Nature Research Center

Roland Kays, Ph.D.

Director, Biodiversity Lab
Roland Kays
B.S. (Biology) Cornell University, 1993
Ph.D. (Zoology) University of Tennessee, 1999

Other Appointments

Research Associate Professor, Fisheries, Wildlife & Conservation Program, NC State University
Research Associate, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Research Associate, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Research Interests

Roland Kays is a zoologist with a broad interest in ecology and conservation, especially of mammals. He seeks out questions that are scientifically interesting but also have real-world relevance through educational or conservation value. He is an expert in using new technologies to study free-ranging animals, especially to track their movement with telemetry, GPS, and remote camera traps. He combines this high-tech work with traditional methods, collecting data through new field work and studies of museum collections.

For more on Roland's research please visit

Selected Publications

Jansen, P. A., Hirsch, B. T., Emsens, W., Zamora-gutierrez, V., Wikelski, M., & Kays R. (2012). Thieving rodents as substitute dispersers of megafaunal seeds. Proceedings National Academy of Science, USA, 109, 12610–12615. doi:10.5441/001/1.9t0m888q

Kays, R., Curtis, A., & Kirchman, J. J. (2009). Rapid adaptive evolution of northeastern coyotes via hybridization with wolves. Biol Lett, 6, 89–93. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2009.0575

Kays, R., Tilak, S., Kranstauber, B., Jansen, P. A., Carbone, C., Rowcliffe, M., Fountain, T., et al. (2011). Monitoring wild animal communities with arrays of motion sensitive camera traps. International Journal of Research and Reviews in Wireless Sensor Networks, 1, 19–29.

Kays, R. W., Gittleman, J. G., & Wayne, R. K. (2000). Microsatellite analysis of kinkajou social organization. Molecular Ecology, 9, 743–751.

Kays, R. W., & Wilson, D. E. (2011). Mammals of North America — Smart Phone App. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.