Meet the Curators
Dr. Eleanor J. Sterling is the director of the Museum's Center for Biodiversity and Conservation (CBC). Dr. Sterling's primary research is focused on behavioral ecology, particularly of endangered mammals, turtles, and tortoises, and on biogeography and its application to conservation. She also focuses on tools for elucidating spatially explicit information on species and assemblages of species.
Dr. Sterling is currently co-leading population demography, genetic, epidemiological, and behavioral ecology research on the sea turtles of Palmyra Atoll, the Solomon Islands, and the broader Pacific. She is exploring the intersection between biodiversity, languages, and culture as well as the importance of ecological and evolutionary processes to conservation planning and implementation. For the first eight years of Dr. Sterling’s work at the Museum, she coordinated multi-taxa surveys of Madagascar, Bolivia, and Vietnam. In 2000, Dr. Sterling spearheaded the establishment of the CBC's Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners, which seeks to improve biodiversity conservation practice worldwide by improving training in conservation around the world.
In addition to Our Global Kitchen, Dr. Sterling has curated numerous exhibitions at the Museum, including on societal issues, most recently Water: H2O=Life.
Dr. Mark A. Norell is the chair of the Museum's Division of Paleontology. He works in several areas of specimen-based and theoretical research. He works on the description and relationships of coelurosaurs and studies elements of the Asian Mesozoic fauna. He analyzes important new "feathered" dinosaurs from Liaoning, China, and develops theoretical methods for better understanding phylogenetic relationships and pattern in the fossil record. Under his co-direction with Michael Novacek, a team of paleontologists working in the Gobi desert since 1990 has produced a wealth of great specimens. These studies have led to the development of a new phylogenetic hypothesis for coelurosaurian theropods. Similar studies have been carried out on fossil lizards and champsosaurs from this region. Work on these animals has led Dr. Norell's team to discover some aspects of anguimorph phylogeny, to recognize new clades of lizards, to phylogenetically place problematic taxa, and to describe poorly known taxa based on new material.
Dr. Norell's theoretical work focuses on developing methodology for evaluating the effect of missing data on large data sets, sensitivity methods for character weighting, and using phylogeny to estimate patterns in the fossil record such as diversity and extinction. He also studies the relationship between stratigraphic position and phylogenetic topology.
In addition to Our Global Kitchen, Dr. Norell has curated numerous exhibitions at the Museum, including The World's Largest Dinosaurs.