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Meet the Curator

Interview with Eleanor Sterling
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Dr. Eleanor J. Sterling Director, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation; and Curator, Water: H2O = Life

Eleanor J. Sterling directs the Center for Biodiversity Conservation (CBC) and is the curator of the exhibit Water: H2O = Life. Dr. Sterling has 25 years of field research experience in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where she has conducted behavioral, ecological, and genetic studies of both terrestrial and aquatic species. She is considered a world authority on the aye-aye, a nocturnal lemur found in Madagascar. Her recent work has focused on the biodiversity and history of land use in Vietnam, research that led to the publication of Vietnam: A Natural History in 2006. She is also the chair of the Palmyra Atoll Research Consortium and is helping document biodiversity on this remote atoll in the central Pacific Ocean 700 miles from Hawaii. In 2000, Dr. Sterling spearheaded the establishment of the CBC's Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners, which develops and implements educational resources to help teach biodiversity conservation to educators and students around the world. Since 1997, she has also served as an adjunct professor at Columbia University, where she is Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology. Dr. Sterling received her B.A. in psychobiology from Yale College in 1983 and her Ph.D. in forestry and environmental studies and anthropology from Yale University in 1993. She joined the Museum in 1996.

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