Small and vulnerable populations of mice and bats fascinate Jeff Gore, working from his home base in the FWC's Northwest Regional Office in Panama City.
B.A. Biology, University of Evansville
M.A. Zoology, Southern Illinois University
Ph.D. Wildlife Biology, University of Massachusetts
Twenty-five years with the FWC. In addition to working on a variety of small mammal projects, I've also spent time in past years working on seabird and shorebird conservation for the agency.
What are you working on now?
In addition to continuing our long-term monitoring program on beach mice in northwest Florida, we're determining the status of the population of Key Largo cotton mice and we're finishing up a survey of bat populations in Florida caves.
How is this information beneficial?
Cave-roosting bats in the eastern United States have been decimated recently by a fungal disease known as white nose syndrome. We're visiting caves to look for evidence of diseased bats, but also to estimate the size of the colonies and their locations so that we may be able to detect any future impacts of the disease. We're hopeful that our warm climate will keep the disease from spreading south into Florida.
What is your typical workday like?
Fortunately, I don't have a typical day. Sometimes I'm in the field all day, but more often I'm facing the computer or on the phone.
Do you have a favorite species to study?
Not really. For most animals, the more time you spend with them, the more fascinating and interesting they become. That's especially true with bats, less so with humans.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
Living 57 years.
What are some of your biggest challenges?
Setting priorities among so many conservation projects that need attention.
What do you like most about your career?
Studying the lives of animals and using that information to help conserve wildlife for future generations.
What do you like least about your career?
Bureaucratic rules and programs concocted by my well-meaning accountant and planner friends.
Did anyone inspire you to become a scientist?
When did you choose this field?
As a young boy, not long after I learned becoming an Apache warrior wasn't really a viable option.
What would you be doing if you weren't involved in science?
I can't imagine not being involved in scientific work at some level.
What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a career in your field?
Be sure you have a passion for science and conservation, don't be too concerned with salary, and be persistent and patient in your job search.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Backpacking, kayaking, traveling, playing guitar, and watching the sunset from my back yard.