The Dune Team is rag tag group of researchers, students, and volunteers from both sides of the border. In addition to the team featured below, the project is dependent upon scores of volunteers that sort samples from our collection efforts. Furthermore, the project would not be possible without the collaboration of colleagues and partners throughout North America.
Dr. Natalia Rodriguez Revelo is a biologist who received her degree at the Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM-Xochimilco) in Mexico City. She works at the San Diego Natural History Museum as a CONACYT-Mexico postdoctoral fellow. She has been working in a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary manner for 10 years in the coastal dunes of the Baja California Peninsula. She is currently developing the project on the entomological study of the coastal dunes of the Baja California Peninsula as a baseline for the management of ecosystems; this is the first project that will generate entomological information for this ecosystem. The research focuses on knowing the entomological diversity of the coastal dunes of the Baja California Peninsula in order to identify sites of endemism or hot spots for the conservation and proper management of the ecosystem.
Dr. Michael Wall has served as the curator of entomology at the San Diego Natural History Museum for the past 14 years. Like many museum professionals, he wears many hats and since 2008, he has also served as vice president of science and conservation. Michael got his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Botany at Auburn University before converting to the dark side of entomology for his PhD at University of Connecticut. While working on his PhD, he received a Fulbright Fellowship to study at the Australian Museum in Sydney, where he returned for a post-doc prior to coming to San Diego.
Le Roy Anthony Sankey Alamilla recently completed his Bachelor's degree in Environmental Sciences at the Faculty of Marine Sciences at the Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC). He is a myrmecologist and part of the dune team at the San Diego Natural History Museum. He has been sampling the coastal dunes of Baja California while completing his thesis entitled, "The diversity of ants in different plant communities in the coastal dunes of Punta Mazo, San Quintin," under the supervision of Dr. Natalia Rodriguez Revelo and Dr. Michael Wall. In addition to being a critical part of the dune field team, he also works together with his partner and colleague, Christian Zárate Baizathe, in the laboratory to sort and identify ants from the project.
Christian Zarate Baiza is a student of the Environmental Sciences degree at the Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC). A Geographical Information Systems technician and enthusiastic myrmecologist, Christian began working with the coastal dunes team of the entomology department of the San Diego Museum of Natural History along with his colleague, Le Roy Sankey Alamilla. Recruited to the project while taking a class with Dr. Natalia Rodríguez Revelo, Christian has been traveling the coastal dunes of the Baja California Peninsula working on a comparative analysis of the ant fauna.
Jim retired as a Field Entomologist at the Nat in early 2019. In a previous life, Jim was a high school science teacher who inspired many to pursue careers in natural history. A self-taught arachnologist, Jim's name is synonymous with spiders in southern California and the peninsula of Baja California. He has published multiple reports of new records from the region and co-authored a paper describing a new species and genus of "cave-dwelling" spider from Baja California Sur. Jim continues to volunteer at the Nat and is currently working on identifying the spiders from the dune project.
Lyle has been volunteering at the Nat since 2017, curating the long-neglected collection of Diptera (flies). He is a Board Certified Medical and Urban Entomologist. In addition to the joining the dune team in the field, Lyle has been working on developing a synthesis of the Calliphoridae (blow flies) of the peninsula of Baja California.