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Verity Mathis - University of Florida. Gainesville, FL, US

Verity Mathis

Mammals Collections Manager | University of Florida

Gainesville, FL, UNITED STATES

Verity Mathis manages the Florida Museum Mammalogy Collections, taking care of over 35,000 specimens of mammals from around the world.


Verity Mathis' is specifically interested in how genetic and ecological processes can affect the evolutionary history of mammals. Verity enjoys using a combination of field-based techniques and laboratory methods to answer questions, such as phylogenetics, population genetics and ecological niche modeling. Verity's research experiences range from behavioral observations of black-tailed prairie dogs, ecological studies of small mammals using standard live-trapping techniques, understanding the social systems of banner-tailed kangaroo rats using molecular techniques and using phylogenetic techniques to understand the diversification of pocket gophers in Mexico.

Areas of Expertise (5)


General Mammal Information

Museum Collections

Natural History Museums


Media Appearances (3)

What can you learn from studying an animal's scat?

The Conversation - Curious Kids  online


Everybody poops. There are even whole books written about it. And we can learn a lot about animals from what they leave behind.

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Boater finds jawbone of rare whale -- and uncovers a mystery

Tampa Bay Times  print


Scott Ludden was cruising along in his boat one weekend in May when he spotted something big and gray jutting out from the sands of Little Talbot Island State Park about 17 miles northeast of Jacksonville. "Look at that palm tree," he said. "That's cool." Then he blurted out, "No wait, that's a bone!"

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Bats and Beyond

Streaming Science  online


Learn from Verity Mathis, Collection Manager of the Florida Museum of Natural History, in our upcoming electronic field trip, "Bats And Beyond."

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Articles (3)

Which mammals can be identified from camera traps and crowdsourced photographs?

Journal of Mammalogy

Roland Kays, et. al


While museum voucher specimens continue to be the standard for species identifications, biodiversity data are increasingly represented by photographic records from camera traps and amateur naturalists. Some species are easily recognized in these pictures, others are impossible to distinguish. Here we quantify the extent to which 335 terrestrial nonvolant North American mammals can be identified in typical photographs, with and without considering species range maps. We evaluated all pairwise comparisons of species and judged, based on professional opinion, whether they are visually distinguishable in typical pictures from camera traps or the iNaturalist crowdsourced platform on a 4-point scale: (1) always, (2) usually, (3) rarely, or (4) never.

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Ecological Drivers of Eastern Fox Squirrel Pelage Polymorphism

Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution

Alex D. Potash, et. al


The color patterns of an animal’s pelage, feather, or skin serve a variety of adaptive functions; importantly, one function is concealment through background matching. In spatially and temporally heterogeneous environments, some species exhibit multiple distinct color patterns within a population (i.e., color polymorphism). The environmental drivers of color polymorphism are poorly understood. We used the polymorphic eastern fox squirrel (Sciurus niger ssp.; hereafter, fox squirrel) as a model species to investigate the role of environmental factors on pelage coloration.

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A comparison of animal color measurements using a commercially available digital color sensor and photograph analysis

Current Zoology

Alex D. Potash, et. al


An animal’s pelage, feather, or skin color can serve a variety of functions, so it is important to have multiple standardized methods for measuring color. One of the most common and reliable methods for measuring animal coloration is the use of standardized digital photographs of animals. New technology in the form of a commercially available handheld digital color sensor could provide an alternative to photography-based animal color measurements. To determine whether a digital color sensor could be used to measure animal coloration, we tested the ability of a digital color sensor to measure coloration of mammalian, avian and lepidopteran museums specimens.

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University of Florida Women in Stem: Verity Mathis


There’s a lot more to bats than their spooky reputation