Project Team


The ZADBI project is a collaboration of over 50 scientists, 6 technical staff, some students, and others, all working to understand fly diversity at a single cloud forest site.

Main Staff

Main Staff


Brian V. Brown, Principal Investigator

Curator of Entomology, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Brian V. Brown is Curator of Entomology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. In 1990, he obtained his doctorate at the University of Alberta in Canada, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution and University of Maryland. An author of two books, as well as numerous scientific papers, he has conducted research in many parts the world, but especially tropical rainforests. There, he studies phorid flies, especially those parasitic species known as ant-decapitating flies and bee-killing flies. He is also interested in faunal inventories, as well as fossil phorid flies in amber.

Art Borkent, Co-Principal Investigator

Research Associate of the Royal British Columbia Museum, AMNH, and INBio

Art Borkent is a world expert on the systematics of Ceratopogonidae (biting midges, no-see-ums), Corethrellidae (frog-biting midges), and Chaoboridae (phantom midges) and has broad interests in the phylogenetic relationships of other nematocerous Diptera at the family level. Working independently since 1989, he has authored or coauthored 100 publications (over 3400 pages of science) and contributed to numbers of websites. His research encompasses worldwide faunas, every life stage, as well as the remarkable fossil record in amber (including dinosaur biting no-see-ums in Canadian amber). He has travelled extensively in the New and Old World tropics in pursuit of these fascinating flies and has been studying Costa Rican Diptera since 1993.


Anna Holden, Project Manager

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Anna holds a background in biology and education and has worked on other entomological inventories. For this project, she supports field work, specimen preparation, identification and curation, associated research, and outreach education. Anna’s other projects focus on Pleistocene paleoentomology.

Costa Rica Team

Costa Rica Team

Manuel Zumbado

Head of Inventory

Manuel is a Costa Rican entomologist specializing in Diptera. He has published several scientific papers, an educational game, and a field guide to the flies of Costa Rica.

Carlos Viquez

Head of Arthropods

Carlos researches arachnids in Costa Rica and Central America, especially groups like scorpions, tarantulas whip scorpions and others.


Wendy Porras

Wendy leads ZADBI field work and also sorts and prepares specimens. Wendy has proudly worked at INBio for seven years; she started as parataxonomist specializing in Coleoptera for four years, and in 2007, contributed to a nation-wide project to collect all insect orders. In 2007, she began collecting Phoridae for collaborative projects with Dr. Brian V. Brown (LACM).


Carolina Avila

Carolina began her work at INBio as a parataxonomist for ZADBI. She identifies flies to family-level, mounts specimens, and manages the project database. She also organizes the lab, reports on progress, and helps coordinate loans. Carolina is very pleased and supportive of ZADBI because she believes that it enriches her scientific knowledge.


Marco Moraga

During the 18 years that Marco has worked as a parataxonomist at INBio, he has supported 12 different projects, including the Darwin Initiative Projects in Costa Rica and Panama. He currently performs field and laboratory work for ZADBI. These dual roles have greatly enriched his experience in entomology.


Annia Picado

Annia has been a parataxonomist at INBio since 1995. For the National Biodiversity Inventory in Amistad Pacífico Conservation area, she helped curate a Diptera collection, and specialized Ceratopogonidae slide-making, as well as worked with several taxonomic groups for DNA research. She is currently identifies flies to family level and applies her extensive experience to ZADBI slide-making.


Elena Ulate

Elena has worked in entomology at INBio for 22 years. She specialized in Coleoptera and the preparation of specimens of several taxonomic groups for DNA research. For ZADBI, she creates specimen slides, and identifies fly families. Elena is pleased to support a project like ZADBI, which expands her background in entomology.

Elvia Zumbado



Peter Adler

Clemson University, USA

Dr. Adler’s research is focused on the behavior, ecology, genetics, and systematics of black flies (Simuliidae). His current research projects on the Simuliidae include global and local biodiversity assessments, cytogenetics, taxonomic revisions, phylogenetic inference, symbiotic associations, and interactions with endangered wildlife.

Dalton Amorim

Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil

Dr. Amorim researches the phylogeny of Diptera, especially families of Bibionomorpha and Psychodomorpha. He also studies morphology and homology in Diptera, especially thorax, mouthparts, wing venation and male terminalia. He focuses on the biogeography of the Neotropical region and relationships between faunas in different regions.

Stephanie Boucher

Lyman Entomological Museum, Quebec, Canada

Dr. Boucher studies systematics, taxonomy and ecology of Diptera, especially leaf-miner flies (Agromyzidae).

John Burger

University of New Hampshire, USA

Dr. Burger is a ZADBI collaborator with expertise in Tabanidae.

Alessandre Colavite

Universidade Federal do Paraná, Brazil

Dr. Colavite is a ZADBI collaborator with expertise in Neriidae.

Greg Courtney

Iowa State University, USA

Dr. Courtney focuses on insect systematics and aquatic entomology, with emphasis on the systematics and ecology of aquatic Diptera. His focus groups include Blephariceridae, Ptychopteridae and Tanyderidae.

Jeff Cumming

Invertebrate Biodiversity, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Dr. Cumming is a ZADBI collaborator with expertise in Empididae.

Gregory Curler

Department of Entomology, Purdue University, USA

Dr. Curler’s research interests center on the systematics of Psychodidae, including extant and fossil taxa.

Carl Dick

Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, USA

Dr. Dick specializes in Streblidae and Nycteribiidae (Hippoboscoidea), which are obligate, blood-feeding ectoparasites of bats. He is particularly interested in faunal biodiversity surveys, taxonomy, and ecological and evolutionary associations between bat flies and their chiropteran hosts.

John Epler

Independent, USA

Dr. John Epler’s specialties are Chironomidae systematics on a world-wide basis, but especially North and South America, and Africa; and water beetle systematics for the families Scirtidae, Dytiscidae and Noteridae, of North and Central America.

Eric Fisher

Independent, USA

Dr. Fisher is a specialist on robber flies, Asilidae and authored the chapter on this family in the Manual of Central American Diptera. He is formerly a Senior Insect Biosystematist for the California Department of Food and Agriculture. While Dr. Fisher is retired, he is still active in chasing and studying robber flies — especially Neotropical ones.

Stephen Gaimari

Plant Pest Diagnostics Center, California Department of Food & Agriculture, USA

Dr. Gaimari’s research focuses on the taxonomy and systematics of acalyptrate Diptera, particularly Lauxanioidea (Lauxaniidae, Chamaemyiidae, Celyphidae) and Odiniidae, as well as certain asiloid families such as Therevidae and Scenopinidae.

Jon Gelhaus

Drexel University,Pennsylvania, USA

Dr. Gelhaus is a ZADBI collaborator with expertise in Tipulidae. facultyDirectory/Gelhaus

David Grimaldi

American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA

Dr. Grimaldi’s research spans 400 million years of insect evolution, and includes studies on the exquisite preservation of fossil flies and other arthropods in amber. He focuses on revisionary systematics on Drosophilidae, with more emphasis on the Neotropical fauna.

Paul Hanson

Universidad de Costa Rica

Dr. Hanson is a professor in the Biology Department at the Universidad de Costa Rica. His main research interests are in the systematics and biology of microhymenopterans. For ZADBI, Dr. Hanson is supervising projects being carried out by students from the Universidad de Costa Rica.

John Hash

UC Riverside, California, USA

John Hash’s research interests are focused on systematics and natural history of scuttle flies (Phoridae). His current project includes revising the millipede-parasitic genus Myriophora and studying how these flies are able to locate their millipede hosts.

Heikki Hippa

Drexel University,Pennsylvania, USA

Dr. Hippa is a ZADBI collaborator with expertise in Sciaridae.

Sergio Ibáñez-Bernal

Instituto de Ecología, Veracruz, Mexico

Dr. Ibáñez-Bernal studies medical and veterinary entomology, systematics, taxonomy and ecology of some families of Diptera including Psychodidae, Tabanidae, Ropalomeridae, Culicidae, Simuliidae, Ceratopogonidae, as well as, other insects of medical importance. He has been involved in the Veracruz State Program of Climate Change.

Mathias Jaschhof

Independent, based in Greifswald, Germany

Since 1992, Dr. Jaschhof has worked on various families of fungus gnat-like flies (Sciaroidea), with a main focus on non-phytophagous gall midges (Cecidomyiidae).

Peter Kerr

California State Collection of Arthropods, USA

Dr. Kerr focuses is on the diversity and classification of Diptera, particularly fungus gnats (Diptera: Sciaroidea). He has published on California fungus gnats (Kerr, 2007, 2010a, 2011), a monograph of Rhagionidae (Brachycera; Kerr, 2010b), and techniques for imaging insects (Kerr et al., 2007).

Valery Korneyev

Schmalhausen Institute of Zoology, National Academy of Sciences of the Ukraine

Dr. Korneyev is a ZADBI collaborator with expertise in Ulidiidae.

Cheslavo A. Korytkowski

University of Panama

Dr. Korytkowski is mainly interersted in Diptera Muscomorpha. For ZADBI, he is our collaborator with expertise in Lonchaeidae.

Gunnar Kvifte

University Museum of Bergen, University of Bergen, Norway

Gunnar Kvifte’s main research interests are in the systematics of world Psychodidae, especially subfamily Psychodinae, and study of Diptera communities, speciation and phylogeography through DNA barcoding. He has worked on several international projects, including in karstic Croatia, subarctic Northern Norway and tropical Uganda.

Carlos Lamas

Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil

Dr. Lamas is a ZADBI collaborator with expertise in Bombyliidae.

Owen Lonsdale

Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids & Nematodes

Dr. Lonsdale specializes in dipteran biodiversity, particularly systematics of druid flies (Clusiidae). Subsequent studies at the Smithsonian and CDFA include bioinformatics, cataloging, and work on a number of other families, especially leaf-mining flies (Agromyzidae).

Steve Marshall

University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Marshall’s main interests are in acalyptrate taxonomy, especially Micropezidae, Sphaeroceridae, Heleomyzidae, Curtonotidae and Pseudopomyzidae, but also several other groups including Neriidae, Psilidae, and Syringogastridae.

Wayne Mathis

Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C., USA

Dr. Mathis is a ZADBI collaborator with expertise in Ephydridae and other families of acalyptrate Diptera.

Verner Michelsen

Danish Natural History Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark

Dr. Michelsen’s research is mainly on taxonomy and phylogeny of anthomyiid flies worldwide. He is also a taxonomic specialist of European Muscidae, Fanniidae and Scathophagidae.

Allen L. Norrbom

Entomology Laboratory, USDA, at the National Museum of Natural History

Dr. Norrbom researched the systematics and natural history of Tephritidae, particularly New World fauna.
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Thomas Pape

Natural History Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark

Dr. Pape’s research aims at generating knowledge about the taxonomy, systematics and evolution of those 10% of the planetary biota classified as Diptera. My taxonomic research is mainly done on the non-tachinid families of the oestroid calyptrates, and in particular on Sarcophagidae and Rhinophoridae.

Marc Pollet

Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO), Belgium

Dr. Pollet’s scientific activities are situated within the fields of entomology and biodiversity, with a focus on Dolichopodidae. His current research topics encompass about all possible aspects of this group including taxonomy, systematics, morphological and molecular phylogeny, ecology, zoogeography, role in nature conservation.

Sabrina Rochefort

McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Sabrina is a graduate student studying the taxonomy, phylogeny and ecology of Piophilidae.

Carlos, lupa y mosca

Carlos de la Rosa

OTS, La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica

Dr. de la Rosa is an aquatic ecologist and conservation biologist, with interests in tropical freshwater ecosystems and phytotelmata. He is particularly fascinated with the pupal exuviae of the family Chironomidae as a focal life stage for taxonomic surveys. He is the director of the La Selva Biological Station in northern Costa Rica.

Alessandra Rung

Senior Insect Biosystematist, Plant Pest Diagnostics Branch, California Department of Food & Agriculture

Studies Aulacigastridae and Periscelididae for ZADBI.

Jade Savage

Bishop’s University, Canada

Dr. Savage’s research focus is primarily on the systematics and ecology of muscoid Diptera, especially the Muscidae and Anthomyiidae.

Vera Silva

Univ Estadual Paulista, São Paulo, Brazil

Dr. Silva has been an active dipterist for many years. Her particular interests are in the systematics of the dipteran families Lauxaniidae and Sepsidae from the Neotropical region.

Jeff Skevington

Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Dr. Skevington works on the taxonomy of Pipunculidae, Syrphidae and Conopidae, as well as phylogenetics of these families and of Diptera as a whole.

Brad Sinclair

Invertebrate Biodiversity, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Dr. Sinclair is a ZADBI collaborator with expertise in Empididae.

John Swann

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, Canada

Dr. Swann is interested is the systematics and biodiversity of acalyptrate Diptera, especially Milichiidae, and also interested in the use and validity of biogeographic analysis techniques.

Chris Thompson

Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C., USA

Dr. Thompson works on flower flies (Syrphidae), as well as on fly names (nomenclature). His current research projects include flower flies of Costa Rica, Nearctic flower flies, and genera of flower flies.

Terry Wheeler

McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Dr. Wheeler works on the taxonomy and systematics of acalyptrate Diptera, especially the family Chloropidae. He also works on ecology of higher Diptera, with projects in community ecology and community structure at multiple scales in a range of habitats from the arctic to the tropics.

Terry Whitworth

Washington State University, USA

Dr. Terry Whitworth studies blow flies (Calliphoridae), currently focusing on Neotropical species.

Monty Wood

Invertebrate Biodiversity, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Dr. Wood is a ZADBI collaborator with expertise in Tachinidae.

Norm Woodley

United States Department of Agriculture, Smithsonian Institution, USA

Dr. Woodley is interested in the taxonomy and phylogeny of the orthorrhaphous Brachycera and Oestroidea. Most of his publishing has been on Stratiomyidae along with a few other families.

Tom Zavortink

University of California, Davis, California USA

Dr. Zavortink is a ZADBI collaborator with expertise in Culicidae.