About

About the author, Jay M. Cooney

The author aboard a ferry crossing a portion of the Strait of Juan De Fuca, vigilant for signs of the Salish Sea’s rich marine biodiversity.

I am currently an undergraduate student at Canisius College where I am pursuing a major in Animal Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation (ABEC) with a minor in Anthrozoology. Since August of 2016, I have been an assistant with the Canisius Marineland Orca Research Project studying beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) at Marineland of Canada under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Noonan. During the Spring of 2017, I had the incredible opportunity to be a part of a select group of Canisius Ambassadors for Conservation who conducted field studies along the Salish Sea. My future goals are to obtain my PhD in Ethology and enter into Academia, with a special focus on the behavior and ecology of cetartiodactyls. I have long aspired to teach and conduct research as a college professor, and also hope to engage in science communication to the public through the authorship of popular articles and books. I am currently a contributor to the e-Newsletters of Bear Trust International through a writing internship. My inspiration derives from such luminary scientists as Edward O. Wilson, Frans de Waal, Valerius Geist, and the wonderful ABEC staff at Canisius College, whose studies of the animal kingdom I wish to continue in my career. I have read numerous books, attended lectures, traveled to various zoological parks and nature reserves, visited museums, and communicated with fellow researchers in hopes of advancing my knowledge. I am currently employed at the Erie Zoo and have also gained informal experience in the natural world through birding, hiking, hunting, and fishing. It is my hope that my writing will both educate readers regarding the breadth of our planet’s biodiversity, and inspire them to live consciously in accord with the preservation and well being of our nonhuman kin.

A persistent point of my curiosity has been our species’ reconciliation with its animal nature, and the manner in which we have both embraced and denied it. The human ego causes many people to forget that we too are a species of animal dependent on the biosphere and the delicate tapestry of life that it hosts. In reality, our evolutionary heritage connects us to all inhabitants of the natural world, from the largest blue whales to the tiniest insects. Thus, the title of “Animal in the Mirror”: encouraging readers to contemplate this profound relationship with biodiversity, and express celebration of our kinship through positive interactions with the nonhuman animals they encounter and the wild places they enter into. For the past five years, I have been the author of a blog titled “Bizarre Zoology” which has received over 450,000 views. Animal in the Mirror will continue to host my musings relating to animal behavior, ecology, and conservation, as well as the spectrum of biophilia embodied through human actions.

Works Referenced in:

Naish, Darren. Hunting Monsters: Cryptozoology and the Reality Behind the Myths. London: Arcturus, 2016. Kindle.

Shuker, Karl, and Roy Mackal. Still in Search of Prehistoric Survivors. Landisville: Coachwhip Publications, 2016. Print.

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The author presenting an academic poster titled, “Consistent Individual Differences in
Swim Patterns in Captive Beluga Whales” at the Spring 2017 Ignatian Scholarship Day