Dr. Russell Pfau – Professor



  • MS, Midwestern State University, 1994
  • PhD, Oklahoma State University, 2000

Courses taught

  • Genetics (BIOL 3303)
  • Genetic Techniques (BIOL 3103)
  • Ecology & Evolution (BIOL 3353)
  • Biology Problems (BIOL 4086; student research)
  • Evolutionary Biology (BIOL 5361)

Research Interests

My primary focus is population genetics, specifically, I study how populations differ genetically and why. I’m especially interested in understanding how the landscape affects gene flow across a species’ geographical distribution. I’m also interested in hybridization between closely related species. My students and I collect specimens from the field and then analyze their DNA in the lab using techniques such as DNA sequencing and fragment analysis (e.g. AFLP, RADseq).


  • Population genetics of the Crawfish Frog (Lithobates areolatus). Texas Parks & Wildlife State Wildlife Grant (2019-2021). Russell Pfau and Toby Hibbitts – $100,000.
  • Assessment of Genetic Diversity of the State Threatened Texas Kangaroo Rat, Dipodomys elator, Using Museum Specimens.  Texas Parks & Wildlife Section 6 grant (2014-2016).
  • National Science Foundation (Major Research Instrumentation Grant) – 2001: Acquisition of an Automated DNA Analysis System for Biology Teaching and Research. Philip Sudman, Allan Nelson, Bert Little, Harold Rathburn, and Russell Pfau – $99,677


  • Huebner TS, Boyle TM, Pfau RS. 2021. Population genetics of estuary and reservoir populations of Harris mud crabs, Rhithropanopeus harrisii, in Texas and Oklahoma. Biological Invasions. [DOI]
  • Pfau RS, Goetze JR, Martin RE, Matocha KG, Nelson AD. 2019. Spatial and temporal genetic diversity of the Texas kangaroo rat, Dipodomys elator (Rodentia: Heteromyidae). Journal of Mammalogy. [JouDOIl]
  • Beal AP, Pfau RS. 2016. East meets west: Location of the contact zone between genetic lineages of the cotton rat, Sigmodon hispidus, in southeastern Texas. The Southwestern Naturalist, 61:256-260. [Journal]
  • Pfau RS, Figueroa AP. 2016. Distribution of short-tailed shrews (Mammalia: Soricidae: Blarina) in Missouri. The Prairie Naturalist, 48:56-58. [PDF]
  • Ammerman LK, Lee DN, Pfau RS. 2016. Patterns of genetic divergence among Myotis californicusM. ciliolabrum, and M. leibii based on amplified fragment length polymorphism. Acta Chiropterologica, 18:337-347. [Journal]
  • Higgins CL, Love-Snyder A, Wiegreffe W, Pfau RS. 2015. Lack of Hybridization between Naturally Sympatric Populations of Red and Blacktail Shiner (Cyprinella lutrensis and C. venusta) in Texas, but Evidence of Introgression among Three Lineages of the C. lutrensis Species Group. Copeia, 103:272-280. [Journal]
  • Pfau RS, Braun JK.  2013. Occurrence of the northern short-tailed shrew (Mammalia: Soricomorpha: Soricidae: Blarina brevicauda) in Oklahoma.  Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Science. [PDFResearchGate]
  • Painter M, Pfau RS, Brady JA, McFarland AMS.  2013.  Quantitative assessment of Naegleria fowleri and Escherichia coli concentrations within a Texas reservoir.  Journal of Water and Health, 346-357. [ResearchGate]
  • Bradley RD, Lack JB, Pfau RS, Peppers LL, Henson DD, Stallings AO, … & Van Den Bussche RA. 2012. Genetic and conservation status of a relictual population of the hispid cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus eremicus). The Southwestern Naturalist, 57:231-239. [Journal]
  • Pfau RS, Sasse DB, Connior MB, Guenther IF. 2011. Occurrence of Blarina brevicauda in Arkansas and notes on the distribution of Blarina carolinensis and Cryptotis parva.  Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science 65:61-66. [PDF]
  • Thompson CW, Pfau RS, Choate JR, Genoways HH, Finck EJ.  2011.  Identification and characterization of the contact zone between two species of Short-Tailed Shrew (Blarina) in Iowa and Missouri. Canadian Journal of Zoology 89:278-288. [Journal
  • Lee DE, Pfau RS, Ammerman LK.  2010.  Taxonomic status of the Davis Mountains Cottontail, Sylvilagus robustus, revealed by amplified fragment length polymorphism. Journal of Mammalogy, 91:1473-1483. [Journal]
  • Lack JB, Pfau RS, Wilson GM. 2010.  Demographic history and incomplete lineage sorting obscure population genetic structure of the Texas Mouse (Peromyscus attwateri).  Journal of Mammalogy 91:314-325. [JSTOR]
  • Boyle TJ, Pfau RS, Keith DE.  2010.  Occurrence, reproduction, and population genetics af the Estuarine Mud Crab, Rhithropanopeus harrisii (Gould) (Decapoda, Panopidae) in Texas Freshwater Reservoirs.  Crustaceana 83:493-505. [JSTOR]
  • Phillips CD, Henard CA, Pfau RS. 2007. AFLP and mtDNA analyses reveal patterns of divergence and hybridization in the cotton rat, Sigmodon hispidus. Journal of Mammalogy 88:351-359. [Journal]
  • Pfau RS, Van Den Bussche RA, McBee K. 2001. Population genetics of the cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus): patterns of genetic diversity at the major histocompatibility complex. Molecular Ecology 10:1939-1945.
  • Pfau RS, McBee K, Van Den Bussche RA. 2001. Genetic diversity of the major histocompatibility complex of cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus) inhabiting an oil refinery complex. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 20:2224-2228.
  • Pfau RS, Van Den Bussche RA, McBee K, Lochmiller RL. 1999. Allelic diversity at the Mhc-DQA locus in cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus) and a comparison of DQA sequences within the family Muridae (Mammalia: Rodentia). Immunogenetics 49:886-893.
  • Parmley D, Pfau RS. 1997. Amphibians and reptiles of the late Pleistocene Tonk Creek local fauna, Stonewall County Texas. Texas Journal of Science 49:151-158.
  • Pfau RS. 1994. A late Pleistocene mammal fauna from Stonewall County, Texas. Texas Journal of Science 46:337-343.
  • Pfau RS. 1994. First record of a native American elk from Texas. Texas Journal of Science 46:189-190.
  • Stangl Jr FB, Pfau RS. 1994. Gross morphology and distribution patterns of lingual papillae in some geomyid and heteromyid rodents. Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Science 74:25-29.