Mark Siddall

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Mark Siddall
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Other namesThe leech guy
Alma materUniversity of Toronto
Years active1999-present

Mark Siddall is a Canadian[1] biologist. Siddall has studied the evolution and systematics of blood parasites and leeches, and systematic theory[2]. He was formerly a curator at the American Museum of Natural History. In September 2020, Siddall was fired from the American Museum of Natural History for violating sexual harassment guidelines[3].


Siddall completed a Masters[4] and PhD[5] under the supervision of Sherwin S. Desser at the University of Toronto in 1991 and 1994, respectivel


After completing his PhD, Siddall completed a postdoc at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science[2]. Subsequently, he was a fellow in the Michigan Society of Fellows from 1996 - 1999[6]. Siddall was hired as an assistant curator at the American Museum of Natural History in 1999[1] and served there as a curator until 2020[3]. He has written a popular science book, Poison: Sinister Species with Deadly Consequences[7].


Siddall studies phylogenetics and evolution[8]. He began his career publishing on blood parasites[9]. He has published extensively on leech systematics[10][11].

Siddall has been described as "a staunch supporter of parsimony and a harsh critic of maximum likelihood approaches” to inferring phylogenies[2]; notably, Siddall was involved in the Twitter controversy #Parsimonygate in 2016[12].

Mark Siddall in the media



  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Burreson, Eugene M.; Siddall, Mark E.; Connors, Vincent A. (2002). "Society Business". The Journal of Parasitology. 88 (6): 1053–1070. doi:10.1645/0022-3395(2002)088[1053:IOMESA]2.0.CO;2. JSTOR 3285473 – via JSTOR.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Jacobs, Julia (October 2, 2020). "Museum Fires Curator Who It Says Sexually Harassed Student Researcher" – via
  4. "U of T Magazine | Winter 2014". Issuu.
  6. "All Events | U-M LSA University of Michigan Herbarium".
  8. Zimmer, Carl (February 7, 2006). "His Subject: Highly Evolved and Exquisitely Thirsty (Published 2006)" – via
  9. Siddall, Mark E.; Desser, Sherwin S. (November 3, 1990). "Gametogenesis and Sporogonic Development of Haemogregarina balli (Apicomplexa: Adeleina: Haemogregarinidae) in the Leech Placobdella ornata". The Journal of Protozoology. 37 (6): 511–520. doi:10.1111/j.1550-7408.1990.tb01257.x – via Wiley Online Library.
  10. Siddall, Mark E.; Burreson, Eugene M. (February 1, 1998). "Phylogeny of Leeches (Hirudinea) Based on Mitochondrial CytochromecOxidase Subunit I". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 9 (1): 156–162. doi:10.1006/mpev.1997.0455. PMID 9479704 – via ScienceDirect.
  11. "Download Limit Exceeded".
  12. "Twitter Nerd-Fight Reveals a Long, Bizarre Scientific Feud" – via

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