BE ADVISED: On Saturday, April 20 and Sunday, April 21, nearby events at Exposition Park and the University of Southern California will impact traffic, parking, and wayfinding in the area. Please consider riding the Metro E (Expo) Line and exiting at USC/Expo station.

carolina Avila putting up trap

Understanding Nature & Los Angeles Biodiversity

Understanding Nature and Los Angeles Biodiversity (UNLAB) through museum collections and field-based research is an NSF-funded post-baccalaureate training program based in the Research & Collections Department at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC). This program will host three cohorts of mentees in a 1-year research and professional preparation program working with NHMLAC curators as mentors. UNLAB is funded through the National Science Foundation’s Research and Mentoring for Post-baccalaureates in Biological Sciences (RaMP) program.

For each cohort year, 8–12 participants will be hired for this apprenticeship-style experience, running from July through the following June. NHMLAC curators serve as the supervisors and mentors for UNLAB participants, along with co-mentors from other regional institutions and agencies. Each mentee will develop a specific research project that explores the history of Los Angeles biodiversity or the impact of humans and urbanization on Los Angeles biodiversity. Research projects can include working with specimens in collections, field trips (day or overnight trips), microscopy, species identification, and more. With their mentors, all participants will gain experience analyzing data, drawing conclusions, writing a manuscript for publication, and presenting research findings at a professional conference. In addition to conducting and presenting their research, mentees will participate in professional development activities and have opportunities to learn more about museum and research careers. Most activities will be at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in Exposition Park in Los Angeles, though at least one research project every year will be based at and focus on the Rancho La Brea collection at the La Brea Tar Pits Museum in Hancock Park, and another will be based part time at the Invertebrate Paleontology facility in nearby Carson. 




Students doing fossil prep in the VP lab
Students Ponding in NHM Nature Gardens
Student Working on Dino Hall Fossil Display

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