Tennessee Tech Mammal Research
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Southeastern myotis, Myotis austroriparius
There are over 5,400 recognized species of mammals world-wide, yet most people's awareness of mammals is limited to domestic species or those that are considered game species. Many mammals are rare or imperiled, often due to habitat destruction or modification. Research on mammals at TTU focuses on those species or systems that are imperiled. Emphasis is placed on questions that have conservation or management implications.

Many mammals are unknown to the public because of their activity patterns and life history traits. The vast majority of mammal species worldwide are nocturnal, like the porcupine shown at right, or crepuscular (most active at dawn and dusk), as in white-tailed deer
. Only a few wild mammal species are primarily diurnal (active during the day) such as tree squirrels.
Porcupine, Erethizon dorsatum
Striped skunk, Mephitis mephitis
Mammals exhibit incredible diversity. They range in size from the tiny pygmy shrews of North America and bumblebee bats of Thailand, which weigh as little as 2 grams (the same as a single M&M candy!) to as much as 200 tons (~181,000 kg, or 90,500,000 times the weight of a bumblebee bat!). Mammals are found across the globe in all continents (except there are no terrestrial mammals in Antarctica but whales frequent the coastal waters). Mammals are capable of true flight (the bats), fully aquatic lifestyles (whales and manatees), living in trees (squirrels, monkeys), living underground (mole rats and gophers), and all manner of habitats in between. Their diet may be specialized for seeds, leaves, fruit, nectar, blood, insects, fish, or terrestrial vertebrates. Many mammals are omnivorous, meaning that they will consume a wide variety of foods.

Mammals may be mostly solitary, live in colonies, social groups, or be truly eusocial (as in naked mole rats). Some mammals migrate long distances annually, while others never make any migratory trips.

All in all, mammals are a fascinating group to study. For more information on the research we do, continue on to other pages via the links above.