Patricia (Trish) Freeman

Patricia (Trish) Freeman

  • Contact Information
  • My Story
  • Publications & Presentations
  • Background
  • Expertise & Interests
  • Advising
  • Courses Taught
  • Outreach

Title Emeritus Mammalogist/Wildlife Zoologist
Address 604 Hardin Hall
3310 Holdrege Street
Lincoln NE
Phone 402-464-7002
FAX 402-472-2946
Contact Preference

Office Hours

E-mail is best.

Hi, I'm Patricia "Trish" Freeman. I'm a professor emerita with the School of Natural Resources (SNR) associated with the fisheries and wildlife major and the wildlife ecology graduate specialization.

My research interests are in the form and function of jaws and teeth of insectivorous (insect-eating) mammals, particularly bats, shrews and moles; simulating the evolution of a large family of tropical bats that contain a diversity of skull shapes and tooth patterns and their phylogeny (the ancestor-descendant relationships) based on DNA; quantifying the toughness of insect cuticle; the biology of vertebrates, particularly mammals, and how their distributions have shifted in Nebraska and the northern Great Plains with increased human effects on the environment and environmental change.

Understanding shifts in distributions of Nebraska wildlife is important in determining how changes may be affecting the environment, and in the spread of diseases. Research on teeth that are among the most primitive in mammals - and correlated diets - not only adds to the foundation of how teeth evolved in mammals, but shows how diet can affect the shape of cusp patterns and the size of teeth in other mammals, such as carnivores and primates, including humans.

Patricia (Trish) Freeman
Trish and two teaching assistants, Chad Brock (Biological Sciences) and Zac Roehrs (MS in SNR) identify a bat that has just been taken out of a net on a bat-netting field trip.

Since coming to UNL in 1981, until summer of 2003, when I joined the SNR, I worked as curator of zoology for the University of Nebraska State Museum. I was the primary scientific expert for exhibits in the Hall of Nebraska Wildlife in Morrill Hall. I was and still am involved in building the largest and finest collections in the world of birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and fish from Nebraska and the Northern Great Plains.

I have a bachelor's from Randolph-Macon Woman's College of Lynchburg, Va., a Ph.D from the University of New Mexico.

Selected Publications

All publications go through
2011. Freeman, P. W. Book Review: MAMMALIAN TEETH: ORIGIN, EVOLUTION, AND DIVERSITY, Peter S.Ungar. 2010. The Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore. 304 pp. ISBN-13: 978-0-8018-9668-2, price $95.00. Journal of Mammalogy, 92: 1138-1140.
2011. Freeman, P.W. Book Review: MAMMALOGY, 5TH EDITION, Vaughan, T. A., J. M. Ryan, and N. J. Czaplewski. 2011. Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Sudbury, Massachusetts, 750 pp. ISBN 978-0-7637- 6299-5, price (paperback) $100.00. Journal of Mammalogy 92: 478-479.
2010. Freeman, P.W., and Cliff A. Lemen. Simple predictors of bite force in bats: the good, the better and the better still. Journal of Zoology 282: 284-290.
2009. Freeman, P.W., and Cliff A. Lemen. Puncture-resistance of leather gloves for handling bats. Journal of Wildlife Management, 73: 1251-1254.
2009. Geluso, K, M.J. Harner, C.A. Lemen, and P.W. Freeman. Survey of bats in northern Trinidad late in the rainy season. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Texas Tech University, 285: 1-13.
2008. Freeman, P.W., and Cliff A. Lemen. A simple morphological predictor of bite force in rodents. Journal of Zoology (London) 275: 418-422.
2008. Freeman, P.W., and Cliff A. Lemen. Material properties of coyote dentin under bending: gradients in flexibility and strength by position. Journal of Zoology (London) 275: 106-114.
2008. Freeman, P.W., and Cliff A. Lemen. Measuring bite force in small mammals with a piezo-resistive sensor. Journal of Mammalogy. 89: 513-517.
2008. Genoways, H. H., J. Hoffman, P. W. Freeman, K. Geluso, R. A. Benedict, and J. J. Huebschman. The Mammals of Nebraska: Checklist, Key, and Bibliography, Bulletin, University of Nebraska State Museum, 23: 1-92.
2007. Freeman, P.W., and Cliff A. Lemen. An experimental approach to quantifying strength of canine teeth. Journal of Zoology (London), 271:162-169.
2007. Freeman, P.W., and Cliff A. Lemen. The tradeoff between strength and tooth penetration: Predicting optimal shape of canine teeth. Journal of Zoology (London), 273:273-280.
2007. Freeman, P. W., and Cliff A. Lemen. Using scissors to quantify hardness of insects: Do bats select for size or hardness? Journal of Zoology (London), 271:469-476.
2006. Freeman, P.W., and Cliff A. Lemen. Puncturing ability of idealized canine teeth: edged and non-edged shanks. Journal of Zoology (London), 269: 51-56.
2005. Garland, Theodore, Jr., and P.W. Freeman. Selective breeding for high endurance running increases hind limb symmetry. Evolution, 59: 1851-1854.
2005. Freeman, P. W. Nebraska’s endangered species. Part 6: threatened and endangered mammals. Museum Notes, 120: 1-4.
2003. Swartz, S., Freeman, P.W., and E. Stockwell. Ecomorphology of Bats: Comparative and Experimental Approaches. Pp. 257-300, in Bat Ecology (T. H. Kunz and M. B. Fenton, eds.). University of Chicago Press. 779 pp.
2000. Benedict, R. A., H. H. Genoways, and P. W. Freeman. Shifting distributional patterns of mammals in Nebraska. Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences, 26: 55-84.
2000. Freeman, P.W. Macroevolution in Microchiroptera: Recoupling morphology and ecology with phylogeny. Evolutionary Ecology - Research, 2: 317-335.

Educational Background

  • BS - Randolph-Macon Woman's College of Lynchburg, VA (1969)
  • PhD - University of New Mexico (1977)


  • 2/8/13 – Senior Faculty Holling Family Award for Teaching Excellence awarded by University of Nebraska-Lincoln 
  • 2007 – Hammond Fling Faculty Research Fellowship awarded by Research Council, UNL 
  • 2005 – Certificate of Recognition for Contributions to Students awarded by UNL Parents Association. 
  • 2001 – Gerritt S. Miller Award awarded by The North American Symposium on Bat Research  
  • 1997 – Layman Award awarded by University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 
  • 1993 – Research Award awarded by Center for Materials Science Research and Analysis, UNL 
  • 1993 – Alumna member Phi Beta Kappa, Keynote Speaker awarded by Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, Lynchburg, VA. 
  • 1983 – Layman Award awarded by University of Nebraska-Lincoln 
  • 1974 – Albert M. and Alma Shadle Graduate Fellowship awarded by The American Society of Mammalogists  

SNR Mission Area(s)

  • Applied Ecology

Affiliations (index)

Notable Websites

Other Areas of Interest

Mammalian biology, Non-game Nebraska wildlife, Bats and bat acoustics, Vertebrate Zoology, Evolution and Systematics, Functional Morphology, Biodiversity, Comparative Vertebrate Biology,

SNR Areas of Expertise

Select a keyword and see other SNR faculty and staff with this interest or expertise.

Graduate Program(s)

Courses Taught
Course Number Course Title Fall Even Years Fall Odd Years Spring Even Years Spring Odd Years Summer Session Cross Listing
NRES 386 Vertebrate Zoology X X BIOS/NRES 386
NRES 476 Mammalogy X X BIOS 476/876, NRES 876
NRES 876 Mammalogy X X BIOS 476/876, NRES 476


Outreach Activities

Functional morphology in birds: wings and beaks

What is this activity about:

Powerpoint lecture and exhibits

Who sponsors this activity:

Zoo School, LPS

What target audiences is this activity most geared towards:

  • Middle/High School
  • General Public
For a bat person, you know a lot about birds.9th or 10th grader

Animals of the Niobrara

What is this activity about:

Powerpoint lecture and exhibits

Who sponsors this activity:


What target audiences is this activity most geared towards:

  • OLLI - lifelong learning for adults 50 years and older
  • General Public


Outreach Events

Animals of the Niobrara

When: Spring
Where: 901 Hardin Hall

What is this event about:

Powerpoint lecture on mammals and herps of Niobrara and exhibit of birds.

Who sponsors this event:


What target audiences is this event most geared towards:

  • OLLI - lifelong learning for adults 50 years and older