Our museums will be closed until further notice to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Our first priority is the well-being and safety of our guests, staff and volunteers. Stay up to date with NHMLAC's response to COVID-19.​​​ Nuestros museos estarán cerrados hasta nuevo aviso para minimizar la propagación del COVID-19. Ve la respuesta de NHMLAC ante el coronavirus (COVID-19).

Urban Nature Research Center

In the field with Miguel Ordeñana detecting bats

It may surprise you, but Los Angeles exists inside a “Biodiversity Hotspot,” which is a Conservation International designation for an area with plants and animals that are incredibly diverse, but also under threat. The Urban Nature Research Center's (UNRC) goal is to help to spotlight ways to boost and sustain that biodiversity, and ultimately make L.A. a hospitable place for wildlife—and, by extension, humans—to thrive.

But our scientists need help from all Angelenos. Most of L.A.’s wildlife lives in private property—backyards, schoolyards, the courtyard of your apartment building. Scientists can’t trespass there! UNRC wants to engage the public to collect large amounts of data—data that wouldn’t be possible without community scientists who share their observations with museum researchers by e-mail and through social media. 

 

Our Staff

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Brian Brown, Ph.D.

Dr. Brian V. Brown, head of the Natural History Museum's Entomology Department and Curator of Entomology, has pursued an interest in insects since he was 5, when he created an insect zoo in his backyard in Toronto, Canada.

Greg Pauly, Ph.D.

Dr. Greg Pauly is Curator of Herpetology and Co-director of the Urban Nature Research Center. He studies the natural history, evolution, and conservation of reptiles and amphibians.

Kayce Bell, Ph.D.

Museum collections form a vital component of Kayce's research on mammal and parasite diversity and distribution. She is interested in the processes that lead to new species and how host diversity impacts parasite evolution.

Allison J. Shultz, Ph.D.

Allison is an ornithologist who integrates research across evolutionary timescales to gain an understanding of the processes that produce the patterns of biodiversity.

Jann Vendetti, Ph.D.

Jann Vendetti is NHM’s Twila Bratcher Chair in Malacological Research, and a founding member of the Urban Nature Research Center.

Adam G. Clause, Ph.D.

Adam earned his Ph.D. at the University of Georgia, where he studied how natural history and human dimensions can improve conservation practice for threatened vertebrates in California, Mexico, and Fiji.

Maiz Connolly

Maiz spent countless childhood hours exploring the fields, foothills, and tidepools of Southern California, and has loved natural history for as long as she can remember.

Lisa Gonzalez

Lisa, who joined the BioSCAN project in 2012 as an Assistant Collections Manager, received a B.S. in Entomology from UC Riverside.

Estella Hernandez

Estella received her bachelor’s degree from Whittier College in Biology. Her knowledge and experience pre-BioSCAN come mostly from the healthcare field.

Lila Higgins

Lila is a museum educator with 13 years of experience in museum education and community science programming.