Why did you want to become a spider biologist?
Before I even started to crawl I was interested in animals and the natural world. This led to me study biology, especially entomology (the study of insects), as an undergraduate at university. Later, as a biology graduate student, I specialized in describing, naming, and classifying spiders (classic museum curatorial work!). Spiders attracted me because they do spectacularly interesting things in their day-to-day lives and are quite stunning to look at with a microscope.
How did you become a spider biologist?
Mentors were, and remain, very important in my development as a spider biologist. Most of my mentors were established professional spider biologists but I have also found mentors among my fellow students and even among some of the students whom I have taught and to whom I have been a mentor. Knowledge and inspiration do not always come from those with more experience.
What do you do as a research associate with the Royal BC Museum?
My fellow Royal BC Museum spider aficionados and I are documenting the many different types of spiders found in the province. Throughout the year, but especially in the summer months, we travel to interesting habitats around the province to collect spiders. During the fall, winter and early spring we focus on laboratory work identifying and cataloguing the thousands of mostly very tiny spiders that we have collected. The field work is always a great deal of fun (and always over too soon), but the lab work is hugely interesting and fun, too. Almost every day we identify spiders that have never been found before in British Columbia or Canada, or are entirely new to science.Stories by or about this person
E-Fauna BC’s Spiders of British Columbia is authored by Royal BC Museum research associate Dr Robb Bennett. This Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia is an excellent resource to find out more about spider life in this province. Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2015. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [www.efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, August 18, 2015.