Mark has been a curator in the Division of Invertebrate Zoology at the Museum since the summer of 1999. His research is focused on the evolution of leeches, specifically with respect to the historical relationships of different kinds of leeches as well as the origins and evolution of bloodfeeding and parental care.
Mark's Scientific Assistant, Liz will be enrolling in a PhD program in the fall in which she will examine the historical biogeography of terrestrial leeches in a post-Gondwanan world. Liz was first in Madagascar as an undergraduate working with Dr. Pat Wright on lemur behaviour. At that time she developed a profound aversion to the terrestrial leeches that she is going to collect on this expedition and needs for her doctoral work. Follow the dispatches to the left as she sees this aversion grow into fascination for the bloodsuckers.
No stranger to Madagascar either, Evon is featured in a National Geographic episode entitled "Maneaters of Madagascar" which portrays the struggle of a small Malagasy community to coexist with local crocodiles in a changing environment. Evon is a graduate fellow at the Museum where she is assessing the genetic diversity and relationships of African and Malgasy crocodiles in order to determine the history of their movements across this large area and to better design conservation management strategies. In addition to her collecting genetic samples from crocodiles in Southeastern Madagascar (to complement those she already has from the North), Mark and Evon will try to collect leeches that parasitize these monsters... inside their mouths!