Peurach, Suzanne C. (Active)
United States Geological Survey
Suzy was born on February 10, 1967, in Menominee Michigan. Her earliest years were spent wandering through the forests of the upper peninsula of Michigan searching for morels, wild asparagus and fiddlehead ferns. Luckily when most parents were telling kids not to play with dead animals her parents were encouraging their kids to look closely at the natural world around them (just wash your hands when you’re finished.) She was put to work at a very young age plucking duck feathers, harvesting coho salmon roe for bait, and skinning deer and other mammals with her father and siblings, so the transition into the preparation lab in the Division of Mammals at the National Museum of Natural History was an easy one. Suzy graduated from Menominee High School in 1985 and after a brief stint at Kalamazoo College, she headed to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she pursued a bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of New Mexico (UNM). During Suzy’s second semester at UNM she met two students that worked at the Museum of Southwestern Biology (MSB). She met them after class for a tour of the museum and has been working in mammal collections ever since. She worked at MSB for Terry Yates for many years. While working at the museum she assisted with many field expeditions of the southwestern United States and Mexico. She joined a collecting expedition across central and northern Argentina with Michael Mares through the University of Oklahoma in 1990 and collected and prepared mammals on an expedition to Bolivia with Terry Yates and his full suite of graduate students in 1993. Suzy graduated from UNM in 1994, cum laude, with an honors thesis entitled “The Karyotypes of a Select group of Bolivian Phyllotine Rodents” and went on to work for Mike Bogan with what was first called the National Biological Survey, became the National Biological Service, and then changed to the US Geological Survey within her short time working there. She assisted with small mammal surveys of National Parks in Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah and worked heavily in the collections when at home. Suzy’s job with the USGS ended with the federal furlough in 1995 and she headed to the Pacific Northwest with her husband while he attended vet school. Suzy volunteered preparing specimens and running the bug colony at the Connor Museum at Washington State University while working at a local pharmacy. When a job announcement was posted for a museum technician at the National Museum of Natural History she jumped for it, moving to DC within 2 weeks of the job offer and has worked there ever since in the Division of Mammals, first as a museum specialist, and now as collections manager of mammals for the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center - Biological Survey Unit. After encouragement from Carla Dove in the Smithsonian Feather Identification Lab, Suzy became interested in hair microscopy. Suzy has honed those skills and now identifies around 200 bat remains annually from aircraft strikes for the lab. This collaborative work has lead to several publications, including a 10 year summary of US Air Force bat strikes. Under the guidance of Larry Rockwood and with much input and encouragement from Al Gardner and Carla Dove, Suzy received a Master of Science Degree from George Mason University in 2005. She defended her thesis, “A Taxonomic Review of Interfamilial Relationships of Microchiropteran Bats Based on Morphological and Molecular Phylogenetics” in 2005. Collections management keeps Suzy very busy but she still loves to work on hair microscopy challenges whenever possible and strives to get into the field and/or prep lab whenever possible. While at NMNH she has assisted in the field on expeditions to Guyana, Colorado, Virginia, West Virginia, and most recently, a mammal resurvey of the Glacier Mountain region of Alaska in the fall of 2011. Suzy is a member of the American Society of Mammalogists and the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections. She is also a member of the Washington Canoe Club and enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband, Tom, and their extended family of pets. Suzy was elected to membership in the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 2012.