Burton Lim

Burton Lim

Burton Lim

Assistant Curator of Mammalogy

Area: Natural History, Biodiversity

Interests: Bats, Biodiversity, Biogeography, Community Ecology, Evolution, Mammalogy

Exhibitions & Galleries: Bat Cave, LIfe in Crisis: Schad Gallery of Biodiversity

Phone: 416.586.5771


B.Sc., Zoology, University of Toronto, 1980-1984
M.Sc., Biology, York University, 1994-1996
Ph.D., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, 1999-2007

Certificate in Global Journalism, Munk School of Global Affairs, U of T, 2012-2013

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 and pursuing graduate studies. He has travelled to 22 countries (and counting) conducting fieldwork on mammals. His research interests focus on the evolution and biodiversity of mammals with a specialization on tropical bats.

His dissertation examined 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 continues this integrative approach on other groups of mammals.

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, and 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.  Since 2011, Burton has been collaborating with Operation Wallacea on monitoring biodiversity at Iwokrama Forest and Surama Village in central Guyana, including bats, to track changes in the ecosystem.

One of his earlier tasks at the ROM was writing the introductory text to the Bat Cave exhibit that opened in 1988 and more recent gallery work was the renovation of this popular kids exhibit in 2010.  Dr. Lim is also participating in the International Barcode of Life (iBOL) project to create a genetic reference system for species identification and discovery of mammals.  And he couldn’t pass up the once-in-a-life-time chance to skin a blue whale, the largest animal to ever live on earth, when 1 of 9 that had accidentally died during a year of exceptional ice formation in the Gulf of St. Lawrence washed ashore beside the boardwalk of Trout River on the west coast of Newfoundland.

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Publications since 2015

Horsley, T.W.B., J.E. Bicknell, B.K. Lim, and L.K. Ammerman. 2015. Seed dispersal by frugivorous bats in the Central Guyana and a description of previously unknown plant-animal interactions. Acta Chiropterologica, 17: 331–336.

Kuo, H.C. S.F. Chen, Y.P. Fang, J.A. Cotton, J.D. Parker, G. Csorba, B.K. Lim, J.L. Eger, C.H. Chen, C.H. Chou, and S.J. Rossiter. 2015. Speciation processes in putative island endemic sister bat species: false impressions from mitochondrial DNA and microsatellite data. Molecular Ecology, 24: 5910–5926.

Lim, B.K., and L.M. Arcila Hernandez. 2015. DNA barcoding of Jamaican bats: implications to Neotropical biodiversity. Mitochondrial DNA, Early Online: 1–7, DOI: 10.3109/19401736.2015.1063047.

Lima, L., O. Espinosa-Álvarez, C.M. Pinto, M. Cavazzana Jr., A.C. Pavan, J.C. Carranza, B.K. Lim, M. Campaner, C.S.A. Takata, E.P. Camargo, P.B. Hamilton, and M.M.G. Teixeira. 2015. New insights into the evolution of the Trypanosoma cruzi clade provided by a new trypanosome species tightly linked to Neotropical Pteronotus bats and related to an Australian lineage of trypanosomes. Parasites and Vectors, 8: 657, DOI: 10.1186/s13071-015-1255-x.

Lim, B.K. 2015. Jungle experiments: this classroom has no desks, chalkboard or wifi. Magazine of the Royal Ontario Museum, 48(2): 8-9.

Lim, B.K. 2015. Review of “Bat conservation: global evidence for the effects of interventions” by A. Berthinussen, O.C. Richardson and J.D. Altringham, 2014. The Quarterly Review of Biology, 90:212.

Lim, B.K. 2015. Review of “The mammals of Sri Lanka” by A. Yapa and G. Ratnavira, 2013. Journal of Mammalogy, 96:460–462.

Lim, B.K. 2015. Review of “An indomitable beast: the remarkable journey of the jaguar” by A. Rabinowitz. Canadian Field-Naturalist, 129:104-105.


  • Burton Lim
  • Burton Lim
  • Burton Lim
  • Burton Lim

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, 199. (PDF)
2014 Burton Lim. "Biodiversity bonanza: Guyana's Rupununi." Caribbean Beat, 127, 3, 68-69. biodiversity bonanza
2013 Burton Lim. "Establishing baseline data on bats for REDD+ verification." Biodiversity Science, 10 baseline data on bats

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.