Profile of Notes from Nature Team Member: Peter Oboyski

Title:   Collections Manager / Curatorial Supervisor

Oboyski_beebeardWhere do you work primarily?   Essig Museum of Entomology, University of California, Berkeley, and field work in California, Hawaii, French Polynesia

What you do in your day job?  I manage the approximately six million arthropod specimens held by the Essig Museum. In addition to curating the collection (sorting, pinning, labeling, identifying, preserving), I interact with specialists around the world providing information and specimen loans (much like a library loans books). My research focuses on the biogeography (species distribution patterns and processes) and phylogeny (evolutionary relationships) of small moths on remote Pacific Islands like Hawaii and Tahiti.

What’s your role with NfN and what do you hope to gain from it?  If relevant, how will your research benefit?   The Essig Museum is part of the CalBug initiative to digitize over one million specimens from eight California institutions. I help to coordinate a team of scientists and undergraduate assistants to image, database, and georeference these specimens. As collections manager, digitizing the Essig Museum collection will greatly aid my ability to provide specimens and data to other scientists. And as a researcher, I will use these digitized data to analyze distribution patterns across time and space in an ever-changing landscape.

What’s the most exciting aspect of citizen science work from your point-of-view?  Not only am I very excited to have all these extra eyes and fingers to help us process hundreds of thousands of records (a job that would otherwise take decades to complete), but I welcome the opportunity to share our knowledge and collections with the citizen science community.

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