Science Blog

Curatorial Milestones at The Nat

Posted: December 2, 2019

The Museum is delighted to celebrate milestone promotions for two of our long-time curatorial staff members. Phil Unitt in the Birds and Mammals Department and Dr. Brad Hollingsworth in the Herpetology Department were promoted from associate curator to curator in fall 2019.  Read more.


Specimens and resources in our archives are not just of interest for their historical value; they are strikingly relevant today. The Museum is five years into a multi-year project to photograph and digitize every one of the 76,000 specimens in its Herpetology collection, some of which date back to the 1890s. Read more.


The flat-tailed horned lizard has the most limited distribution of any horned lizard species in the United States, and its habitats have been impacted by development, off-road vehicle activity, and more. Using records of where the animal has been observed, coupled with data from the museum’s historic collections, scientists can understand the environmental factors that shape patterns of biodiversity and learn what the lizard needs to survive.  Read more.


Professionally trained researchers can’t be everywhere at all times. Citizen science projects, including one focused on the invasive shot hole borer beetle, provide opportunities for regular people to contribute to science. Read more.


Camp Pendleton retains an incredible amount of biodiversity, including insects and spiders that are critical to ecosystem health. Museum scientists are partnering with the U.S. Marine Corps to study and document them, with the goal of creating a baseline inventory of what lives where. Read more.


Bridges make great bat roosts. But what happens with the bridge is crumbling and needs repair? That’s where our scientists come in. Read more.


Who doesn’t love dune bugs? Our entomologists are studying insects in the dunes of Baja California to gather data that will help inform conservation decisions around these incredibly unique—but potentially threated—ecosystems. Read more.


Museum scientists are taking action to restore California Red-legged Frog habitat in Baja California in response to massive declines in their population. Read more.


Museum scientists go on expeditions to remote areas of the Baja California Peninsula to study and better understand the biological diversity of areas that are not well documented. One such expedition took place in November 2017 in one of Baja California Sur’s most spectacular cardón forests. Read more.


Rediscovering Lost Species

Posted: January 16, 2019

When plants or animals are so rare, we don’t even know if they need protection. So knowing they exist is the first step in conservation. Over the past couple of years, our researchers succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations at rediscovering lost species. Read more.