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Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Cornell University Cornell University Cornell University Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Harry Greene


Hylodes phyllodes, a stream-breeding frog from Atlantic Coastal Forest of Brazil


Biology of Fishes class collecting at Oneida Lake


An Acacia tree backlit by the African sunset


Pisaster ochraceus in the intertidal


Common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca, growing in Ithaca

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Greene, Harry

Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow
Faculty Curator of Herpetology

phone: 607-254-4265
room: E251 Corson Hall


Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates
Center for Teaching Excellence


B.S. 1968, Texas Wesleyan College

M.A. 1973, University of Texas at Arlington

Ph.D. 1977, University of Tennessee

Graduate Fields:

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Other Cornell Affiliations:

Faculty Curator of Herpetology, Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates

Faculty Fellow, Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future

Center for Teaching Excellence


Biodiversity, conservation, behavioral evolution, herpetology, predators, snakes

Research Focus

My primary conceptual interests are behavioral evolution, community ecology, and conservation biology, and I am especially interested in mammals, lizards, and snakes, particularly vipers. My main research techniques have been direct observation, facilitated by radiotelemetry, and use of museum specimens for information on distribution, diet, and reproductive biology. I work mostly in Latin America and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, addressing questions such as the origin of the rattle, factors controlling local and regional species richness, and ways that science enhances nature appreciation.

Recent Courses Taught

  • BioEE 4700 Herpetology
  • BioEE 1780 Evolutionary Biology and Diversity
  • BioEE 6602 Graduate Field Course in Ecology

Selected Publications

Greene, H. W. 2013. Tracks and shadows: Field biology as art. University of California Press, Berkeley.

Clark, R. W., W. S. Brown, R. Stechert, and H. W. Greene. 2012. Cryptic sociality in rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) detected by kinship analysis. Biology Letters 8:523-525.

Headland, T. N. and H. W. Greene. 2011. Hunter-gatherers and other primates as prey, predators, and competitors of snakes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108:20865-20866, E1470-1474.

Sigala-Rodriguez, J. J. and H. W. Greene. 2009. Landscape change and conservation priorities: Mexican herpetofaunal perspectives at local and regional scales.  Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad 80:231-240.

Gartner, G. and H. W. Greene. 2008. Adaptation in the African egg-eating snake: a comparative approach to a classic study in evolutionary functional morphology.  Journal of Zoology (London) 275:368-374.

Greene, H. W., J. J. Sigala-Rodriguez, and B. J. Powell. 2006. Parental care in anguid lizards.  South American Journal of Herpetology 1:9-19.

Donlan, C. J., H. W. Greene, et al. 2006. Pleistocene rewilding: an optimistic agenda for 21st century conservation.  American Naturalist 168:660-681.

Greene, H. W. 2005. Historical influences on community ecology.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 102:8395-8396.

Greene, H. W. and R. W. McDiarmid. 2005. Wallace and Savage: heroes, theories, and venomous snake mimicry. Pp. 190-208 in M. A. Donnelly et al., (eds.), Ecology and evolution in the tropics: a herpetological perspective.  University of Chicago Press.

Greene, H. W. 2005. Organisms in nature as a central focus for biology.  Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20:23-27.