Estefania Rodriguez, Curator-in-Charge

Dr. Rodriguez is Curator-in-Charge of Cnidaria, and her primary research is on sea anemones, which are among the most diverse and successful members of the Hexacorallia. Her research focuses on convergence of morphological characters, the phylogenetic value of traditional taxonomic characters, and relationship between high levels of intraspecific morphological variability and reproductive strategies in sea anenomes. Dr. Rodriguez brings to the project her taxonomic expertise of Cnidaria.

Christine Johnson, Curatorial Associate

Dr. Johnson is the principal investigator on the IMLS coral rehousing project. She is the Curatorial Associate for the Division of Invertebrate Zoology and saw the need to digitize and properly store the AMNH dry coral collection so that the data and specimens would be preserved well for years to come and available for research. Concerned about our disappearing natural world and historical world, preservation is of great importance to Chris.

Lily Berniker, Scientific Assistant

Lily is the Scientific Assistant for Cnidaria in the Division of Invertebrate Zoology at AMNH. She will be assisting with specimen imaging, including scanning electron microscopy of select specimens before and after cleaning, updating taxonomic names, databasing, labeling and rehousing specimens into their new space.

Devon Lee, Intern

Organizing, inventorying, researching, directing the activities of two volunteers, bringing outdated taxonomy up to date are only a few of the many responsibilities for Devon. A talented artist, Devon also provided still life drawings of some of the specimens, a skill that has seen a resurgence of popularity recently.

Jan Stenzel, Volunteer

Jan is the veteran on the project, having worked on a pilot coral conservation project from 2013-2014. Jan became the expert cleaner using a specialized vacuum cleaner, the Hepa-vac, with adjustable suction speeds and a filter for fine particles. With camel hair brushes, she gently loosens the debris, which gets suctioned by the cleaner. Jan is continuing to clean coral and assisting with the labeling and rehousing of the processed specimens.

Ann Davis, Volunteer

Ann is a volunteer on the project. She has been volunteering at AMNH on other large-scale projects for several years. Her role on this project is cleaning and tagging specimens, as well as moving them into the new cabinetry. Ann is a beginning diver and is excited to work on this project, as she is handling historic objects that she isn’t allowed to touch under the water!

Gone but not Forgotten

Emily Rezes, Intern

Emily has left for a MA program in conservation in L.A. We wish her the best! Emily came to us from the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden and the National Museum of the American Indian. Trained in conservation, Emily is meticulously helping to fine tune the protocols for the next year of cleaning, photographing and databasing the coral specimens. She has already surveyed the collection again, as after the temporary move, things got shifted around a bit. She is enthralled with old, unique boxes in which some of the corals have been stored.

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