Dr. Gary McCracken
Dr. Gary F. McCracken received a bachelor’s degree in biology, with honors, from the University of Notre Dame and a doctorate degree in ecology and evolutionary biology from Cornell University. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship with the University of California and the University of Rochester, McCracken joined the UT Knoxville faculty in 1979. He attained rank of full professor in 1990 and was appointed department head in 2008.
His research concerns the distribution of organisms—particularly bats, insects, and viral pathogens—in space, their behavior and interactions, and resulting impacts on genetic population structure. His expertise in conservation biology, ecology of infectious diseases, and animal behavior has gained worldwide recognition. He co-authored the book Functional and Evolutionary Ecology of Bats in 2006, and has published more than 130 peer-reviewed research articles in journals such as Science, Animal Behavior, and Conservation Biology. His work also has appeared in many popular magazines including National Geographic and Natural History.
McCracken has given more than 200 presentations on his research at locations around the world. He has taught courses at academic institutions in Trinidad, China, Ecuador, Nepal, Malaysia, and Taiwan. He has also served on boards and directorships of 13 professional organizations during the course of his career. Currently he is on the Board of Trustees of Bat Conservation International, a member of the Assembly of Delegates for the Organization for Tropical Studies, and a member of the Scientific Advisory Boards of the Lubee Foundation and the Selah Nature Conservancy. Throughout his career, McCracken’s research has attracted more than $7 million in federal and private funding. He has received grants from the National Geographic Society, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, National Science Foundation, and different departments within the U.S. government. Grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Service are currently funding his research on the spread, behavior, and contacts of the White-Nose Syndrome in North American bats.
In 2009, McCracken was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a prestigious honor recognizing the nation’s top scientists. He has also been recipient of the Gerrit S. Miller, Jr. Award, the UT Research and Creative Achievement Award, and the College of Arts and Sciences’ Faculty Public Service Award.