Biodiversity Center Staff


Jenessa Wall — Assistant Collections Manager

University of California, Santa Cruz, CA (B.Sc. 2014)

Email:   Location: Marine Biodiversity Center, Ground Floor

Summer 2014 – present: Marine Biodiversity Center staff

2013 – Summer 2014: Marine Biodiversity Center intern

2013 – Summer 2014: BioSCAN intern

Summer 2011 – Summer 2012: NSF Decapoda intern

Summer 2011 – Summer 2012: Marine Biodiversity Center intern

Jenessa graduated with a Bachelors in Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2014. During her undergraduate years she spent summers working in the Marine Biodiversity Center curating the marine invertebrate collections and helping to build the Tree of Life: Decapoda database of digitized taxonomic reprints. Jenessa returned to the lab as Assistant Collections Manager in 2014 where she curates and maintains the collections.


Adam Wall — Assistant Collections Manager

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

Email:   Location: Marine Biodiversity Center, Ground Floor

2008 – 2011: NSF Decapoda student

2008 – 2011: Marine Biodiversity Center student

2011 – present: Marine Biodiversity Center staff

Adam is a junior and is currently majoring in Biology as a precursor to graduate work in Medicine. He had his first research experience in high school when he joined NASA’s Micro Robot Explorer Project at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as an Intern Roboticist. In college, he continued working on the Spiderbot Project as well as other robotic projects as a private contractor for JPL and as a Blue Sky Robotics intern. After transferring to USC, his scientific interests have focused on the biological sciences, and he is enjoying working with Crustacea and MBPC team members to make literature and new collections available to the scientific community.


Regina Wetzer — Assistant Curator, Marine Biodiversity Center Director, BioSCAN Project Co-PI

University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC (Ph.D. 2000)

Major: Biology

Email:   Phone: 213-763-3217   Location: Marine Biodiversity Center, Ground Floor

2013 – present: BioSCAN staff

2002 – present: Marine Biodiversity Center staff

Collections Management Consultant for San Diego Natural History Museum, 1993.

Senior Collections Manager, Department of Marine Invertebrates, San Diego Natural History Museum, 1987-1993.

Collections Manager, Invertebrate Section, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History Museum, 1985-1987.

Morphological and molecular crustacean systematist. Invertebrate taxonomist.

Relational database design for museum collections, laboratory information management systems, and bibliographic inventories. Extensive experience in database development, construction, and analysis.

Curriculum Vitæ, Projects, & Reprints


Kathy Omura — Collections Manager

University of Alaska, Fairbanks (B.Sc. 1987)

Major: Wildlife Management

Email:   Phone: 213-763-3386   Location: Marine Biodiversity Center, Ground Floor

2001 – present: Marine Biodiversity Center staff

2013 – present: BioSCAN staff

Laboratory Supervisor, Department of Zoology, University of Hawaii-Manoa.

Laboratory Technician, Institute of Marine Science, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska-Fairbanks.

Benthic invertebrate sample processing, curation, identification, and taxonomy.

Extensive invertebrate taxonomic experience with emphasis on polychaete worms.

Training and supervision of students and laboratory assistants.

Quality control of data entry and taxonomic identifications.



Phyllis Sun — Assistant Collections Manager

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA (B.F.A. 2011)

Major: Fine Arts

Email:   Phone: 213-763-3386   Location: Marine Biodiversity Center, Ground Floor

Fall 2008 – 2011: Marine Biodiversity Center student

2011 – 2014: Marine Biodiversity Center staff

2013 – 2014: BioSCAN staff

Phyllis earned a Bachelors in Fine Arts from the University of Southern California's Roski School of Fine Arts, emphasizing photography, drawing, and design. While at USC, she worked for the Marine Biodiversity Center, photographing specimens and assisting with the start up of a photographic database for the Malacology and Invertebrate Paleontology collections. Phyllis joined the Marine Biodiversity Center as staff in 2011, where she helps curate and database specimens. Phyllis hopes to continue her interest in curation and conservation.



Emma Freeman — Curatorial Assistant

University of of Southern California, B.A. 2009, Environmental Studies

Fall 2009 – Summer 2011: Marine Biodiversity Center staff

Administrative Assistant, Dinosaur Institute, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Research Assistant, Alcohol and Brain Lab, School of Pharmacy, University of Southern California.

Student, Paleoclimatology Lab, University of Southern California.

Emma enjoys learning about the great diversity of marine invertebrates and all their weird ways. She loves natural history museums.



Kris Netchy — Curatorial Assistant

University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, B.S. 2004, Zoologyg

Summer 2008 – Summer 2009: Marine Biodiversity Center staff

Research and Field Assistant, University of Guam Marine Laboratory, 2006-2008.

Research Assistant and Molecular Lab Technician, Florida Museum of Natural History, 2005-2006.

Collections Assistant, Florida Museum of Natural History, 2003-2006.

Marine invertebrate taxonomy, particularly knowledgeable regarding tropical aspidochirote holothurians.

Marine invertebrate evolution, speciation, and biogeography.

I absolutely love learning about all aspects of marine invertebrate biodiversity and natural history through curation and observation of live organisms in the field!



Darolyn Striley — Curatorial Assistant

University of California Los Angeles, Westwood, California, B.A. 2002, Women's Studies

2002 – 2007: Marine Biodiversity Center staff

Darolyn worked for our Museum as Curatorial Assistant in the Crustacea Department where she helped move the University of Southern California Allan Hancock Foundation collection. She coordinated volunteers and workstudy students into a team who helped shelve in taxonomic order the 100,000+ lot collection. She enjoys sorting and identifying invertebrates and encountering specimens in the field, like this ocypodid crab in Huatulco, Mexico, which seconds later took a chunk off her finger.



Krista Zala — Curatorial Assistant

University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, B.S. 2001, Biology and Women’s Studies

2002 – 2005: Marine Biodiversity Center staff

While spending weekends on the shores around Vancouver Island, Canada, Krista developed a great fascination for intertidal creatures and seaweeds. In field courses while working on her undergraduate degree at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Center (BMSC), she studied the morphological diversity of Macrocystis intergrifolia, used fitness models to predict brooding and broadcast spawning in benthic invertebrates, and studied dialect change in killer whales. She has worked as a nature interpreter, a research assistant at BMSC, and as a public educator at The Land Conservancy of British Columbia. Now that she's in L.A., the MBPC has her surrounded by marine snails — let's hope she can outrun them!


Neftali (Nefty) Camacho — Curatorial Assistant

California State Polytechnic, Pomona, California, B.S. 2002, Zoology

2002 – 2005: Marine Biodiversity Center staff

Teaching Assistant, Invertebrate Zoology, Cal Poly Pomona, 2000-2002.

Laboratory Assistant, Entomology, Cal Poly Pomona, 2000-2002.

Research Assistant, Entomology, Cal Poly Pomona, 2000-2001.

General marine invertebrate curation, identification, and taxonomy. Experience in identification and curation of insect families both terrestrial and aquatic. Field research experience capturing and identifying Hymenopterans (bees, wasps).

Nefty’s interests are phylogeny and social animal behavior. His fascination in phylogeny stems from his interests in family trees, figuring out where organisms came from and how they changed over time. His interest in animal social behavior is rooted from observing his flock of pet guinea hens interacting with one another. He hopes his work adds to the preservation and knowledge of our natural world.



Phil Hoover — Curatorial Assistant

2001 – 2002: Marine Biodiversity Center staff

Invertebrate survey sample processing.