Boness, Daryl (Non-resident)
Daryl was born on March 22, 1950, in Neenah, Wisconsin. He left high school for college thinking he wanted to be a high school biology teacher. However, after receiving a BA degree in psychology and biology at Cornell College in Iowa, he changed his focus and thought he might want to become a clinical psychologist. Still uncertain, he decided to do an MA degree in human psychophysiology at Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia. During his master’s work he realized that his real interest was in animal behavior. After completing his MA degree in 1973, he went into a PhD program in a psychology department because of his greater strength and training in psychology, but found an advisor that supported his interest in animal behavior from an evolutionary and ecological perspective. He received his PhD degree from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1979. Daryl’s PhD thesis on the mating system of gray seals was the beginning of a career that focused on the evolution and ecology of reproductive strategies in pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, and walruses). He joined the curatorial staff at the National Zoological Park of the Smithsonian Institution in 1978 specifically to manage the new aquatic mammal facilities completed that year. In 1985, he moved into a full-time research position in the Zoo’s Department of Zoological Research, of which he became the head in 1996. Over the past 25 years, Daryl has made a concerted effort to study as many pinniped species as possible, but has maintained a long-term study of grey and harbor seals on Sable Island, Nova Scotia. He has published on 12 of the 31 species of pinnipeds, from one end of the globe to the other. A characteristic of his work is to incorporate a team approach, bringing various disciplines (e.g., physiology, behavior, genetics and population biology) together to address questions. In the 1980s, he shifted his focus from male reproductive strategies to female strategies, but has since renewed efforts in examining alternative male strategies. The near-unique ecological situation of pinnipeds breeding on land but feeding at sea provides the opportunity for the evolution of extreme patterns in reproduction. One example of this is the hooded seal, which breeds on pack ice. Daryl and Canadian colleagues found that the lactation period of hooded seal females was only four days long, which is the shortest of any mammal. Females feed their pups milk that contains 61% fat so pups can gain 7 kg per day to build a blubber layer that allows them to survive until they learn to feed several weeks later. Daryl has published over 85 articles in peer-reviewed journals and books. He has written major review papers on the evolution of lactation strategies in pinnipeds, reproductive and life history strategies of marine mammals, the ecological determinants of mating systems in pinnipeds, and the management of water quality in exhibits for captive aquatic mammals. Since 1995, he has served on the Committee of Scientific Advisors to the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission, a commission that advises the President on marine mammal issues. He has served on numerous panels and committees that review both research and management programs of various agencies tasked with managing marine mammal populations. Daryl served as an associate editor for the journal Marine Mammal Science. Daryl was elected to the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 1998 and served on the board of managers in 1998-2000.