This episode is brought to you with the help of National Geographic and Bentzen Ball, featuring Dr. Danielle N. Lee, a biologist and expert on small rodents.
Dr. Lee is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, and a professor of mammalogy and ecology at Southern Illinois University. Dr. Lee focuses her research on comparing the behavior of urban and rural rodents, and is learning more about the impact of ecology on mating behavior, personality, and other aspects of rodents’ lifestyles. Within that, Danielle is prioritizing female biology, which is has often been under-researched in the animal kingdom. She is also studying African giant pouched rats to learn more about their natural history and their potential to sniff out landmines in Tanzania.
Why it matters:
According to Dr. Lee, rodents and humans have had intertwined lifestyles throughout most of human history. And for the entirety of that relationship, humans have never been able to successfully manage rodents. Understanding the relationship between humans and rodents will, according to Danielle, “give us a lot of answers to understanding ourselves, like our own habits.”
A National Geographic interview with Dr. Lee on her work as an urban scientist
Her blog, The Urban Scientist: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/urban-scientist/