Dr. Eleanor J. Sterling is the Chief Conservation Scientist at the Museum's Center for Biodiversity and Conservation. Her primary research is focused on behavioral ecology, particularly of endangered animals, 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. At AMNH she has engaged in systems-level research on endangered species and high biodiversity ecosystems, and on the intersection between biodiversity, culture, and languages and the factors influencing resilience in biocultural approaches to conservation. A scientist with interdisciplinary training in biological and social sciences, Dr. Sterling has performed field research in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and currently co-leads genetic, epidemiological, and behavioral ecology research on the seat turtles of Palmyra Atoll, the Solomon Islands, and the broader Pacific. She is also considered a world authority on the aye-aye, a nocturnal lemur found in Madagascar. She joined the Museum in 1996 and in 1998 spearheaded the establishment of the CBC's Network of Conservation Educators (NCEP), an international group that develops sound biodiversity conservation practice by improving conservation training at the undergraduate, graduate and professional level. Since 1997, she has also served as an adjunct professor at Columbia University. 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 has curated five exhibits at AMNH.
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.