Burton Lim

Burton Lim

Burton Lim

Assistant Curator of Mammalogy

Area: Natural History, Biodiversity

Exhibitions & Galleries: LIfe in Crisis: Schad Gallery of Biodiversity

Phone: 416.586.5771


B.Sc., Zoology, University of Toronto
M.Sc., Biology, York University
Ph.D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto

Burton Lim is Assistant Curator of Mammalogy in the Department of Natural History at the ROM.

Born, raised and educated in Toronto, Burton has been employed at the ROM since completing his undergraduate degree in 1984 and has pursued graduate studies. He has travelled to 18 countries (and counting) conducting fieldwork on mammals. His research interests focus on the evolution of bats and the biodiversity of mammals.

His dissertation examines the molecular phylogenetics of New World sheath-tailed bats (Family Emballonuridae), their origin, divergence times, biogeography in Central and South America, and the evolution of morphological and behavioural characters. Burton has recently completed a 5-year project doing a biotic survey of small mammals as part of a larger project on terrestrial vertebrates and their parasites in China.

He uses information gathered from faunal surveys in the Guiana Shield (primarily Guyana and Suriname) to investigate species diversity and relative abundance of small mammals (bats, rats, opossums). The establishment of baseline data on distribution and community ecology enables the monitoring of changes in the environment to assess aspects of conservation and sustainable development. Burton is also participating in the international Barcode of Life project to create a genetic reference system for species identification and discovery of mammals.

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Recent Publications

Year Publication
2015 Burton Lim. "Review of Bats of Trinidad and Tobago: a field guide and natural history, by G.A. Gomes and F.A. Reid." Acta Chiropterologica, 17, 1, 100-200. (PDF)

Research Projects

Less than 10% of the planet’s estimated 100 million species have been identified and described.

In May 2014, a small ROM team travelled to Newfoundland to salvage a Blue Whale that had washed ashore.