NHM BioSCAN

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Biodiversity Science:
City and Nature

In 2012, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County launched a new research initiative: NHM Biodiversity Science: City and Nature (NHM BioSCAN). This first-of-its-kind scientific investigation will discover and explore biodiversity in and around one of the world’s largest cities: Los Angeles. In three years of sampling from the urban core right out through less-urban surrounding areas, we will focus on the insects, the most diverse group of animals on our planet.

We will discover and document the diversity of insect species living with us in Los Angeles as well as test intriguing hypotheses about how natural areas around the city affect its biodiversity, and specifically, how light in the urban environment is affecting its inhabitants. NHM BioSCAN will take full advantage of our Museum base by directly engaging the public in the discovery and exploration of their home city.

What we’re doing

We are involved in a broad variety of research and outreach endeavors. Here are some of them:

2014 JunCollaborative MeetingsCollaborative meeting with Geraldine Knatz (USC and ex-Director, Port of LA)
2014 JunCollaborative OutreachFirst Friday — Bee tour
2014 JunCollaborative OutreachNaturalist — Upcoming article on bees in L.A. (in preparation)
2014 JunCollaborative OutreachBiodiversity seminar to Education staff for E&E
2014 JunFundingSecured $18,500 research fellowship funding from USC
2014 JunLab/Staff DevelopmentLab outing to Pt. Fermin intertidal
2014 JunOutreachAndrea Thomer (UIUC) re specimen and collection database research
2014 JunOutreachPrinceton intern Cordelia Xie starts working with BioSCAN for the summer
2014 JunResearchHost D. Jenerette (UCR) for landscape ecology collaboration with BioSCAN
2014 MayCollaborative OutreachBug Fair — Ant theme, using cast-metal ant nest
2014 MayCollaborative OutreachNaturalist — Article on BioSCAN student workers
2014 MayOutreachCalifornia Report (KQED) on BioSCAN project and site hosts
2014 MayOutreachEducational presentation at Carthay (school) Science Fair
2014 MayOutreachVideo-documented expedition casting ant nests in molten aluminum
2014 MayResearchHost B. Krishnamachari’s lab (USC Viterbi Engineering) on sensor networks
2014 MayResearchHost Dave Caron’s lab (USC) on LA River-oriented biodiversity research
2014 MayResearchStudent talks at Southern California Academy of Sciences (CSU CI)
2014 AprCollaborative MeetingsB. Brown and G. Pauly meeting with Nature Conservancy
2014 AprCollaborative OutreachScavenger Safari — Public tours every 30 minutes
2014 AprFundingPrivately funded expedition to make an aluminum cast of an ant nest
2014 AprFundingReleased BioSCAN promotional book for site hosts
2014 AprOutreachPressPlay (KCRW) on BioSCAN
2014 AprOutreachSuperQuark (Italian documentary) interviews and filming
2014 AprOutreachSanta Monica Mountains Science Festival
2014 AprOutreachSite Scientist Soirée (including media coverage)
2014 AprResearchFirst scientific paper from project submitted: Brown, BV and Hartop, E. Recognition of Megaselia arizonensis (Malloch), a common, western North American phorid fly (Diptera: Phoridae). Contributions in Science
2014 AprResearchGeneral article about BioSCAN submitted: Brown, BV and Borkent, A. New types of inventories at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. American Entomologist
2014 AprResearchStudents at Undergraduate Symposium for Scholarly & Creative Work (USC)
2014 MarCollaborative OutreachBioSCAN-in-the-Nature-Lab training for docents/GIs (second session) for E&E
2014 MarCollaborative OutreachNature Lab/Nature Garden insect training for docents/GIs for E&E
2014 MarFundingIssued BioSCAN promotional book for donors
2014 MarLab/Staff DevelopmentLab outing to Wilder Annex shoreline, San Pedro
2014 MarOutreachInitiated BioSCAN Facebook group
2014 MarOutreachJohn Adams Magnet School educational visit
2014 MarOutreachMuscatel Middle School teaching visit
2014 MarOutreachUSC C-DEBI program community college student group visit to NHM
2014 MarResearchAssembled and tested molecular lab facility in Collaboratory
2014 MarResearchCouncil for Watershed Health: adopting protocols, invitation to speak at ESA
2014 FebCollaborative MeetingsFestival of Books planning (insect-themed)
2014 FebCollaborative MeetingsInitial collaborative meeting (with E&E) at L.A. Biohackers Lab
2014 FebCollaborative OutreachAdam Wall addresses Alliance Board
2014 FebCollaborative OutreachBioSCAN-in-the-Nature-Lab training for docents/GIs (first session) for E&E
2014 FebCollaborative OutreachEducation outreach for two schools via E&E (awaiting follow up from E&E)
2014 FebLab/Staff DevelopmentUCLA La Kretz Center BioSCAN retreat (3 days)
2014 FebOutreachRegina Wetzer addresses USC Biodiversity Seminar group on BioSCAN
2014 JanCollaborative MeetingsLost Ladybird engagement on iNaturalist platform migration for E&E
2014 JanCollaborative MeetingsNature Conservancy partnership
2014 JanCollaborative OutreachNaturalist — Article on NightWatch
2014 JanCollaborative OutreachDean Pentcheff (and Greg Pauly) address NHM All-Staff Meeting
2014 JanOutreachBioSCAN undergraduates present R&C seminar
2014 JanOutreachOfframp (KPCC) piece aired on ant-decapitating flies
2014 JanOutreachUC Irvine collaborates to use BioSCAN sorting as the sole lab in UCI Intro Bio
2014 JanResearch(Through March) Continue hosting UCLA undergraduates studying insect traps
2014 JanResearchNSF population genetics preproposal submitted with USC, UPenn, Stanford
2013 DecCollaborative MeetingsBehavioral robotics with Ian Ingram for E&E
2013 DecCollaborative OutreachBegin Lost Ladybird collaboration with E&E (awaiting follow up from E&E)
2013 DecCollaborative OutreachDean Pentcheff (and Greg Pauly) address NHM Board Content Committee
2013 DecCollaborative OutreachDean Pentcheff presents at Brown Bag Luncheon for E&E
2013 DecCollaborative OutreachNature Lab insect exhibit reconstruction for E&E
2013 DecFundingSecured $95,000 funding (renewal) from The Seaver Institute
2013 DecLab/Staff DevelopmentLab outing to Pt. Fermin intertidal
2013 DecResearchHosted USC/NHM post-499-course conference
2013 NovCollaborative MeetingsNature Conservancy partnership
2013 NovLab/Staff DevelopmentBehind-the-scenes tour at CA Science Center
2013 NovOutreachUSC C-DEBI program community college student group visit to NHM
2013 NovResearch(Through December) Host UCLA undergraduates studying insect traps
2013 OctCollaborative MeetingsGreat Sunflower Project collaborative meeting for E&E
2013 OctCollaborative MeetingsLA River DEIR/DEIS response meeting
2013 OctCollaborative OutreachHaunted Museum — BioSCAN participation
2013 OctCollaborative OutreachCalifornia Science Teacher’s Conference meeting presentation with E&E
2013 OctCollaborative OutreachMiguel Ordeñana to Renwick BioSCAN site for camera trap
2013 OctCollaborative OutreachNature Lab insect exhibit reconstruction for E&E
2013 OctCollaborative OutreachSchoolyard Wildlife teacher workshop for E&E
2013 OctLab/Staff DevelopmentLab outing to Cabrillo Aquarium
2013 OctOutreachTeaching at Children’s Nature Institute
2013 OctResearchB. Brown delivers Plenary Lecture at Entomological Society of Canada
2013 SepCollaborative MeetingsBechtel grant participation for E&E
2013 SepCollaborative OutreachEducator Open House for E&E
2013 SepOutreachMarit Wilkerson (UC Davis) re environmentally influential organizations
2013 AugCollaborative MeetingsHeidi Ballard to assess Citizen Science for E&E
2013 AugCollaborative MeetingsMeeting to assess BioSCAN and Nature Lab for E&E
2013 AugCollaborative OutreachCurator’s Cupboard — Urban biodiversity theme
2013 AugLab/Staff DevelopmentLab outing to Cabrillo Aquarium
2013 AugOutreachNightWatch citizen participation project
2013 AugOutreachHosted Keck volunteers at NHM
2013 AugResearch(Through December) Managed and hosted USC/NHM course 499: Hands-On Research at the NHM
2013 JulCollaborative MeetingsCitizen Science with Ian Owens and Justin Marshall of NHM (London)
2013 JulCollaborative OutreachAdventures in Nature — 3rd–4th grade educational tour
2013 JulCollaborative OutreachNaturalist — Article on BioSCAN startup