Biodiversity Center Staff

Current Staff


Regina Wetzer

Director, MBC

University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, Ph.D. 2000, Biology

MBC, Ground Floor 1914 Building


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.S. 1987, Wildlife Management

MBC, Ground Floor 1914 Building


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, B.F.A. 2011, Fine Arts

MBC, Ground Floor 1914 Building


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.

Staff Alumni


Emma Freeman

2009 – 2011

Curatorial Assistant

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

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 Assistant, Paleocimatology 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

2008 – 2009

Curatorial Assistant

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

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

2002 – 2007

Curatorial Assistant

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

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.


Neftali (Nefty) Camacho

2002 – 2005

Curatorial Assistant

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

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.


Krista Zala

2002 – 2005

Curatorial Assistant

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

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!