card
274

Martha M. Hurley

OLogy Series
ologist
card
274

Martha M. Hurley

OLogy Series
ologist

When Martha Hurley first took science as a kid, she thought it was boring. She'd rather be outside exploring nature. Then she realized that science was all about the world around her. Today, Martha still loves to explore nature--it's all part of her job as a conservation biologist for the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation (CBC). With the CBC, Martha works to study, catalogue, and protect the amazing biodiversity in Vietnam.

Vietnam is slightly smaller than California, the most biologically diverse state in the continental U.S. Compared to California, Vietnam has:

less biodiversity

about the same biodiversity

greater biodiversity

Are you right?

Correct!

Vietnam is even more biologically diverse than California. It is home to 50 percent more plant species and over 80 percent more vertebrate species that live on land. Many of Vietnam's species are found nowhere else in the world.

Martha has studied many kinds of birds, but she especially likes pheasants and partridges. At birth, these little chicks cannot:

fly on their own

run very fast

catch insects

Are you right?

Correct!

At birth, these fluffy little chicks can already move and run very fast. They can also feed themselves right away. As for flying, they achieve that feat when they're just two weeks old!

Martha M. Hurley, conservation biologist

People have different cultural views of the natural world. By understanding how the Vietnamese approach the natural world, we can implement effective conservation in that region.

Martha M. Hurley, conservation biologist

There are species of animals in Vietnam that are not found anywhere else in the world. It is important to protect them, because if they die out in Vietnam they are lost from the entire planet, forever!

The main goal of the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation (CBC) in Vietnam is to discover new species.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

Even though CBC and Vietnamese scientists have discovered many new species, these discoveries just reinforce their main goal: to protect Vietnam's fragile biodiversity.

Western scientists like Martha have been studying Vietnam for over 100 years.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

Until the 1990s, Vietnam had been shut off to Western scientists for decades because of political conflicts.

Hometown: born in Germany, grew up in New York City
Education: PhD, Princeton in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; AB, Harvard
Job: conservation Bbiologist for the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History
Favorite subjects in school: math and biology

Image credits: courtesy of Martha M. Hurley; Martha M. Hurley: courtesy of Martha M. Hurley; Martha M. Hurley: courtesy of Martha M. Hurley.