Our museums remain closed due to COVID-19. While LA County Public Health has entered Phase 3 of the Roadmap to Recovery, allowing for the reopening of museums on June 12, our museums are still slowly welcoming back staff and are in the process of planning for new health and safety protocols in our galleries and gardens. Therefore, we will not be reopening until later in the summer. Sign up here to be the first to know when we will safely re-open to the public and in the meantime, stay connected from home.

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.
Curator, Entomology and Co-director, Urban Nature Research Center

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.
Curator, Herpetology & Co-director, Urban Nature Research Center

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.
Assistant Curator, Mammalogy (Terrestrial Mammals)

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.
Assistant Curator, Ornithology

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.
Twila Bratcher Chair in Malacological Research & Assistant Curator, Malacology

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.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Herpetology & Urban Nature Research Center

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
Coordinator, Community Science

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
Assistant Collections Manager, Entomology

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

Estella Hernandez
Assistant Collections Manager, Entomology

Estella works on the BioSCAN project and manages students and volunteers who are also involved on the project.

Lila Higgins
Senior Manager, Community Science

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