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David J. Schmidly, PhD




Field Biologist


Naturalist Historian

Scientific Author

University President

Dr. Schmidly at Vernon Bailey's Old Farm

About Dr. Schmidly

A native of Levelland, Texas, Dr. Schmidly has spent his entire career in higher education.  He served as President of his alma mater, Texas Tech University, Oklahoma State University, and the University of New Mexico.  He is an internationally respected researcher and scientific author, having written or co-written 13 natural history and conservation books, 5 special publications and bulletins, 10 major reports, and more than 150 scientific and popular articles about mammals in Texas and Mexico. 


In 2012 Dr. Schmidly retired from administration and returned to his academic career and publishing. His book, “Texas Natural History in the 21st Century,” co-authored with Robert and Lisa Bradley and published in 2022 by the Texas Tech University Press, has been selected as one of the seven best natural history books to read in 2023 by Book Authority ( It also received a stellar review in the Journal of Mammalogy and is highly recommended for all naturalists and mammalogists (A.G. Cleveland, J. Mamm. Vol.104, Issue 4).  Dr. Schmidly's latest book, “The Mammals of Trans-Pecos Texas”, in which he is one of four authors, was published by the Texas A&M Press in 2023.  

Dr. Schmidly’s publications incorporate taxonomy, morphology, genetics, distribution, natural history, conservation, history, and nomenclature of mammals of Texas, the southwestern United States, and Mexico.  His approach is to synthesize original field work and results from the study of specimens in museum collections combined with published information, particularly the earlier literature of the late 18th,19th, and 20th centuries, along with archival records and materials. In recent years, Dr. Schmidly has written extensively about the development of North American mammalogy, including the early history, dominant personalities, and significant milestones and events in this field of natural history. His biography of Vernon Bailey, published by the Texas A&M Press in 2018, presents correspondence and field notes of this famous naturalist who worked for the U.S. Biological Survey from 1887-1993.

Dr. Schmidly is a gifted speaker and is available to give lectures and presentations on a variety of topics (see Lecture page), including Texas conservation and wildlife management, historical figures in Texas natural history, and conservation leadership. He also has authored numerous editorials (see Editorial page) and important reports (see Reports page) about natural history and conservation.


Dr. Schmidly and his wife Janet are retired and live in Placitas, New Mexico.





Placitas, NM 87043, USA

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