Spotlight On Women Working in Science
by AMNH on
It’s International Women’s Day, and we’re taking the opportunity to spotlight a few of the women working in science at the Museum—including two who are currently out on scientific expeditions and two who have just published exciting new research.
It’s field season in Antarctica, and several research teams from the Museum are on the ground—and in the water. Associate Curator Estefanía Rodríguez is doing fieldwork off the coast of Antarctica, studying the fascinating varieties of anemones and other sea life in the frigid seas at the bottom of the world. Her studies of sea anemones resulted in a discovery of an entirely new order of life in 2014, which she recently discussed at the January SciCafe.
Meanwhile, on the few Antarctic islands not covered by snow and ice, graduate student Abby West is looking for fossils on Antarctica’s James Cook Island group as part of an international research team for the Antarctic Peninsula Paleontology Project (AP3). West, who studies an extinct order of South American hoofed mammals in a collaborative program between Columbia University and the Museum’s Richard Gilder Graduate School, has so far found a big jaw that may have belonged to a mosasaur.
Meanwhile, working with colleagues at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Curator Susan Perkins recently discovered that a malarial parasite of white-tailed deer, once thought to be rare, is present in a significant percentage of the animal’s population on the East Coast. The research, published last month, was the first to document this parasite since in nearly 50 years. Perkins is also co-curator of the special exhibition The Secret World Inside You, which explores the cutting-edge science of the countless microorganisms that are key to human health, collectively known as the microbiome.
Also last month, Eugenia Gold, a doctoral graduate of the Museum’s Richard Gilder Graduate School, published a study that suggests that the dodo, once thought to be dim-witted, may have been relatively intelligent after all. Dodos are just one of the birds you can learn about in the upcoming exhibition Dinosaurs Among Us, which traces the evolution of ancient dinosaurs into their more familiar modern relatives: birds.
Stay tuned for profiles of women scientists from the Museum’s history as we continue to mark Women’s History Month in the coming weeks.