Experts Database

 
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Contact Title Department Specialty Expeditions / Highlights
Zeray Alemseged Curator and Irvine Chair Anthropology early hominin and primate phylogeny and taxonomy; origin and evolution of bipedalism; ontogeny and development in early hominins; hominin behavior and "social structure"; early hominin dietary adaptation, biogeography, and geological settings; hominin paleoenvironments and paleoecology Dikika Research Project in Ethiopia; discovery of the "world's oldest baby" (Australopithecus afarensis) in 2006
Frank Almeda Senior Curator, Decker and Martha McAllister Chair Botany Living roof design. Systematics and phylogeny of flowering plants, especially tropical species. Rainforest destruction, especially Costa Rica, Panama, Brazil, and Madagascar. Native and introduced flora of Marin County, CA, and invasive species generally including Miconia calvescens, Clidemia hirta (Koster's Curse), and Miconia racemosa. Princess flowers (Melastomataceae), a worldwide family of tropical plants related to eucalyptus, bottlebrush, myrtles, and guavas. Chromosome cytology and evolution of princess flowers. Complete revision of Marin Flora. Recent expeditions to the cerrado, Atlantic rainforest, and campo rupestre of Brazil, Panamanian rainforest, and diverse environments throughout Madagascar.
Elizabeth Babcock Chief Officer and Dean Education and Digital Strategy Formal and informal education, education through digital media, cultural anthropology "WhyReef" and "Animal Adventures" virtual world projects for teens and tweens; international migration; Belizean voluntary associations
Bruce Bartholomew Senior Research Scientist Botany Flora of China and Modoc County, California China Natural History Project, Flora of China.
Shannon Bennett
Associate Curator Microbiology Viruses and bacteria, especially infectious diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans. Studies on dengue, hantavirus, influenza, leptospirosis, mosquito vectors, parasitic roundworms.
David Blackburn Assistant Curator Herpetology Evolution and diversity of frogs on continental Africa. Nigeria, Cameroon, Malawi, Niger.
Roberta Brett Senior Science Content Specialist Education Phylogeny, biogeography, natural history, morphology, and molecular systematics of the Omophron (Coleoptera: Carabidae), or carabid beetles. Madagascar and Yunnan, China (carabid beetles).
Meg Burke Director Education Animal behavior and ecology; feral animals, especially goats; Philippine coral reef diversity, conservation, and education, including outreach to Filipino communities here and abroad; polar bears; informal science education, especially teacher professional development, enrichment programs for students, and science career ladders for under-served youth; integrating research, education, and exhibits; basic biology (university professor for 18 years) Led multiple Academy travel programs to the Galapagos and to Churchill, Manitoba (to see polar bears); field expeditions to Costa Rica (marine biodiversity) and the Philippines (coral reefs). Doctoral and follow-up research on feral goats of Aldabra Atoll, Seychelles; reef fish behavior in Belize
David Catania Senior Collections Manager Ichthyology Fish China Natural History Project; Sao Tome and Principe (2009); X-Ray Ichthyology exhibit.
Nicole Chaney Aquatic Biologist Aquarium reptiles, amphibians, insects  
Tom Daniel Curator Botany New World Acanthaceae (shrimp plants and their relatives), especially in Mexico. Native and invasive plants in San Francisco. Pollination biology. Desert plant communities. A new flora of San Francisco, and floristic catalogs of mountain ranges in Arizona and the Mexican state of Sinaloa. Sao Tome and Principe.
Charles Delbeek Senior Aquatic Biologist Aquarium Live coral husbandry, marine tropical fish, coral reefs, tropical cephalopods, seadragons, underwater photography, marine aquarium life support systems Dives in South Korea, Japan, Palau, Thailand, Marshall Islands, Fiji, Indonesia, Solomon Islands, Hawaii, Philippines, Florida, and Bonaire
Jean DeMouthe Senior Collections Manager Geology Paleontology and mineralogy; gemmology; engineering geology; California geology; materials science. Historical uses and sources of geological materials; properties, uses, and sources of natural materials used in art and commerce.  
Robert Drewes Curator Herpetology Evolutionary relationships, natural history and biogeography of African amphibians and reptiles, the comparative physiology of arid-adapted amphibians. Hyperoliidae, the dominant treefrog of Africa, the Seychelles, and Madagascar. 36+ expeditions to 19 African countries since 1969, including multiple expeditions to Sao Tome and Principe (2001-2010) for assessment of biodiversity. Ongoing research on the amphibian lymphatic system. Three books including Ecological and Environmental Physiology of Amphibians (2009).
Jack Dumbacher Associate Curator and Chair Ornithology & Mammalogy Ecology and evolution of chemical defense in birds, particularly with pitohuis in New Guinea. Muellerian mimicry in birds. Elephant-shrews. Biogeography, bird conservation, island evolution. Terrestrial New Guinea. Vertebrate natural history of the Galapagos. Biogeographic study of birds in New Guinea. Investigation of toxicity source for poisonous birds. Elephant-shrews in Namibia. Spotted owls in North America.
Freeland Dunker Veterinarian Aquarium Zoological and aquatic animal medicine and surgery Diagnosis and treatment of elephants with tuberculosis
William Eschmeyer Curator Emeritus Ichthyology Taxonomy/scientific names of all fishes; nomenclature; taxonomic literature of ichthyology Eastern and western Atlantic, southwestern and central Pacific; Genera of Fishes (1990), Catalog of Fishes (1998), Catalog of Fishes online database (current).
Brian Fisher Curator Entomology Ants - especially evolution, diversity and distribution of ants in Africa and Madagascar. Dracula ants (Adetomyrma), fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) and Argentine ants (Linepithema humile). Ecology, conservation and biodiversity in Africa, Madagascar, and South America. AntWeb: building the global online infrastructure for the biodiversity and identification of the world's ants. First in-depth inventory of Madagascar's ants. Influencing conservation priorities in Madagascar and the islands of the southwest Indian Ocean.
Moe Flannery Collections Manager Ornithology & Mammalogy Co-evolution of quill mites (Syringophilidae) and their bird hosts; birds of Southeast Asia; ageing and sexing passerines using molt criteria. Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Myanmar 2001; China 2002-2005.
Elisabeth Fourtanier Research Scientist Invertebrate Zoology & Geology Taxonomy, biostratigraphy, and evolution of fossil diatoms Computerized database of diatom names
Brian Freiermuth Aquatic Biologist Aquarium Reptiles and amphibians Breeding Asian horned frogs
Peter Fritsch Curator Botany Flowering plants, especially of the order Ericales, including the snowdrops (Styrax), silverbells (Halesia), persimmons, and wintergreens (Gaultheria). China Natural History Project. Plant distribution changes in Asia and the Americas as a result of Tertiary climate change.
Michael Ghiselin Senior Research Fellow Invertebrate Zoology & Geology Phylogenetics, especially of opisthobranch gastropods; principles of systematics; history and philosophy of biology; Darwin; bioeconomics; evolutionary aspects of reproduction; evolution of chemical defense in opisthobranch gastropods; adaptive significance of hermaphroditism and other reproductive phenomena. Molecular phylogeny of the animal kingdom.
Terry Gosliner Senior Curator Invertebrate Zoology & Geology Evolutionary history of gastropod mollusks, particularly the Opisthobranchia (nudibranchs and other sea slugs). Phylogeny and systematics of the Nudibranchia. Marine invertebrates. California and tropical marine ecosystems. Philippine coral reefs, Papua New Guinea, Madagascar, Palmyra Atoll, Malaysia, Galapagos. First comprehensive inventory of nudibranchs along Costa Rica's Pacific coast. Costa Rica biodiversity. Comprehensive guide to 1,400 species of Indo-Pacific nudibranchs.
Charles Griswold Curator Arachnology Spider morphology, evolution, behavior, and evolution and function of webs and silk spinning organs. Biogeography of Madagascar, the "Afromontane" mountain archipelago, and the austral (Gondwanan) world. Trapdoor spiders, assassin spiders, and cave spiders. Terrestrial Arthropod Inventory of Madagascar (NSF project). "Tree of Life" (phylogeny) for spiders (NSF project). Planetary Biodiversity Inventory (worldwide survey) of Goblin spiders (NSF project). China Natural History Project. Expeditions to Chilean, New Zealand, and Australian temperate rainforests.
Ari Harding, PE, LEED AP O+M
Director of Building Systems Operations Building management software for the Academy. Green building technology and engineering. Solar cells. Mechanical and control systems designer.  
Russell Hartman Senior Collection Manager Anthropology Native American and Oceanic cultures, esp. California and Southwest; materials in the Academy's anthropological collections Southwestern Native American art, especially of Navajo and Pueblo Indians
Sylvia Hope Research Associate Ornithology Origin and relationships among birds, especially basal modern birds; fossil birds; behavior and evolution of crows, jays, and magpies; bird songs; evolutionary process; systematics of Corvidae (jays, crows, magpies); the Mesozoic record of modern birds (Neornithes). Behavior observation and song recordings of jays; paleontology digs for fossil mammals and birds in Wyoming; descriptions of new fossil bird species.
Dave Kavanaugh Senior Curator Entomology Beetles, especially systematics, biogeography, evolution, and natural history of carabid beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae). Biogeography, ecology, and evolution of high-altitude, montane organisms and faunas. China Natural History Project; Madagascar Project; Madang Province Papua New Guinea Project; expeditions to the Hawaiian Islands, New Zealand, Siberia, Amazonian Peru, Costa Rica, and all mountainous regions of North America. Evidence for climate change based on changes in the distributions of montane beetle species.
Laurie Kormos Animal Health Manager Aquarium Fish and reptiles  
Vincent Lee Curatorial Assistant Arachnology Scorpions and pseudoscorpions; terrestrial maritime arthropods. Madagascar and Kenyan arachnids and insects.
Douglas Long Research Associate Ichthyology, Ornithology & Mammalogy Ichthyology: evolution, ecology, and behavior of sharks; taxonomy and ecology of deep water fishes; paleontology; ecology of the great white shark; deep-sea Galapagos fishes; fossil history and evolution of sharks in Antarctica, California, and Chile. Ornithology & Mammalogy: ecology, conservation, and biogeography of birds and mammals; marine mammals; vertebrate evolution and paleontology; life history studies of New World vultures; research into ecology of sea lions. Bioinventories of birds and mammals in Myanmar, China, South Africa, and Sao Tome; revised biogeography of central California mammals; avian conservation in New Zealand.
John McCosker Senior Scientist and Department Chair Aquatic Biology Aquatic animal evolution and behavior. Great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) behavior. Tropical snake eels and moray eels, evolution of bony fishes, Galapagos Islands fish, flashlight fish, chinook salmon, elasmobranchs, coelacanths, and sustainable seafood choices. Galapagos Island expeditions using submersibles, 1975 Academy coelacanth expedition.
Brenda Melton Curator Aquarium Birds, mammals, terrestrial and freshwater organisms; oversees the Academy's Rainforest and Swamp, living exhibits within the Kimball Natural History Museum, and programming animals.  
Rich Mooi Curator Invertebrate Zoology & Geology Evolution, development, and morphology of all echinoderm groups, fossil and extant (sea urchins, sea stars, sand dollars, brittlestars, sea cucumbers, and sea lilies). Sand dollar phylogeny and paleontology. Marine invertebrates in Antarctica, including brooding sea urchins. San Francisco Bay benthic survey. Sea urchin and crinoid interaction in the Bahamas. Sao Tome and Principe.
Kristen Natoli Horticulturist Aquarium plants and butterflies (the Academy's Rainforest exhibit)  
Wallace J. Nichols Research Associate Herpetology Sea turtles, ocean conservation, ocean plastic and pollution, ocean communication, community organizing Tracking loggerhead turtles on their migration from Mexico to Japan; assessing turtle bycatch in Baja California; Latin America; Indonesia
Norm Penny Senior Collections Manager Entomology Lacewings, dobsonflies, mantidflies, alderflies, snakeflies, spongeflies, antlions and owlflies, scorpionflies and hangingflies. (Neuroptera, Mecoptera, and fulgoroid Homoptera.) New species of Chrysopinae (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) from Costa Rica
Aaron Pope Manager of Sustainability Programs Public Programs Sustainability education and practices. Green building features. "Arena for Engagement" in the Altered State: Climate Change in California exhibit. San Francisco Sustainable Seafood Watch Alliance.
Bing Quock Assistant Director Planetarium General astronomy, solar system Travel program to view the century's longest total solar eclipse (China 2009)
Luiz Rocha
Assistant Curator Ichthyology Coral reef fishes. Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, Polynesia, Micronesia, Caribbean, South America, Africa.
Peter Roopnarine Curator Invertebrate Zoology & Geology Models of ecosystem evolution and extinction; relationship of climate change to extinction; patterns and rates of evolution; marine paleoecology in Neogene tropical America; evolution of bivalved molluscs Effects of 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill on shellfish and the food web; thermal spring ecology in Mexico; Lower Devonian conodonts of Nevada; Neogene mollusks of the southeastern United States and the Caribbean; bivalves in the Gulf of Thailand; lead curator of Altered State: Climate Change in California exhibit.
Richard Ross Aquatic Biologist Aquarium Cephalopods: nautilus, cuttlefish, squid, octopus Breeding program for dwarf cuttlefish
Jere Schweikert Curatorial Assistant Entomology General entomology Madagascar, Kenya, Kuril Islands.
Bart Shepherd Director Aquarium Coral reef biology, tropical marine ecosystems, fish biomechanics. New Academy exhibit design. Coral propagation, lighting methods for corals in captivity. Philippines
W. Brian Simison Curator Comparative Genomics evolution, phylogenetics, genomics, DNA sequencing, biogeography Semi-annual collecting trips to Venezuela, Panama, Costa Rica, Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Mexico (Baja, La Paz, Cabo Pulmo, Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta).
Debra Trock Senior Collections Manager Botany Asteraceae family, a large group that includes sunflowers, dandelions, lettuce, daisies, dahlias, chamomile, zinnias, chrysanthemums, and more Wyoming, Colorado; Flora of North America series
Darrell Ubick Curatorial Assistant Arachnology Arachnida (spiders and harvestmen) and troglobites (cave organisms); California endemic arachnids; invasive arachnids. Cave-dwelling arachnids in Santa Cruz and Texas; PBI (Planetary Biodiversity Inventory) of spider family Oonopidae; serpentine endemic arachnids in California.
Bob Van Syoc Senior Collections Manager Invertebrate Zoology & Geology Evolution and biogeography of barnacles. Benthic invertebrate diversity of the Pacific coast. California intertidal and shallow subtidal from San Diego to Mendocino, including participation in multi-year surveys of the Channel Islands and Southeast Farallon Island. Other expeditions to Alaska, British Columbia, Baja California, Panama, Tonga, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Palau, Philippines, Borneo, Red Sea, Madagascar, Australia, Galapagos Islands, Clipperton Island, and cruises off the California coast to sample shelf and slope fauna.
Jens Vindum Senior Collections Manager Herpetology Snakes, frogs, toads, lizards, and salamanders - especially in California. China Natural History Project, Myanmar Biodiversity Project, creating Myanmar museum.
Gary Williams Curator and Chair Invertebrate Zoology & Geology Octocorallian coelenterates (soft corals, sea fans, and sea pens). History of science. Coral reefs of the tropical western Pacific. Polar and temperate deep-sea octocorals. Philippines, Melanesia, Micronesia, Galapagos, Patagonia, sub-Antarctic, Madagascar, Palmyra, southern Africa, Gulf of Guinea.
Seth Wolters Senior Aquatic Biologist Aquarium tropical marine fishes and invertebrates, elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) Philippines, Hawaii
Ryan Wyatt Director Planetarium science visualization, astrophysics, history of astronomy, beyond solar system Planetarium shows Fragile Planet and Life: A Cosmic Story
Robert Zuparko Curatorial Assistant Entomology Parasitic Hymenoptera  

 
Click here to see a less detailed Experts Database.
To get in touch with an expert, email or call one of the Academy's press contacts.