‌Kevin McCracken


Office/Lab: 188 Cox Science center
1301 Memorial Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33124
E-mail: kmccrack@bio.miami.edu
Phone: (305) 284-3753

Lab website


  • 2014-present, Associate Professor and Kushlan Chair, Department of Biology & Division of Marine Biology Fisheries, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami
  • 2001-2014, Assistant & Associate Professor, Institute of Arctic Biology, Department of Biology and Wildlife, & University of Alaska Museum, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska
  • 1994-1999, Ph.D. Wildlife & Fisheries, Louisiana State University
  • 1990-1994, B.S. Biology, University of Notre Dame


  • Fellow - American Ornithologists’ Union (since 2012)
  • Elective Member - American Ornithologists’ Union (since 2003)
  • Society of Systematic Biologists, Publishers Award for Excellence in Systematic Research, in recognition for the best student paper published in Systematic Biology (1999)


  • National Science Foundation (IOS 0949439/0949931), The mechanistic basis of parallel evolution:  Functional analysis of hemoglobin polymorphism in Andean Ducks. K. G. McCracken, J. F. Storz, and H. Moriyama (2010-2014)
  • National Science Foundation (DEB 0814322), Estimating natural selection in population pairs locally adapted to contrasting environments. M. K. Kuhner, J. Felsenstein, and K. G. McCracken (2008-2013)
  • National Science Foundation (DEB 0746365), Genetic drift versus genetic draft in Holarctic ducks:  Is the assumption of selective neutrality violated by non-coding nuclear DNA? J. L. Peters, K. G. McCracken, and K. S. Winker (2008-2011)
  • National Science Foundation (DEB 0444748), Megatransect population genetic survey of the Andes and the adaptive hemoglobin respiratory proteins of South American ducks. K. G. McCracken (2005-2009)


  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Tropical Ecology


My research interests are in integrative evolutionary biology and the genetics of adaptation. Field studies and analytical methods from a variety of different disciplines including genetics, physiology, protein chemistry, and wildlife population biology are being used to address questions about the process of adaptation and natural selection, at both the molecular level and in whole organisms. Waterfowl and tropical waterbird species inhabiting high-altitude regions of the Andes are of particular interest.


  • Genetics
  • Population Genomics
  • Waterbird Biology



  • McCracken, K. G., C. P. Barger, M. Bulgarella, K. P. Johnson, S. A. Sonsthagen, J. Trucco, T. H. Valqui, R E. Wilson, K. Winker, and M. D. Sorenson (2009) Parallel evolution in the major hemoglobin genes of eight species of Andean waterfowl.  Molecular Ecology 18:3992-4005
  • McCracken, K. G., M. Bulgarella, K. P. Johnson, M. K. Kuhner, J. Trucco, T. H. Valqui, R. E. Wilson, and J. L. Peters (2009)  Gene flow in the face of countervailing selection:  Adaptation to high-altitude hypoxia in the beta-A hemoglobin subunit of Yellow-billed Pintails.  Molecular Biology and Evolution26:815-827
  • McCracken, K. G., C. P. Barger, M. Bulgarella, K. P. Johnson, M. K. Kuhner, A. V. Moore, J. L. Peters, J. Trucco, T. H. Valqui, K. Winker, and R. E. Wilson (2009)  Signatures of high-altitude adaptation in the major hemoglobin of five species of Andean dabbling ducks.  American Naturalist 174:631–650.
  • McCracken, K. G., and M. D. Sorenson (2005) Is homoplasy or lineage sorting the source of incongruent mtDNA and nuclear gene trees in the stiff-tailed ducks (Nomonyx-Oxyura)?  Systematic Biology 54:35-55
  • McCracken, K. G., J. Harshman, D. A. McClellan, and A. D. Afton (1999) Data set incongruence and correlated character evolution:  An example of functional convergence in the hind-limbs of stifftail diving ducks.  Systematic Biology 48:683–714
  • McCracken, K. G., and F. H. Sheldon (1997)  Avian vocalizations and phylogenetic signal.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA. 94:3833–3836