Cylita Guy holds a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Toronto. She’s particularly interested in wildlife in cities, and her doctorate research — which led her to adopt the moniker ‘Batgirl’ — looked at why bats are so good at carrying viruses that they sometimes share with humans, but rarely get sick from themselves.
Her passion for urban ecology has led Guy to a new and inspiring project — a highly anticipated children’s book, bringing eight scientists’ stories from the field to life.
Called “Adventures of Your Friendly Neighbourhood Urban Ecologists,” the book features stories from a rat detective, a bee-washing activist and an urban carnivore expert. It’s due to be released on Canada’s Annick Press in 2021.
“We don’t know a lot about the wildlife that we share our cities with, even though we see them on a daily basis,” Guy said in a radio interview with CBC Canada. “There’s lots of information out there about how bats behave in natural landscapes or forested areas, but we don’t know a lot about our city bats.
“That’s really important if we want to conserve these species moving forward, but can also be really useful in managing disease spillover from our urban populations.”
Guy also set up a Junior Bat Biologist Citizen Science Programme at High Park Nature Centre and is one of the lead organisers of ComSciCon Canada, the country’s first national science communication conference for graduate students.
As a science communicator, Cylita looks to help others foster their own fascination with the natural world. She spent 10 years working as a host at the Ontario Science Centre, has appeared on TVOKids Science Max and started a children’s citizen science program. Cylita is currently an Insight Data Science Fellow.Tags: animals, Canada, STEM, Urban