Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

NOTE: As of 2014, the California Beetle Project page is no longer updated. The original database and list of California beetles in the menu on the left will remain for the time being, but the information contained within is not necessarily current. SBMNH Entomology Curator Matthew L. Gimmel has divided up the function of the original database into two conceptual halves:

  1. The SBMNH Entomology specimen-level database, including all SBMNH beetle specimens included in the CBP database, which is now available (and ever-growing) through the ecdysis portal at

  2. A literature- (and available specimen-)based checklist.
  3. of the Coleoptera of California, which is being revised and re-compiled by Dr. Gimmel, and, as of January 2017, is about 85% complete.

    • Home/Overview
    • Checklists
    • Database
    • Fieldwork
    • Phylogeography
    • Photo Gallery
    • Species pages
    • Endangered beetles
    • Personnel
    • Informatics
    • Collaborators
    • Collection
    • Bibliography
    • Support the project
    • Beetle links

Funded in part by award DEB0447694 from the National Science Foundation to M. Caterino.

Last updated 01/16/2009

  California Beetle Project > Personnel


Postdoc - Dr. Maxi Polihronakis. Maxi joined the lab in May 2008, and will be developing nuclear markers to examine correspondence of nuclear and mitochondrial signal in intraspecific studies of several species. These include some of significant ecological interest, including one parthenogenetic species and one with flightless, larviform females.

TEEN Assistants - Colin Ristig & Rohun Heesen. Colin & Rohun are veteran participants of the Museum's Quasars to Seastars program. They form the project's specimen prep team.

VOLUNTEERS - This project also relies on dedicated volunteers, who donate their valuable time:

Ben Hitz. Ben is our premier literature record extractor. He has spent many hours poring over old journals for any California beetle records. He has already done Pan-Pacific Entomologist, Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, and Coleopterists Bulletin, as well as many non-serial monographs. Through his work we have added over 20,000 published records to the project database, and the bibliography also owes much to his efforts.

This project's many upwardly mobile students have a way of moving on too quickly. We thank many who have helped in the past.

Postdoc - Dr. Stylianos Chatzimanolis. Stelios worked with the project from November 2005-December 2008. His contributions included phylogeographic studies of several beetle species, including comparative studies of several coastal taxa. He is now on the faculty of the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga

Visit Stelios's current website

Postdoc - Dr. Andrew Short. During his time with the California Beetle Project (October 2007-April 2008), Andrew Short carried out a comparative study of freshwater beetles in running water, examining predictive properties of environmental factors as determinants of phylogeographic structure.

Visit Andrew's current website

Curatorial Assistant - Chris Martin. Chris joined the project in June 2006, recently having obtained his biology degree from UCSB. He helped specimen preparation, imaging, and molecular work.

Curatorial Assistant - Rachel Weber. Rachel recently graduated from UC Davis, and helped with specimen preparation, and ispent considerable time imaging for species pages.

Imaging specialist - Daniel Johnson. Daniel Johnson helped to image many beautiful beetles. See the species pages for examples of his work.

Data Entry specialist - Jackie Scott. Jackie was an undergraduate at Westmont College. She assisted with everything from databasing (her primary responsibility) to specimen preparation and species page writing.

Curatorial Assistant - Marina Herrera Marina first worked with the project as a summer 'Quasar', working two years afterward capturing literature records for the project database. Her Quasar project built species pages for some conspicuous local blister beetles (Meloidae - sample Lytta species page). She has now left to attend Dominican University in the Bay Area.

DNA lab and curatorial assistant - Gretchen Betzholtz. Gretchen recently graduated from Santa Barbara High School. She joined the project in the fall of 2006, and assisted with molecular work, specimen preparation and literature record capture.

Curatorial Assistant - Natalie Rossington. Natalie worked as a volunteer, and then paid assistant with the project, helping with specimen preparation, and especially with specimen photography. Many of her shots are on view on our species pages.

Curatorial Assistant - Sinead Borchert. Sinead is a biology major at UCSB. She worked with the project during the summer of 2007, as an exceptional specimen preparator.

Science writer - Maren Farnum. Maren worked on text for many of our species pages.

QUASARS TO SEASTARS, 2007. The 2007 Quasar class included two high school students, Nathaniel Block and Karla Lara. They specialized in Scarabaeidae and Histeridae, respectively, and contributed photographs and text for several species pages, as well as DNA sequences for our phylogenetic projects. Below we prepare to depart Santa Cruz Island, with supervisors Chatzimanolis and Caterino (right center and far right).

QUASARS TO SEASTARS, 2006. The 2006 Quasar class included three high school students, each learning to recognize and identify members of important California beetle families. Their work resulted in a number of new species pages for tenebrionid, hydrophilid, and staphylinid beetles. The participants included (left to right, below) Zoe Walp, Erika Bildsten, and Rameen Zarrinnaal.

Four high school students worked with the project during the summer of 2005 to help sort, identify, photograph and write species pages for some attractive local beetle genera. These students (and their respective taxa) are:

Beatriz Alvarez
(Carabidae: Lebia).
(sample Lebia species page)

Vanessa Gamero
(Chrysomelidae: Cryptocephalus).
(sample Cryptocephalus species page)

David Honsberger
(Carabidae: Brachinus).
(Brachinus species page)

(More on the Quasars to Sea Stars Program)

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