(Residential Fellow, 2019-20)
The Unfinished Synthesis: The Rise of Phylogenetics in an Age of Climate Change, 1880-1990.
Nuala F. Caomhánach is a PhD candidate at New York University and research associate at the American Museum of Natural History in Ward Wheeler’s lab. Her dissertation, titled “The Unfinished Synthesis: The Rise of Phylogenetics in an Age of Climate Change, 1880-1990,” examines the intellectual and political conflict waged by two bodies of scientific knowledge–ecology and evolutionary phylogenetics– in Madagascar, a process that laid the foundation for today’s conservation management in the face of climate change.
During her research fellowship at the Linda Hall Library, Nuala will work with natural history treatises, especially those related to plant and fungal collections in Madagascar. Additionally, Nuala will analyze ecological and phylogenetic monographs to trace the changing definitions of time, space and speciation to investigate how the lack of synthesis between both scientific positions has come to inform conservation priorities in Madagascar. Her work has been supported by a number of organizations, including the American Museum of Natural History, the New York Botanical Garden, and the Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory.
Before entering academia, Nuala worked as an evolutionary biologist and conservation biology educator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.