Search for Academy curators, collections managers, and research staff working to answer some of the world's most pressing scientific questions.
My research as a cultural anthropologist examines the scientific cultures within museums. I study how museum collections are currently being re-evaluated as sites for mining new kinds of data across disciplines, such as genetic sampling or as preserved cultural heritage. My ethnographic research explores the behind-the-scenes spaces of museums, where I work alongside scientists in the collections, laboratories and biorepositories to study the cultural practices of collecting, preserving and understanding the diversity of life.
My research focuses on improving the tree of life for arthropods. Weevils (Curculionidae) are my focal taxon of choice. Weevils have specialized ecological habits, such as feeding on fungi, seeds, pollen, wood, roots and even kangaroo dung, weevils make an excellent system to study the evolution of different ecomorphologies. Currently I am focusing my efforts on whole genome sequencing and functional genomics in the genus Pachyrhynchus as well in the Cryptorhynchinae.
Research interests include the systematics and evolutionary biology of octocorals (soft corals, gorgonians, and pennatulaceans), which comprise 65% of all coral species diversity. Fieldwork is currently focused on two bathymetrically opposite regions of the world's oceans: coral reefs of the tropical western Pacific (the Philippines, Melanesia, and Micronesia), and the deep-sea benthos (particularly the west coast of North America and various deep ocean basins worldwide).
The California Academy of Sciences Citizen Science team connects people to their local nature and each other while simultaneously collecting data critical to science and management. We accomplish these goals through a variety of programs including community bioblitzes, long-term intertidal monitoring, Snapshot Cal Coast, and City Nature Challenge, which scaffold collecting biodiversity observations using the iNaturalist platform with in-person citizen science field experiences.
Encyrtidae of California
The Encyrtidae (Hymenoptera) comprise one of the most important groups of insects used for the biological control of economic pests. However there has never been a systematic attempt to characterize the Nearctic fauna. As a preliminary to such a study, I am compiling a checklist of the species found in California, including both native species as well as those established here in biocontrol programs.