Jason Munshi-South is an Associate Professor at Fordham University, and runs a lab at Fordham’s Louis Calder Center dedicated to understanding the behavioral, ecological, and evolutionary impacts of large-scale human disturbance on wild vertebrate populations. Current lab projects are primarily focused on understanding the evolutionary implications of urbanization for wildlife in the New York City metropolitan area. The lab focuses on the study of urban populations as model systems of rapid microevolution, and aim to provide data for urban conservation and restoration efforts.
The Templeton Project will devise and use novel sensor technology to travel across interspecies boundaries to tell the story of several weeks in the life of New York City from the perspective of its least-loved resident: Rattus norvegicus. The team is intrigued by the possibility of up-ending people’s perceptions of rats by getting New Yorkers to identify with the creatures in unexpected ways and to discover the stories we share. The project aspires to gather new scientific insight into rat behavior, but, in addition, the team wants to provoke people to see rats in a different way, to connect with their rhythms and experiences and, ultimately, to feel the city as a rat does.