East Bay Science Cafe: May 2014

Hosted monthly by the UC Berkeley Natural History Museums

East Bay Science Cafe is held the first Wednesday of every month in Cafe Valparaiso on Solano Avenue in Albany from 7 to 9pm. 1403 Solano Ave., Albany, California 94706

This cafe is an informal forum for discussing interesting and relevant scientific issues. The goal is to encourage public engagement with science by inviting members of the scientific community to present topics for a casual evening of conversation. Cafes may vary in length and format depending upon the speaker and the topic. Audience questions are encouraged both during and after!

Check out East Bay Science Cafe on our Facebook page.

This Month’s Cafe

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Dr. Dale McCullough presents “Kangaroo Quest: Juggling Study of Roos and Family Life in Outback Australia.”


Description of the talk:
What’s it like to do field work in remote corners of the world AND raise a family? Sometimes zoological research requires scientists to live under harsh conditions for months or even years – scientists who do this type of work have to choose whether to involve their families, or leave them behind. In 1985 and 1986, Dr. Dale McCullough studied kangaroos in the Australian outback and decided to be with his family rather than leave them behind. His kids were 2 and 5 years old, and his son went to school by 2-way radio! They lived in an old abandoned tin building that had been used by Australian sheep sheerers. At this special science cafe, go on an Australian adventure with Dr. McCullough as he shares his fond memories of mixing family and field research!

Dale's family
Dr. Dale McCullough’s family outside the sheep sheerer’s shack.

Dr. McCullough’s Bio:
Dr. Dale McCullough Dale McCullough was born on a farm in Salem, SD, a town of 1,200 people, where he grew up hunting and fishing with his father. After a stint in the Army he completed a BS at South Dakota State, a MS at Oregon State, and a Ph.D. at UC Berkeley in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology with Professor A. Starker Leopold. He did his dissertation on the rare tule elk, 450 at the time, and spent many years working on recovery to its current 4,000+. After obtaining his Ph.D. in 1966 he joined the faculty at the U. Michigan, Ann Arbor, and spent the next 28 years researching white-tailed deer on the E. S. George Reserve, and sponsoring many graduate students studying a wide array of species.

In 1980 McCullough returned to UC Berkeley with a joint appointment in ESPM and MVZ, where he began long-term studies of black-tailed deer and coyotes at Hopland Field Station, and began more work internationally. His first work in Asia was a 1973 survey of large mammals in Taiwan, In 1985-86 he studied kangaroos in the outback in Australia, and later on muntjacs in Taiwan, giant pandas in China, and sika deer throughout their range in Vietnam, Korea, China, Russia, Taiwan, and Japan. Although he retired in 2004 he has continued research on kangaroos and drought cycles in Australia, and Amur leopards and Siberian tigers in Far East Russia, the leopard being the most endangered large cat (about 30 left) in the world.

Tell your friends — this will be hoppin’!


Upcoming Talks:

  • September 3rd, 2014 — Dr. Rikke Reese Naesborg, Research Associate, University & Jepson Herbaria.

  • October 1st, 2014 — Dr. Peggy Hellweg, Operations Manager of the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory.

  • November 5th, 2014 — Dr. Whendee Silver, expert in ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry, Professor in Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley.

  • December 3rd, 2014 — Katherine Wilkin, graduate student in Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management. Presenting on California’s fire history and future with climate change.