Live Event: October 25, 2017 at 10:00am Malaysia / 1:00pm Sydney / 10:00pm (Oct 24) US Eastern
Join us for a Q&A with Penang Hill BioBlitz scientists and tree climbers live from the rainforest!
About Our Guests
Dr. Lauren Esposito
Dr. Lauren Esposito is the Assistant Curator and Schlinger Chair of Arachnology at the California Academy of Sciences. She is also the co-founder/director of a science, education, and conservation non-profit called Islands & Seas. Lauren’s current research investigates the patterns and processes of evolution in spiders, scorpions, and their venoms. Previously, as a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow through the University of California at Berkeley, Lauren travelled extensively in the Caribbean region studying the biogeography of arachnids in one of the greatest biodiversity hotspots in the world. Her got her start in the world of science research while an undergraduate at the University of Texas at El Paso. She went on to complete her MS and PhD at the American Museum of Natural History in collaboration with the City University of New York, focusing on the medically important North American scorpion genus Centruroides. A passionate educator, Lauren has organized education programs on the importance of conserving biodiversity in local communities throughout the Americas, has worked in digital science curriculum development, and has taught courses on a range of topics for elementary through graduate students. She currently leads field-based education programs for undergraduate students in Baja California, Mexico, and teaches a conservation biology summer intensive at Columbia University. When she’s not sailing around the Caribbean islands or trekking through forests of the Darien Gap, Lauren can be found basking in the San Francisco fog.
Nur—who goes by Eika—is a medical entomology postgraduate student from School of Biological Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia. Her research is about a biological control of immature stages of Aedes mosquito species: Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti. Instead of using a chemical larvicide she uses a biosurfactant called Rhamnolipid produced by bacteria from Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Rhamnolipid is interesting in that it feautres very low toxicity and is safer for the environment. For BioBlitz, she is hoping to learn more about the diversity of mosquito species at Penang Hill as they have never been documented before at this location. The mosquito survey team is also conducting ovitrap surveillance and investigating the host parasite interaction between mosquitoes and mites.
Nur Shafila Binti Yaakob
Nur—who everyone here knows as Lala— started working at The Habitat two years ago as Head Ranger and tree climber. She graduated from Northern University of Malaysia with a Bachelor of Marketing degree. Before starting at The Habitat she worked with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia’s Penang office. Lala loves climbing trees, and says that doing so reduces stress, builds self-confidence, provides exercise, helps her reconnect with nature, and promotes conservation. She’s learned a ton from the other BioBlitz climbers, observing different climbing techniques and equipment, as well as how they sample the trees for research purposes.