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Dozens of Academy scientists and curators are available to working journalists to comment on topics related to their fields of expertise. Browse their specialties below, and contact us to arrange an interview.

Anthropology

Laura Eklund
Collection Manager
Anthropology

Specialty: Native American and Oceanic cultures, esp. California and Southwest
Expeditions/Highlights: Southwestern Native American art, especially of Navajo and Pueblo Indians

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Aquarium

Nicole Chaney
Aquatic Biologist
Aquarium

Specialty: Reptiles, amphibians, insects

Charles Delbeek
Curator
Aquarium

Specialty: Tropical fish and coral reefs, cephalopods, seadragons. Underwater photography. Live coral husbandry, aquarium life support systems.
Expeditions/Highlights: Dives in South Korea, Japan, Palau, Thailand, Marshall Islands, Fiji, Indonesia, Solomon Islands, Hawaii, Philippines, Florida, and Bonaire

Freeland Dunker
Veterinarian
Aquarium

Specialty: Animal medicine and surgery
Expeditions/Highlights: Diagnosis and treatment of elephants with tuberculosis

Brenda Melton
Associate Director
Aquarium

Specialty: Oversees the Academy's Rainforest and Swamp, living exhibits within the Kimball Natural History Museum, and programming animals.

Laurie Patel
Animal Health Manager
Aquarium

Specialty: Fish and reptiles

Richard Ross
Senior Aquatic Biologist
Aquarium

Specialty: Cephalopods: nautilus, cuttlefish, squid, octopus
Expeditions/Highlights: Breeding program for dwarf cuttlefish

Bart Shepherd
Senior Director
Aquarium

Specialty: Coral reefs. Fish biomechanics. New Academy exhibit design. Coral propagation, lighting methods for corals in captivity.
Expeditions/Highlights: Philippines

Read Bart’s Science Hero profile. 

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Arachnology

Charles Griswold
Curator Emeritus
Arachnology

Specialty: Spiders
Expeditions/Highlights: Terrestrial Arthropod Inventory of Madagascar. "Tree of Life" for spiders. Planetary Biodiversity Inventory (worldwide survey) of Goblin spiders. China Natural History Project. Expeditions to Chilean, New Zealand, and Australian temperate rainforests.

Vincent Lee
Curatorial Assistant
Arachnology

Specialty: Scorpions and pseudoscorpions
Expeditions/Highlights: Madagascar and Kenyan arachnids and insects.

Darrell Ubick
Curatorial Assistant
Arachnology

Specialty: Arachnids and troglobites (cave organisms). Endemic and invasive California arachnids.
Expeditions/Highlights: Cave-dwelling arachnids in Santa Cruz and Texas; Planetary Biodiversity Inventory of spider family Oonopidae; serpentine endemic arachnids in California.

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Astronomy

Bing Quock
Assistant Director
Planetarium

Specialty: General astronomy, solar system
Expeditions/Highlights: Travel program to view the century's longest total solar eclipse (China 2009)

Ryan Wyatt
Senior Director
Planetarium

Specialty: Science visualization, astrophysics, history of astronomy, beyond solar system
Expeditions/Highlights: Planetarium shows Fragile Planet and Life: A Cosmic Story

Read Ryan’s Science Hero profile.

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Botany

Frank Almeda
Senior Curator Emeritus
Botany

Specialty: Living roof design. Tropical flowering plants. Princess flowers (Melastomataceae).
Expeditions/Highlights: Complete revision of Marin Flora. Recent expeditions to Brazil, Panama, and Madagascar.

Bruce Bartholomew
Senior Research Scientist
Botany

Specialty: Plants of China and Modoc County, California
Expeditions/Highlights: China Natural History Project, Flora of China.

Tom Daniel
Curator Emeritus
Botany

Specialty: New World Acanthaceae (shrimp plants and their relatives). Native and invasive plants in San Francisco. Pollination. Desert plants.
Expeditions/Highlights: A new flora of San Francisco, and floristic catalogs of mountain ranges in Arizona and the Mexican state of Sinaloa. Sao Tome and Principe.

Debra Trock
Director of Science Collections
Senior Collections Manager
Botany

Specialty: Asteraceae family, a large group that includes sunflowers, dandelions, daisies, and more
Expeditions/Highlights: Wyoming, Colorado; Flora of North America series

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Climate Change & Sustainability

Dave Kavanaugh
Senior Curator
Entomology

Specialty: Beetles, especially carabid beetles
Highlights/Expeditions: China Natural History Project; Madagascar; Madang Province, Papua New Guinea; expeditions to Hawaii, 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.

Peter Roopnarine
Curator
Invertebrate Zoology & Geology

Specialty: Models of ecosystem evolution and extinction. Relationship of climate change to extinction. Clams, mussels, and relatives.
Highlights/Expeditions: Effects of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill on shellfish and the food web; thermal spring ecology in Mexico; conodonts of Nevada; mollusks of the southeastern U.S. and Caribbean; bivalves in the Gulf of Thailand; lead curator of Altered State: Climate Change in California exhibit.

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Education

Elizabeth Babcock
Chief Officer and Dean Education and Digital Strategy

Specialty: Formal and informal education, education through digital media, cultural anthropology
Highlights/Expeditions: "WhyReef" and "Animal Adventures" virtual world projects for teens and tweens; international migration; Belizean voluntary associations

Read Elizabeth’s bio 

Ryan Wyatt
Director
Planetarium

Specialty: Science visualization, astrophysics, history of astronomy, beyond solar system Planetarium shows Fragile Planet and Life: A Cosmic Story

Read Ryan’s Science Hero profile

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Entomology

Brian Fisher
Curator
Entomology

Specialty: Ants - especially in Africa and Madagascar
Highlights/Expeditions: 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.

Read Brian’s Science Hero profile

Dave Kavanaugh
Senior Curator Emeritus 
Entomology

Specialty: Beetles, especially carabid beetles
Highlights/Expeditions: China Natural History Project; Madagascar; Madang Province, Papua New Guinea; expeditions to Hawaii, 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.

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Genomics

Shannon Bennett
​Associate Curator
Microbiology

Specialty: Viruses and bacteria, especially infectious diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans.
Highlights/Expeditions: Studies on dengue, hantavirus, influenza, leptospirosis, mosquito vectors, parasitic roundworms.

Read Shannon’s Science Hero profile

W. Brian Simison
Curator
Comparative Genomics

Specialty: Phylogenetics, genomics, DNA sequencing, biogeography
Highlights/Expeditions: Semi-annual collecting trips to Venezuela, Panama, Costa Rica, Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Mexico (Baja, La Paz, Cabo Pulmo, Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta).

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Green Building

Frank Almeda
Senior Curator
Botany

Specialty: Living roof design. Tropical flowering plants. Princess flowers (Melastomataceae).
Highlights/Expeditions: Complete revision of Marin Flora. Recent expeditions to Brazil, Panama, and Madagascar.

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Herpetology

Robert Drewes
Curator
Herpetology

Specialty: African amphibians and reptiles.
Highlights/Expeditions: 36+ expeditions to 19 African countries since 1969, including multiple expeditions to Sao Tome and Principe (2001-2010). Three books including Ecological and Environmental Physiology of Amphibians (2009).

Read Bob’s Science Hero profile

Wallace J. Nichols
Research Associate
Herpetology

Specialty: Sea turtles. Ocean conservation, ocean plastic and pollution. Highlights/Expeditions: Tracking loggerhead turtles on their migration from Mexico to Japan; assessing turtle bycatch in Baja California; Latin America; Indonesia

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Ichthyology

David Catania
Senior Collections Manager
Ichthyology

Specialty: Academy's fish collections
Highlights/Expeditions: China Natural History Project, Sao Tome and Principe (2009), X-Ray Ichthyology exhibit.

Douglas Long
Research Associate
Ichthyology, Ornithology & Mammalogy

Specialty: Sharks, deep-sea fishes. Marine mammals, especially sea lions. Birds, especially New World vultures.
Highlights/Expeditions: 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

Specialty: Shark behavior, eels, Galapagos Islands fish, flashlight fish, salmon, and coelacanths. Sustainable seafood choices.

Highlights/Expeditions: Galapagos Island expeditions using submersibles, 1975 Academy coelacanth expedition.

Read John's Science Hero profile 

Luiz Rocha
Assistant Curator
Ichthyology

Specialty: Coral reef fishes.
Highlights/Expeditions: Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, Polynesia, Micronesia, Caribbean, South America, Africa.

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Invertebrate Zoology

Terry Gosliner
Senior Curator
Invertebrate Zoology & Geology

Specialty: Marine invertebrates, especially sea slugs. California and tropical marine habitats.
Highlights/Expeditions: Philippine coral reefs, Papua New Guinea, Madagascar, Palmyra Atoll, Malaysia, Galapagos. First comprehensive inventory of nudibranchs (sea slugs) along Costa Rica's Pacific coast. Comprehensive guide to 1,400 species of Indo-Pacific nudibranchs.

Read Terry’s Science Hero profile

Rich Mooi
Curator
Invertebrate Zoology & Geology

Specialty: Echinoderms: sea urchins, sea stars, sand dollars, brittlestars, sea cucumbers, and sea lilies
Highlights/Expeditions: 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.

Peter Roopnarine
Curator
Invertebrate Zoology & Geology

Specialty: Models of ecosystem evolution and extinction. Relationship of climate change to extinction. Clams, mussels, and relatives.
Highlights/Expeditions: Effects of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill on shellfish and the food web; thermal spring ecology in Mexico; conodonts of Nevada; mollusks of the southeastern U.S. and Caribbean; bivalves in the Gulf of Thailand; lead curator of Altered State: Climate Change in California exhibit.

Bob Van Syoc
Senior Collections Manager
Invertebrate Zoology & Geology

Specialty: Barnacles. Benthic invertebrates of the Pacific coast.
Highlights/Expeditions: Intertidal and shallow subtidal from San Diego to Mendocino; multi-year surveys of the Channel Islands and Southeast Farallon Island. Other expeditions to Alaska, British Columbia, Baja California, Panama, South Pacific, Philippines, Borneo, Red Sea, Madagascar, Australia, Galapagos Islands, Clipperton Island, and cruises off the California coast to sample shelf and slope fauna.

Gary Williams
Curator and Chair
Invertebrate Zoology & Geology

Specialty: Octocorals: soft corals, sea fans, and sea pens. Coral reefs of the tropical western Pacific.
Highlights/Expeditions: Philippines, Melanesia, Micronesia, Galapagos, Patagonia, sub-Antarctic, Madagascar, Palmyra, southern Africa, Gulf of Guinea.

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Mammalogy

Jack Dumbacher
Associate Curator and Chair
Ornithology & Mammalogy

Specialty: Birds - including chemical defenses and conservation. Elephant-shrews.
Highlights/Expeditions: Biogeographic study of birds in New Guinea. Investigation of toxicity source for poisonous birds. Elephant-shrews in Namibia. Spotted owls in North America.

Read Jack’s Science Hero profile

Moe Flannery
Collections Manager
Ornithology & Mammalogy

Specialty: Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Birds, especially of Southeast Asia.
Highlights/Expeditions: Myanmar 2001; China 2002-2005.

Douglas Long
Research Associate
Ichthyology, Ornithology & Mammalogy

Specialty: Sharks, deep-sea fishes. Marine mammals, especially sea lions. Birds, especially New World vultures.
Highlights/Expeditions: Bioinventories of birds and mammals in Myanmar, China, South Africa, and Sao Tome; revised biogeography of central California mammals; avian conservation in New Zealand.

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Marine Biology

Terry Gosliner
Senior Curator
Invertebrate Zoology & Geology

Specialty: Marine invertebrates, especially sea slugs. California and tropical marine habitats.
Highlights/Expeditions: Philippine coral reefs, Papua New Guinea, Madagascar, Palmyra Atoll, Malaysia, Galapagos. First comprehensive inventory of nudibranchs (sea slugs) along Costa Rica's Pacific coast. Comprehensive guide to 1,400 species of Indo-Pacific nudibranchs.

Read Terry’s Science Hero profile

Douglas Long
Research Associate
Ichthyology, Ornithology & Mammalogy

Specialty: Sharks, deep-sea fishes. Marine mammals, especially sea lions. Birds, especially New World vultures.
Highlights/Expeditions: 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

Specialty: Shark behavior, eels, Galapagos Islands fish, flashlight fish, salmon, and coelacanths. Sustainable seafood choices.
Highlights/Expeditions: Galapagos Island expeditions using submersibles, 1975 Academy coelacanth expedition.

Read John's Science Hero profile 

Rich Mooi
Curator
Invertebrate Zoology & Geology

Specialty: Echinoderms: sea urchins, sea stars, sand dollars, brittlestars, sea cucumbers, and sea lilies
Highlights/Expeditions: 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.

Wallace J. Nichols
Research Associate
Herpetology

Specialty: Sea turtles. Ocean conservation, ocean plastic and pollution.
Highlights/Expeditions: Tracking loggerhead turtles on their migration from Mexico to Japan; assessing turtle bycatch in Baja California; Latin America; Indonesia

Luiz Rocha
Assistant Curator
Ichthyology

Specialty: Coral reef fishes.
Highlights/Expeditions: Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, Polynesia, Micronesia, Caribbean, South America, Africa.

Bob Van Syoc
Senior Collections Manager
Invertebrate Zoology & Geology

Specialty: Barnacles. Benthic invertebrates of the Pacific coast.
Highlights/Expeditions: Intertidal and shallow subtidal from San Diego to Mendocino; multi-year surveys of the Channel Islands and Southeast Farallon Island. Other expeditions to Alaska, British Columbia, Baja California, Panama, South Pacific, Philippines, Borneo, Red Sea, Madagascar, Australia, Galapagos Islands, Clipperton Island, and cruises off the California coast to sample shelf and slope fauna.

Gary Williams
Curator and Chair
Invertebrate Zoology & Geology

Specialty: Octocorals: soft corals, sea fans, and sea pens. Coral reefs of the tropical western Pacific.
Highlights/Expeditions: Philippines, Melanesia, Micronesia, Galapagos, Patagonia, sub-Antarctic, Madagascar, Palmyra, southern Africa, Gulf of Guinea.

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Microbiology

Shannon Bennett
Associate Curator
Microbiology

Specialty: Viruses and bacteria, especially infectious diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans.
Highlights/Expeditions: Studies on dengue, hantavirus, influenza, leptospirosis, mosquito vectors, parasitic roundworms.

Read Shannon’s Science Hero profile

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Ornithology

Jack Dumbacher
Associate Curator and Chair
Ornithology & Mammalogy

Specialty: Birds - including chemical defenses and conservation. Elephant-shrews.
Highlights/Expeditions: Biogeographic study of birds in New Guinea. Investigation of toxicity source for poisonous birds. Elephant-shrews in Namibia. Spotted owls in North America.

Read Jack’s Science Hero profile

Moe Flannery
Collections Manager
Ornithology & Mammalogy

Specialty: Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Birds, especially of Southeast Asia.
Highlights/Expeditions: Myanmar 2001; China 2002-2005.

Douglas Long
Research Associate
Ichthyology, Ornithology & Mammalogy

Specialty: Sharks, deep-sea fishes. Marine mammals, especially sea lions. Birds, especially New World vultures.
Highlights/Expeditions: Bioinventories of birds and mammals in Myanmar, China, South Africa, and Sao Tome; revised biogeography of central California mammals; avian conservation in New Zealand.

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Paleontology

Peter Roopnarine
Curator
Invertebrate Zoology & Geology

Specialty: Models of ecosystem evolution and extinction. Relationship of climate change to extinction. Clams, mussels, and relatives.
Highlights/Expeditions: Effects of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill on shellfish and the food web; thermal spring ecology in Mexico; conodonts of Nevada; mollusks of the southeastern U.S. and Caribbean; bivalves in the Gulf of Thailand; lead curator of Altered State: Climate Change in California exhibit.

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