To me, bats are the most fascinating of all animals. They are the only mammals that can fly. Most echolocate, which is like radar or sonar, but much more sophisticated because bats can navigate through a forest in complete darkness while flying! There are also over 1,300 species of bats, the second most of any group of mammals. My main research interest is the evolution and conservation of this biodiversity.
I have been a curator of mammals at the Royal Ontario Museum for over 30 years and conducted fieldwork in 24 countries (and counting). Most of my trips are to tropical areas where species diversity is highest, in particular South America and more recently the Caribbean.
My post-secondary education began with a BSc in Zoology from the University of Toronto, followed by a MSc in Biology from York University, and PhD from the University of Toronto in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Later on, I returned for a certificate program in Global Journalism at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto.
With this academic training and experience, I am well prepared to do fieldwork on bats in Aruba and to analyze the genetic, morphological, and acoustic data that will be collected.
I have published 67 papers in scientific journals and 14 book chapters or invited articles. With my interest in popularizing science and bridging the gap with journalism, I have also written 20 magazine articles and 14 newspaper stories.
Communicating scholarly research is an important part of science so I have given 96 presentations at conferences and 38 public lectures.
Public awareness and citizen science are also integral parts of my interest with participation in local bioblitz programs and conducting bat walks.