. Ryan W. Norris

norrisheadshotContact Information

Office: Science Building 334
Phone: 419-995-8360
Email: norris.667@osu.edu
Mailing address:
4240 Campus Dr.
Lima, OH 45804



Ph. D., Biology – 2009. University of Vermont, Burlington, VT.

Dissertation: “Phylogenetic relationships and divergence times in rodents based on both genes and fossils.”

M.S., Biology – 2001. University of Vermont, Burlington, VT

Thesis: “The systematics and biogeography of the mouse-like hamsters, Calomyscus spp.”

B.S., Biology, B. S., Zoology – 1998. University of Idaho, Moscow, ID


Academic Positions

Assistant Professor, The Ohio State University, Lima, OH (2014–present)

Assistant Professor (fixed term), Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, Lock Haven, PA (2013–2014)

Adjunct Instructor, Pennsylvania State University, York, PA.(2012–2013)

National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research, Rockville, MD. (2010–2012)

Postdoctoral Researcher, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA. (2008–2009)


Courses Taught at Ohio State

Biology 1101 (Lab) – Intro Biology

Biology 1114 – Form, Function, Diversity, and Ecology

EEOB 3320 – Organismal Diversity

EEOB 4210 – Ecology and Evolution of Vertebrates

EEOB 4220 – Ecology and Evolution of Mammals

EEOB 4520 – Comparative Physiology

EEOB 4998 & 4999 – Undergraduate Thesis Research


Research Interests

I am a mammalogist and a systematist. My research focuses on determining the evolutionary relationships of rodents and other small mammals and involves questions ranging from deep history to recent patterns in populations. I’ve worked on projects involving integrating genetic data with fossil information, using genetics to uncover how past climate influenced evolution, and developing and applying molecular evolution techniques. In addition to work in North America, my fieldwork with small mammals has taken me to West Africa (Guinea and Sierra Leone) and I’ve worked on species from Central Asia.


Current Undergraduate Research Projects

Bhatt, Shivani. 2019-present. “Reassessment of the Alticola roylei species group in Northern Pakistan through morphology, molecular systematics, and biogeography.” (presented at the Lima Undergraduate Research Forum and the OSU Spring Undergraduate Research Festival)

Roderick, Kedar. 2019-present. “Determining the status of obscure Microtus and Ellobius voles in Pakistan.”

Alvarado, Kylie. 2019-present. “The evolutionary history of Hyperacrius.”

Walker, Anna. 2019-present. “The evolutionary history of Hyperacrius.”


Past Undergraduate Research Projects

Bauer, George. 2018-2019. “Investigating intraspecific relationships among members of the Hybomys Division” (graduated with research distinction; presented at the Denman Research Forum and the Lima Undergraduate Research Forum).

Crites, Rachel. 2017-2019. “Are Praomys rostratus from Guinea and Sierra Leone different species?” (graduated with research distinction; presented at the American Society of Mammalogists meeting in Washington DC and the Lima Undergraduate Research Forum).

Weller, Amanda. 2017-present. “Systematics and ecology of the brush-tailed mice, Calomyscus, based on Cytb and Rbp3” (graduated with research distinction; presented at the American Society of Mammalogists meetings in Manhattan, Kansas and Washington DC, the Denman Research Forum, and the Lima Undergraduate Research Forum).

Bishop, Jacqi. 2018. “Filling in gaps in the Myodini evolutionary tree”.

Jurich, Adriana. 2016–2018. “Recovering the Evolutionary History of the Hybomys Division using the IRBP gene” (presented at the Denman Research Forum and the Lima Undergraduate Research Forum).

Balkowiec, Ola. 2017. “Phylogeography of southern brush-tailed mice, the Calomyscus bailwardi species group” (NSF REU program).

Downer, Hannah. 2015–2017. “Determining the evolutionary divergence date for MusRattus” (presented at the Denman Research Forum and the Lima Undergraduate Research Forum).

Army, Bethany. 2015. “Molecular Evolution of the Interphotoreceptor Retinoid Binding Protein (IRBP) in Ground Squirrels and Blind Mole Rats” (graduated with research distinction; presented at the Lima Undergraduate Research Forum).

Schramm, Jorgi. 2015. “Molecular Evolution of the BRCA1 gene in the Muridae”.




Patterson B.D. and R.W. Norris. 2016. Towards a uniform nomenclature for ground squirrels: the status of the Holarctic chipmunks. Mammalia, 80:241–251. DOI: 10.1515/mammalia-2015-0004

Stoltzfus, A. and R. W. Norris. 2016. On the causes of evolutionary transition:transversion bias. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 33:595–602. DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msv274.

Decher, J., A. Hoffmann, J. Schaer, R. W. Norris, B. Kadjo, J. Astrin, A. Monadjem, and R. Hutterer. 2015. Bat diversity in the Simandou Mountain Range of Guinea, with the description of a new white-winged vespertilionid. Acta Chiropterologica, 17:255–282.

Fulton, T. L., R. W. Norris, R. W. Graham, H. A. Semken Jr., and B. Shapiro. 2013. Ancient DNA supports southern survival of Richardson’s collared lemming (Dicrostonyx richardsoni) during the Last Glacial Maximum. Molecular Ecology, 22:2540–2548. DOI: 10.1111/mec.12267

Decher, J., R. W. Norris, and J. Fahr. 2010. Small mammal survey in the upper Seli River valley, Sierra Leone. Mammalia, 74:163–176. DOI: 10.1515/MAMM.2010.026

Norris, R. W., C. A. Woods, and C. W. Kilpatrick. 2008. Morphological and molecular definition of Calomyscus hotsoni (Rodentia: Muroidea: Calomyscidae). Journal of Mammalogy, 89:306–315. DOI: 10.1644/06-MAMM-A-071R1.1

McPartland, J. M., M. Glass, I. Matias, R. W. Norris, and C. W. Kilpatrick. 2007. A shifted repertoire of endocannabinoid genes in the zebrafish (Danio rerio). Molecular Genetics and Genomics, 277:555–570. DOI: 10.1007/s00438-007-0207-3

McPartland, J. M., R. W. Norris, and C. W. Kilpatrick. 2007. Detecting coevolution in the endocannabinoid system using gene trees in species trees. Gene, 397:126–135. DOI: 10.1016/j.gene.2007.04.017

McPartland, J. M., R. W. Norris, and C. W. Kilpatrick. 2007. Tempo and mode in the endocannabinoid system. Journal of Molecular Evolution, 65:267–276. DOI: 10.1007/s00239-007-9004-1

Norris, R. W. and C. W. Kilpatrick. 2007. A high elevation record of the Star-nosed Mole (Condylura cristata) in northeastern Vermont. Canadian Field-Naturalist, 121:206–207.

Norris, R. W., K. Zhou, C. Zhou, G. Yang, C. W. Kilpatrick, and R. L. Honeycutt. 2004. The phylogenetic position of the zokors (Myospalacinae) and comments on the families of muroids (Rodentia). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 31:972–978. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2003.10.020


Selected Other Publications

Norris, R. W., 2017. Family Spalacidae (Muroid mole-rats). Pp. 108-142 in Handbook of the Mammals of the World. Vol. 7, Rodents II (D.E. Wilson, T.E. Lacher, Jr., and R.A. Mittermeier RA eds.). Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

Decher, J. and R.W. Norris. 2013. Book Review — Mammals of Africa, 6 vols. Bloomsbury Publishing, London (2013). Mammalian Biology, 78: 393–395. DOI: 10.1016/j.mambio.2013.05.001

Norris, R. W. 2006. Chapter 7: A rapid biological assessment of the Déré, Diécké, and Mt. Béro classified forests, Southeastern Guinea. Pp. 82–90 and 181–188 in Wright H., J. McCullough, L. E. Alonso, and M. S. Diallo eds. A Rapid Biological Assessment of Three Classified Forests in Southeastern Guinea. RAP Bulletin of Biological Assessment, vol. 40.

Norris, R. W., S. Morshed, C. W. Kilpatrick, C. A. Woods, P. L. Perelman, S. A. Romanenko, and V. G. Malikov. 2003. The new data on diversity of Calomyscus Thomas, 1905 (Rodentia, Calomyscinae). Pp 166-169 in Proceedings of International Conference devoted to the 90th anniversary of Prof. I. M. Gromov. Saint Petersburg.