WMU News

Professor is on-line expert for Discovery Channel Web site

October 29, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- Monarch butterfly expert Dr. Stephen B. Malcolm, will wing it on the World Wide Web in November as a guest on Wild Discovery Wired, the "ask the expert" on-line series of Discovery Online, the Web site for the Discovery Channel.

Malcolm, a Western Michigan University associate professor of biological sciences, and Dr. Myron Zalucki of the University of Queensland in Australia will field e-mail questions in an on-line forum on the Web site Nov. 8-14. Malcolm and Zalucki are editors of "Biology and Conservation of the Monarch Butterfly."

The Web address (URL) is <www.discovery.com/conv/wilddiscovery/wilddiscovery.html>

According to Naina Mistry, producer of Wild Discovery Wired, Malcolm and Zalucki were selected as experts for the forum to complement programming on the Discovery Channel. The show, "Incredible Journey through the Sky," which details migrations including those of monarch butterflies, will air Nov. 11. Incidentally, the butterflies' annual migration south is currently underway, but Mistry says that is just a fortunate coincidence.

The Wild Discovery Wired forum uses a bulletin board format and Malcolm and Zalucki will respond each day to questions posted by curious visitors. Those visiting the site can read all the questions and answers from the experts and add their own input. Mistry says the forum often turns into more of a discussion, with experts and others responding to one another's answers and comments.

The experts can expect a minimum of ten questions a day, says Mistry. Discovery Online is considered one of the best sites on the Web, getting nearly 50,000 visits per day. The site has won numerous awards and accolades including being named the 1998 Best World Wide Web Site by the Software Publisher's Association and voted as the 1996 "Cool Site of the Year" by InfiNet.

Malcolm says he's looking forward to the interactions with site visitors. "It was quite nice to be asked," he says. "I've been visiting their wild dog forum and have found that those who ask questions are really quite informed. This might be quite fun."

Malcolm, who has been at WMU since 1991, received his doctorate from the University of Oxford in England and has studied monarch butterflies for 15 years.

Media contact: Marie Lee, 616 387-8400, marie.lee@wmich.edu

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