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Don J. Melnick

Title Professor
Affiliation/Department Distinguished Professor of Conservation Biology, Departments of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology, Columbia University
Telephone (212)854-8186
Email djm7@columbia.edu
Professional degree Ph.D., Physical Anthropology, Yale University, 1981
Research Keywords population genetics, molecular evolution and conservation;
Research Description Don Melnick has general interests in population genetics, molecular systematics, and conservation. Primates, as long-lived, socially complex mammals, offer one of the best opportunities to assess the effects of sociality on population genetic structure. For this reason, he has sought to understand the factors underlying the genetic structures of primate populations. He uses this information to model the dynamics of genetic change, address questions concerning rates of genetic change, and examine the assumptions used to construct molecular phylogenies and date cladogenic events. Dr. Melnick's research has primarily focused on the evolutionary genetic consequences of the extreme female philopatry exhibited by members of the genus Macaca. He has also worked on numerous other Asian, African, and South American primates, and has conducted conservation genetic research on a variety of vertebrates from frogs to elephants.
Recent Publications

Vidya, T.N.C., Sukumar, R., and Melnick, D.J. 2009. Range-wide mtDNA phylogeography yields insights into the origins of Asian elephants. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 276:893-902.

Blair, M. and Melnick, D.J. 2008. The Day before Yesterday: Genetics as a Guide to Preserving Evolutionary and Population Processes. In Molecular Primatology. Di Fiore, A. (ed.) Cambridge University Press.

Perez-Sweeney, B.M., Valladares-Padua C., Martins, C.S., Morales, J.C., and Melnick D.J. 2008. Examination of the Taxonomy and Diversification of Leontopithecus using the Mitochondrial Control Region. Intl. J. Primatol., 29:245-263.

Whittaker, D.J., Morales, J.C., and Melnick, D.J. 2007. Resolution of the Hylobates phylogeny: Congruence of mitochondrial D-loop sequences with molecular, behavioral, and morphological data sets. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 45:620-628.

Satkoski, J.A., Dupain, J., Melnick, D.J., and Disotell, T. R. 2007. Genetic estimation of patterns of social organization in western gorillas (G. g. gorilla) in the northern periphery of the Dja Reserve, Cameroon. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 132(S44): 206. (Abstract)

Shekelle, M., Morales, J.C., Niemetz, C., Ichwan, L.L.S., and Melnick, D.J. 2007. Distribution of tarsier haplotypes for some parts of northern and central Sulawesi: a preliminary analysis. In Primates of the Oriental Night. Shekelle, M., Groves, C., Maryanto, I., Schulze, H., Fitch-Snyder, H. (eds). Research Center for Biology, Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Bogor, Indonesia.

Md-Zain, B.M., Jasmi, A., Nordin, M., Maklarin, L., Morales, J.C., and Melnick, D.J. 2006. What MtDNA sequences tell us about phylogenetic position of Malaysian Leaf Monkeys. In Management and status of resources in protected areas of Peninsular Malaysia. 1 st Protected area Series. Department of Wildlife and Parks, Malaysia. Pp. 215-224.

Whittaker, D.J., Ting, N., and Melnick, D.J. 2006. Molecular phylogenetic affinities of the simakobu monkey (Simias concolor). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 39(3): 887-892.

Melnick, D.J. and Pearl, M.C. 2006. Sostenibilidad medioambiental: ¿qué hay que hacer? (Environmental Sustainability: An issue for all) GLOBAL, 3(11): 22-28.

Fernando, P., Polet, G., Foead, N., Ng, L.S., Pastorini, J. and Melnick, D.J. 2006. Genetic diversity, phylogeny and conservation of the Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus). Conservation Genetics, 7:439-448.

Current Research Genetic Consequences of habitat fragmentation in vertebrates, Genetic indicators for setting conservation priorities
Current Teaching Biodiversity, Population Genetics, Frontiers of Science