Phred Benham

Phred Benham

Post-Doctoral Researcher
phbenham at


2018                Ph.D.   University of Montana, Organismal Biology, Ecology & Evolution

2012-2015      Ph.D. Student, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Dept. Animal Biology

2012                M.s. University of New Mexico, Biology

2006               B.s. Louisiana State University, Biological Sciences

Research Interests

My research integrates phylogeographic, biogeographic, physiological, and population genetic datasets to understand the processes contributing to animal diversification and adaptation. All aspects of my research rely heavily on both specimen collection and utilizing the existing trove of specimens in natural history collections. I am currently supported by an NSF postdoctoral fellowship. This fellowship research aims to use historical specimens of tidal marsh songbirds to understand demographic and adaptive responses to human development of tidal marshes along the California coast.


Benham, P.M. & Cheviron, Z.A. 2020. Population history and the selective landscape shape patterns of osmoregulatory trait divergence in tidal marsh Savannah sparrows (Passerculus sandwichensis). Evolution, 74: 57-72.

Sheldon, F.H., Lim, H.C., Benham, P.M., Brady, M.L., Brown, C.E., Burner, R.C., Chua, V.L., Mittermeier, J.C., Shakya, S.B., Van Els, P., Rahman, M.A., Gawin, D.F., Rahim, Z.A., Setia, L.D., & Moyle, R.G. 2019. Ornithological expeditions to Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, 2007-2017. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Natural Science, Louisiana State University, 90: 1-11.

Walsh, J., Benham, P.M., Deane-Coe, P.E., Arcese, P., Butcher, B.G., Chan, Y.L., Cheviron, Z.A., Elphick, C.S., Kovach, A.I., Olsen, B.J., Shriver, W.G., Winder, V.L., & Lovette, I.J. 2019. Genomics of rapid ecological divergence and parallel adaptation in four tidal marsh sparrows. Evolution Letters, 3: 324-338. Open access:

 Benham, P.M. & Cheviron, Z.A. 2019. Divergent mitochondrial lineages arose within a large, panmictic population of the Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis). Molecular Ecology, 28: 1765-1783.

Beckman, L., Benham, P.M., Cheviron, Z.A. & Witt, C.C. 2018. Detecting introgression despite persistent phylogenetic uncertainty: the case of the South American siskins. Molecular Ecology, 27: 4350-4367.

Stager, M., Pollock, H.S., Benham, P.M., Sly, N.D., Brawn, J.D. & Cheviron, Z.A. 2016. Disentangling environmental drivers of metabolic flexibility in birds: the importance of temperature extremes versus temperature variability. Ecography, 39: 787-795

Benham, P.M & Witt, C.C. 2016 The dual role of Andean topography in primary divergence: functional and neutral variation among populations of the hummingbird, Metallura tyrianthina. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 16:22.

 Galen, S.C., Natarajan, C., Moriyama, H., Weber, R.E., Fago, A., Benham, P.M., Chavez, A.N., Cheviron, Z.A., Storz, J.F. & Witt, C.C. 2015 Contribution of a mutational hot spot to hemoglobin adaptation in high-altitude Andean house wrens. Proceedings of the National             Academy of Sciences, 112: 13958-13963.

Benham, P.M., A.M. Cuervo, J.A. McGuire & C.C. Witt. 2015. Biogeography of the Andean metaltail hummingbirds: contrasting evolutionary histories of treeline-specialist and habitat-generalist clades. Journal of Biogeography, 42: 763-777.

Sanchez, C., J. Saucier, P.M. Benham, D.F. Lane, R.E. Gibbons, T. Valqui, S. Figueroa, C.J. Schmitt, C. Sánchez, C.M. Milenski, A.G. Bravo, D.G. Olaechaea. 2012. New and noteworthy records from northwestern Peru, Dpto. Tumbes. El boletín de la Unión de Ornitólogos del Perú, 7: 18-36.

Gibbons, R.E., P.M. Benham & J. M Maley. 2011. Notes on birds of the high Andes of Peru. Ornitología Colombiana,11: 76-86.

Benham, P.M., E.J. Beckman, S.G. DuBay, M. Flores, A.B. Johnson, M.J. Lelevier, C.J. Schmitt, N.A. Wright & C.C. Witt. 2011. Satellite imagery reveals new critical habitat for endangered bird species in the high Andes of Peru. Endangered Species Research, 13:      145-157.

Hallworth, M.T., P.M. Benham, J.D. Lambert & L.R. Reitsma. 2008. Canada Warbler (Wilsonia canadensis) breeding ecology in young forest stands compared to a Red Maple (Acer rubrum) swamp. Forest Ecology and Management, 255, 1353-1358.

Reitsma, L.R, M.T. Hallworth & P.M. Benham. 2008. Does age influence territory size, habitat selection, and reproductive success of male Canada Warblers in Central New Hampshire? Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 120, 446-454.