Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
  Home > Collections & Research > Science Pub >
Science Pub

-Past Science Pubs

  Past Science Pubs
share page:


Join our fun and friendly conversation, and quench your thirst for knowledge about science and nature. Whether you are a science genius or not-so-science-savvy, you are invited to participate in stimulating discussions and partake in some lively libations.

We meet at Dargan's Irish Pub & Restaurant in Santa Barbara. Science Pub is open to all and admission is free. No reservations or tickets are required. Dargan's is located at 18 E. Ortega Street. Some street parking is available, and Lot#10 is conveniently located adjacent to Dargan's (first 75 minutes free).

Questions: Call 805-682-4711 ext. 170.





Science PubScience Pub: 
Astrophysics Applied to Climate Science
Monday, February 13

Featuring Dr. Ray Weyman, 
Former Director of the Steward Observatory

Innovative approaches will be an increasingly important aspect in reducing the impacts of climate change. Join Dr. Ray Weymann as he discusses a few facets of climate science including: applications of new technologies to address global carbon emission reductions, insights into the regulatory and legislative matters addressed in the Paris agreement and California’s ambitious carbon reduction goals. Admission is free.

Information: or 805-682-4711 ext. 170.

Science Pub: Living and Working (Literally) Under the Sea to Study the Future of Coral Reefs

Monday, January 9, 2017


Featuring Dr. Deron Burkepile (Associate Professor of Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology - University of California, Santa Barbara)

Coral reefs are some of the most biodiverse ecosystems on Earth; but they are also some of the most imperiled from factors such as climate change, overfishing, and pollution. Join Dr. Deron Burkepile as he discusses his lab’s work (often living in the world’s only undersea research lab) examining the threats to coral reefs and how we can protect them. Admission is free.

Information: or 805-682-4711 ext. 170.


Science Pub: A Plants-eye View of Climate Change in California Mountains
Monday, December 12

Featuring Dr. Frank Davis, Professor of Landscape Ecology, Conservation Planning (University of California Santa Barbara)

Some wild plants and animals experience climate as a microclimate near the ground surface. To think about climate change effects on plants, we must consider the extreme variability in microclimates that exists in our landscapes. Join Dr. Frank Davis, as he discusses ongoing research modeling future climate change impacts on oak tree establishment in California Mountains. Admission is free.

Information: or 805-682-4711 ext. 170.


Science Pub: Seen but Not Studied: How well do we know some of our commonest insects?
Monday, November 14

Featuring Dr. Matthew L. Gimmel, Curator of Entomology, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

How much do we really know about some of the most abundant insects around us, even in relatively well-studied North America? The answer will probably surprise you. Come and let Matthew L. Gimmel, Curator of Entomology (Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History) introduce you to the wide-open world of exploratory natural history research in entomology. Admission is free.

Information: or 805-682-4711 ext. 170.

Science Pub: The Future of Wildlife In Our Oceans
Monday, October 10

Featuring Dr. Douglas McCauley, UCSB

From elephants to monarch butterflies, the news is full of stories about the decline of wildlife health on land - but what is the status of animal life on the other 71% of our planet: our oceans?

Dr. Douglas McCauley will provide a brief history of the ways we have changed our oceans; what he believes to be the next biggest, but largely unrecognized, threat to marine life; and what we can each do to help ensure a healthier future for animal life in the oceans. Admission is free.

Information: or 805-682-4711 ext. 170.





Avifaunal Breeding on the Channel Islands
Monday, September 12


Featuring Paul Collins, Curator of Vertebrate Zoology, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

Join Paul Collins, Curator of Vertebrate Zoology (Santa Barbara Museum of Natural  History) as he discusses how the avifauna of the Channel Islands has changed overtime due to intensive conservation and restoration efforts that have occurred over the past half century. Collins will identify what species have been removed or reintroduced, what species have established new breeding populations, and what species have shown changes in their population status as the Islands’ ecosystems have transformed.

Under the Ice- Science Pub Beer
The Tight-Knit Lives of Colonial Animals
with Carl Simpson, Smithsonian Institution
Department of Paleobiology
Monday, August 8
6:30-8:00 PM

Corals feature millions of identical animals that all live together; siphonophores contain animals within a single colony that are physically distinct, yet genetically identical. Find out why colonial animals have always been important in the oceans and how they can offer critical insights into evolution.  





Under the Ice- Science Pub Beer
Under the Ice
with Umihiko Hoshijima, UCSB
Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology
Monday, July 11
6:30-8:00 PM

Umi will talk about some of the biological experiments he conducts and the sensors he uses to look at local ocean conditions. In addition, he will talk about the logistics of traveling to and living in Antarctica, as well as diving (logistics, safety, equipment, photos/videos) with some of the specialized ice-diving equipment to show as props.





Rocks by the Road
Roadside Geology of Southern California
Dr. Arthur Sylvester, UCSB
Elizabeth O'Black Gans
Monday, June 13

Get introduced to the results of almost every type of geologic process, from desert erosion to glaciation, from ancient to recent volcanism, and from giant prehistoric landslides to active earthquake faults. You'll learn that southern California has every age of rock, from 2.5 billion year old gneiss to 3,000 year old volcanic cinders, and every type of rock, from rare plutonic and volcanic rocks to common sandstone and limestone, from high-grade metamorphic rocks to soupy sediments yet to harden into rock, and from precious gemstones to giant quarries of sand and gravel.

Feathered and Flying Dinosaurs
Understanding Bird Evolution through Fossils
With Dr. Daniel Luna, UCSB
Monday, May 9

The idea that birds evolved from dinosaurs is hardly new - it was suggested even in Darwin's lifetime, and anyone who's seen Jurassic Park has at least been exposed to the hypothesis. But it's only in the last two decades that an overwhelming consensus has emerged: Birds are dinosaurs.  Over a pint Daniel will organize several decades of research and ~100 million years of fossils to help you better understand where birds fit into the evolutionary tree of dinosaurs, and how the characteristics that we associate with birds today (e.g., feathers, wishbones, perching feet) actually evolved in a step-by-step manner during the age of dinosaurs.

Climate Change Impacts
From Food Security to Civil Wars
With Dr. Kyle Meng, UCSB
Monday, April 11

Human activity is changing our climate. But how will these changes affect societies around the world? Sip a pint while Professor Meng summarizes recent scientific advances in our understanding of climate impacts, from food security to civil wars.


Going Green
Actions for implementing a Green Future
With Paul Relis, writer, environmentalist and bioenergy developer
Monday, March 14
6:30-8:00 PM

Paul Relis is a man of action.  Find out what he's doing to help move our civilization away from the age of oil and into a greener future.  Sip a pint and hear stories from the environmental frontier, including Paul’s experiences with sustainable technology development in California, perspectives on the climate change challenge from work around the world, and his personal quest to build a bioenergy industry in California.


Eggs, Science, and a Work of Love
With Terri Sheridan, Museum Librarian
Monday, February 8                                   
6:30-8:00 PM                   

Founded in 1916, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History has grown from a collection of 5000 eggs to a world-recognized Museum with scientific collections of more than three-million specimens and artifacts.  As Albert Einstein once remarked, it is a museum “built by the work of love.”  Come share the love…




El Niño; What Does It Mean and When Will It Start?
with John Dumas, National Weather Service, Oxnard, CA
Monday, January 11                                  
6:30-8:00 PM                   

El Niño is underway and it’s not your typical climate event.  John Dumas will explain what is different about this El Niño and what to expect weather-wise this winter across Southwest California.  Learn about how an El Niño is measured and whether or not there will be enough rain this year to end the ongoing drought.



Our Wormy Wildlife
with Sara Weinstein, UCSB
Monday, December 14, 2015
6:30-8:00 PM

From mites on a mouse to worms in a raccoon, nearly every wild animal hosts a hidden community of parasites.  These creatures are a natural part of healthy ecosystems.  But,  as we alter the world around us these changes may have unintended consequences for wildlife, their parasites and our own disease risk.




Earthquakes: Contrary to Popular Belief,
Santa Barbara Does Have Its Faults 
with Dr. E. A. Keller
Professor of Environmental Studies & Earth Science, UCSB
Monday, October 12
6:30-8:00 PM

Environmental Geologists say that the past is the key to predicting
the future. Delve into Santa Barbara’s geologic past over a pint and discover what the future holds for Santa Barbarans in the way of earthquakes and tsunamis.



The Science Behind Clean Creeks and Healthy Beaches
with Jill Murray, Ph.D., City of Santa Barbara Water Quality Research Coordinator
Monday, September 14, 2015
6:30-8:00 PM

The City of Santa Barbara’s Creeks Division uses applied science to investigate stormwater pollution and assess the performance of water quality improvement efforts. Sip a pint while learning about beach water quality, microbial source tracking, pesticide trends, toxicity testing, bioassessment, drought effects, and how applied science helps keep our creeks and beaches healthy and clean.



The Life Aquarist with Tyler Haven and Tommy Wilson
Monday, August 10, 2015
6:30-8:00 PM

With a plan to educate the public about undersea life, renowned aquarists Tyler Haven and Tommy Wilson rally a crew that includes a cunning octopus, hypnotic jellyfish, and a creature that may or may not be a fish.  Over a pint they will answer your burning questions, from animal husbandry, to pipes, and pumps, and specimen collection - painting a vivid picture of a day in the life of a Sea Center aquarist. 




To Catch an Eagle
with Frank Hein, Museum Exhibits Director
Monday, July 13, 2015
6:30-8:00 PM

Join us for a light hearted and informative journey into the natural world through the eyes of a field biologist.  Frank J. Hein serves as the Director of Exhibits at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, where his extensive background in wildlife ecology is put to good use.  Frank will share a bit about what it is like to live in the field, trap and track eagles and generally be outclassed by animals that he has been paid to outsmart. 




Science Pub: Sea Life in a Changing Ocean
with Michelle Berman, Channel Islands Cetacean Research Unit
Monday, May  11, 2015                
6:30-8:00 PM






Interesting Fishes of the Pacific Coast
with Professor Milton Love, UCSB
Monday, April 13, 2015
6:30-8:00 PM


With his tales of Pacific Coast fishes, Milton (only his wife calls him Dr. Love) will enter your world like a bright and fanciful rainbow.  Get to Dargan's early and come prepared for an evening of fishy humor and science.



Treasures from Native California – The Legacy of Russian Exploration
with Dr. John Johnson and  and Dr. Thomas Blackburn
Monday, March 9, 2015
6:30–8:00 PM

The brief Russian presence in California yielded some of the best collections of Native Californian material culture.  Join Museum Anthropologist John Johnson and Cal Poly, Pomona Professor Emeritus Thomas Blackburn in investigating the fascinating Russian collections of Native California material culture.


Phylogeography - using DNA to travel through time
with Dr. Maxi Richmond and Dr. Jonathan Richmond
Monday, February 9, 2015
6:30–8:00 PM

Join entomologist Maxi Richmond and herpetologist Jonathan Richmond as they go back in time to understand how historical geologic events influence geographic distributions of animals in southern California. Using DNA as a time machine, we will explore how various aspects of the California landscape have impacted the evolution of several native beetles and lizards.


Do Gray Whales Count?
with Michael Smith, Santa Barbara Gray Whales Count
Monday, January 12, 2015
6:30–8:00 PM

We think gray whales have value: gray whales count. They are magnificent animals that have rebounded from near extinction, caused by human exploitation, primarily for oil. In our project, people count whales in order to gain understanding about migration routes and the threats to whales as they pass through the near shore of the Santa Barbara Channel.



From Chanterelles to Death Caps: Mushrooms of the Central California Coast
with Dr. Bob Cummings
Monday, December 8, 2014
6:30–8:00 PM

Recent rains bring promise to the end of a multi-year drought, but to local mycologists they also bring the promise of mushrooms.  A rich mix of mushrooms from the northern temperate mycoflora north of Pt. Conception and the drier southern mycoflora can be found in the Chaparral, Oak Woodland and Oak Savannah that dominate much of our Mediterranean climate landscape.  Meet us at Dargan’s and mull over some mushrooms with mycologist Bob Cummings.


Lying with colors: the biology of mimicry
with Dr. Elizabeth Long
Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History
Monday, November 10, 2014
6:30–8:00 PM

Mimicry is one of the best-studied examples of adaptive evolution. While the phenomenon has been described in many animals, it is perhaps most famous in butterflies.  Consider the Monarch and its mimics, the Viceroy and Queen.  We'll talk about how mimicry systems work, how they evolved, and look at some ongoing work in a unique mimicry system involving Checkerspot butterflies in California.

Sex, Science, and Sardines
with Dr. Chuck Rennie, Adjunct Curator of Marine Mammology
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Monday, October 27, 2014
6:30–8:00 PM

Join Chuck Rennie as he sorts fact from fiction regarding pioneering marine biologist Ed Ricketts and his close friendship with John Steinbeck. Sip a pint while you learn more about the man behind the character, Doc, in Steinbeck’s Cannery Row as Rennie discusses “Sex, Science, and Sardines.”



The Bear Naked Truth
With Kate McCurdy, Sedgwick Reserve
Monday, September 22, 2014
6:30–8:00 PM 

Using video, narration and props that would make Goldilocks blush, wildlife biologist Kate McCurdy will unravel the mysteries of black bear procreation. Top off your pint and travel with Kate on a provocative yearlong journey into the chaparral bedroom of Southern California and get a glimpse into the wild world of ursine courtship, mating and maternity.

California on Fire: How native plants respond to wildfire
with Nate Emery, UCSB
Monday, August 25, 2014
6:30–8:00 PM

Wildfire is a common disturbance in many of California's ecosystems. Over time, plant species have evolved traits that enable them to persevere through wildfires. In fact, there are some species that actually require fires to disperse seeds and regenerate. Over a pint, Nate Emery will walk us through several ecosystems in California and explain how plant species respond to wildfires.
Photo Credit: Bay Area News Group


Going Beyond the Kodak® Moment: Scientific Imaging Zooms In
with Dr. Daniel Geiger, Curator of Malacology
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Monday, July 28, 2014

The “Kodak® moment” captures a memorable moment in a photograph. Scientific imaging goes beyond a moment, and zooms in on life capturing details and data to reveal a new perspective. In science, an image could test evolutionary hypotheses, provide critical data, and even help identify a new species of life. Academic rigor and technical expertise with visual appeal is at the heart of scientific imaging. Join Dr. Geiger as he explores some of the various scientific imaging techniques and tools used in ongoing research at the Museum.

Nature Deficit Disorder: Are Free-Range Kids facing extinction?
with Elaine Gibson, Nature Education Specialist
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Monday, June 23, 2014

Did your childhood include climbing trees, building forts, splashing in creeks, sliding down grassy hillsides, exploring the boundaries of your outdoor world? That’s not childhood any more. Childhood and outdoor play are no longer synonymous. Nature Education Specialist Elaine Gibson presents a new and growing body of research that proves "Go outside and play" was a good idea. That's how children grow. So what happens if kids have only indoor experiences? How do we unplug kids and reconnect them to nature?

Your Water…Your Choices
with author David Carle
Monday, April 28, 2014

In this colorful presentation, David Carle dives into the basics of water resources and explores the water choices that have historically shaped California's development and environmental change. Join him as he discusses how our water choices are the key to shaping California’s future.

David Carle is a natural history author and educator. He worked as a California State Park Ranger for 27 years and participated in the long battle to protect Mono Lake from Los Angeles' stream diversions. 

The Molecular Symphony of Life
with Dr. Zachary Levine & John Savage
Departments of Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Physics, UCSB
Center for Multiscale Theory and Simulation, Univ. of Chicago
Monday, March 24, 2014

Through computer simulations, scientists are able to track the movement of individual atoms and molecules over time and make use of this highly detailed information to help understand the workings of the living cell, analyze the origins of diseases, and design more effective drug therapies and fuel cells. The ability to visualize the atomic-level environment as it evolves over time allows for incredible technological advancements and provides a greater appreciation for the underlying beauty to be found in the natural world.

Share a pint with two young scientists who will highlight how computers are changing the way we study systems such as proteins, fuel cells and viruses and the societal impact of what is being discovered.


Love-Crossed Stars
with Javier Rivera,Astronomy Programs Manager
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Monday, February 24, 2014

The night sky is filled with amazing and awe-inspiring celestial objects. Throughout the ages and among many different cultures, people have assigned myths and legends to many of these objects. Some of these stories are romantic attempts to explain natural phenomena, while others are simply stories that reflect upon human nature and feelings including…LOVE.

Acid in Our Oceans
with Dr. Debora Iglesias-Rodriguez
UCSB, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis
Monday, January 27, 2014

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the ocean have increased alongside CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Like terrestrial plants that convert CO2 from the atmosphere to solid carbon stored in the soil, microscopic marine plants called coccolithophores convert CO2 in sea water to solid carbon in the form of their beautiful microscopic chalky plates.

But the chemistry of seawater is changing. Increasing CO2 levels have resulted in acidification of seawater and it is unclear how the coccolithophores will respond. Will they continue to convert carbon as ocean waters become increasingly acidic? Will there be a decline in this important group of marine plants? Both the short and long term consequences have far-reaching societal implications.

Santa Barbara Region Science PubNaturalist's Guide to the Santa Barbara Region
with author Joan Lentz
Monday, November 25, 2013

Looking for inspiration to head outside and appreciate what natural wonders are in your own backyard? Join Joan Lentz, accomplished author, teacher, birder and naturalist and take a journey from the tidepools on our shores to the mountain peaks and surrounding woodlands. Listen to Joan’s amazing stories and view stunning photos from our unique corner of the world. Joan's latest book, A Naturalist’s Guide to the Santa Barbara Region will be for sale after the presentation.


Antarctica and the Rising Sea
with Lauren Simkins
Science PubDepartment of Earth Studies, UCSB
Monday, October 28, 2013
Join Lauren Simkins as she discusses the impact Antarctica’s ice sheets have on sea-level rise. Learn about the history of Antarctica’s ice sheets over geologic time and how those changes compare to the changes occurring in Antarctica today. Then discover the implications of shrinking ice caps for sea level rise along coastlines across the world including California.

Humboldt Squid in the California Current
Squid Science PubDr. Julia S. Stewart
National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, UCSB
Monday, September 23, 2013

Humboldt Squid have been increasingly observed off the California coast, but have historically lived further south. Why are they here now? How are they able to expand their reach? What is the impact of their presence?

Join Dr. Julia Stewart as she discusses her research on these impressive cephalopods including their migration patterns, their tolerance to harsh environmental conditions, and potential drivers of their recent range expansion.



Who Are You Calling a Bird Brain?
Dr. Corina Logan
SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind, UCSB
Monday, August 26, 2013

A recent discovery about bird brain anatomy has overturned a century-old assumption that bird brains were primitive versions of mammalian brains. What are birds doing with this brain power? Complex cognitive abilities help some species solve environmental and social problems.
Join Dr. Corina Logan as she explores the world of bird cognition—how do they use tools, remember the past, or plan for the future? 



The Art and Science of Taxonomy
with Dr. Michael Caterino, Curator of Entomology
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History 
Monday, July 22, 2013

Naming organisms is as essential to modern science as it was to Linnean-era biologists of the 1700s. In the race to document biodiversity before the modern world takes too big a toll, biologists are discovering species at an unprecedented rate, and all these new species need names!

While the rules for naming seem strict and stodgy to many scientists, taxonomists - those responsible for naming species - have taken some remarkable, hilarious, and downright questionable liberties. Join Dr. Michael Caterino as he engages attendees on the many species that have been named for an array of famous and infamous personalities, and shares the challenges scientists are facing in gaining knowledge about biodiversity.


Science Revolution! How the Transformation of Science Will Change Your Life
Dr. Jai Ranganathan
National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, UCSB
Monday, June 24, 2013

Our lives have been fundamentally changed by science. In the past century, scientific innovations such as air travel and modern medicine have transformed the human experience. Now humanity is at the beginning of a new scientific revolution driven by technological and cultural change, and the way scientists do their research is being transformed across scientific disciplines.
This scientific revolution has huge implications for everyone, because it will expedite the pace of discovery. Join Dr. Jai Ranganathan to find out more about this brave new world of science and what the future holds.

I Invade With a Little Help From My Friends: How People Moved Plants Around The World
with Nate Emery and Nicole Molinari
Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology Department, UCSB
Monday, May 27, 2013

Plants provide a number of human services and as a result have been transported around the globe for agriculture, medicine, building materials and more. In addition, there is an ever increasing number of plants that are accidentally introduced (i.e. hitchhikers) through a variety of means. Some introduced species have little effect on the regions they invade, while others can transform landscapes. 

Come join Nate Emery and Nicole Molinari for a tale of how humans have moved plants beyond their natural geographic barriers and the potential environmental impacts that ensue. We will discuss the history of plant trading, as well as highlight a few of our local exotic invaders. 

Aging in the Amazon
with Dr. Michael Gurven
Anthropology Dept., UCSB
Monday, April 22, 2013

What does human aging and longevity look like in a world without healthcare, supermarkets and life insurance? Join Dr. Michael Gurven as he discusses the biology and anthropology of "growing old" in different environments. He'll touch upon the determinants of heart disease and diabetes, as well as the potential health benefits of our "old friends" - parasites!


Dark Energy, Supernovae, and Robotic Telescopes
with Dr. Robert Kirschner
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Harvard University
Monday, March 25, 2013

An unknown energy source is making the universe accelerate in its expansion! Two teams were awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in physics for the discovery of this "dark energy". Now these teams are making the best measurements of dark energy properties by observing distant stellar explosions and using them to map the history of the expansion of the universe.

Exactly what causes the thermonuclear supernovae to explode, and what makes them "standard candles" has long been a mystery, but in the past few years dramatic progress has been made in identifying the sources of some of the explosions. Discover the next steps in building a robotic network of telescopes to study supernovae and the upcoming plans to put a satellite in space to study supernovae and dark energy. 



Nature Close-Up
with Dr. Larry Friesen
Santa Barbara Community College
Monday, February 25, 2013

From wetlands to wet-labs, woodlands to reefs, Dr. Larry Jon Friesen will present photographs of ‘Nature Close-Up’ and describe techniques for capturing dramatic images of small and large subjects from land, sky and water. The full spectrum of biodiversity will be represented through photographs of organisms from whales to the microscopic. Using a variety of lenses to get ‘close-up’, rich details and remarkable moments highlight form and function.   The myriad images presented will represent unique uses of camera, lighting, lens, and ‘tricks’ at different locations and under varying conditions.



In the Mind of a Fly
with Dr. Tom Turner
Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology, UCSB
Monday, January 28, 2013 

Do flies feel pain? Can ants count?  Are mosquitoes dreaming about their next hunt? And is that roach you are staring at plotting its next move? The most fascinating thing about animals is their behavior. What is really going on in the brains of animals when they appear to make decisions or express emotions? How do these neural computations compare to what is happening in the human brain? Can we use studies of animals to understand our own behavior?
We now know that insects have many of the same genes that affect behaviors in humans. Experiments on insects can determine how natural variation in these genes affects the brain, and how the brain then produces a behavior. Using work from his lab at UCSB, and the cutting-edge work of others in the field, Professor Thomas Turner will explain how advances in genomics and neurobiology are providing answers from an unlikely place: insects!



Science and Religion: War or Peace?Karl
with Dr. Karl Hutterer, Executive Director
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Monday, December 17, 2012

The debate over whether science and religion are mutually compatible or at conflict with each other goes back to the Renaissance and continues unabated today. The controversy has profound consequences for politics, public life, and the social order. Karl Hutterer has an academic background both in Catholic theology and in science, and a lifelong interest in this issue. He will discuss the relationship between science and religion from his personal perspective as a one-time Catholic priest and an avid student of human evolution. Hutterer’s scientific work has included research in cultural anthropology, archaeology, and tropical forest ecology.



Eating the Aliens: Bio-control of Invasive SpeciesScience Pub- Aliens
with Dr. Tom Dudley
Marine Science Institute, UCSB
Monday, November 26, 2012 

Are there alien invaders in our waters? Western rivers are increasingly overgrown with invasive, non-native species that offer little habitat to wildlife and are often serious fire hazards. There is recent interest in using “natural enemies” against non-native plants such as herbivorous insects that feed on and suppress weeds where they are not wanted. This technology is known as biological control.

Dr. Tom Dudley will discuss collaborative efforts to develop and release these bio-control agents against riparian invasive plants, and some of the political pitfalls of undertaking this somewhat esoteric approach. Are bio-control efforts helping in the restoration of native plants? Or will bio-control engender controversy by affecting species of animals that have come to depend on these alien invaders? Join Dr. Dudley as he shares fascinating natural history observations that could lead bio-control to becoming both a successful scientific and conservation-based endeavor.



What's Shaking?
with Dr. Jamison Steidl
Earth Research Institute, UCSB
Monday, October 22, 2012

What's with all the earthquakes these days? Is the end of the world coming? Is there really such a thing as Earthquake Weather? Research Seismologist Jamison Steidl will talk about earthquake myths, discuss the current global earthquake activity, answer your questions about our local earthquake and tsunami hazards, and tell you when the "Big One" is coming!



Unusual Visual Systems in the Sea
with Dr. Daniel Speiser
Department of Ecology Evolution and Marine Biology, UCSB
Monday, September 24, 2012 

We’re well-acquainted with camera-type eyes-we look out through a pair of them every day. The compound eyes of insects are also familiar enough. But did you know that some animals have hundreds of eyes spread across their bodies? Or that certain animals see using mirrors or lenses made of shell? Or that some animals have eyes but no brain and others see without eyes? In this Science Pub, Dr. Daniel Speiser will explain how some of nature’s most unusual visual systems work and how a surprising collection of marine invertebrates - including box jellyfish, sea urchins, scallops and chitons - use vision to escape predators, optimize feeding, and find shelter.




In The Beginning…
With Dr. Susannah Porter
Department of Earth Science, UCSB
Monday, August 27, 2012

 In the beginning…a billion years after Earth coalesced from cosmic dust, and only a few hundred million years after giant asteroid impacts repeatedly vaporized the world’s oceans, life appeared on our planet. What was the earliest life like, and how did it make a living? And why did it take billions of years for complex creatures like animals and plants to evolve? Join Paleontologist Dr. Susannah Porter as she describes life in its youth and adolescence—from its origins more than three and a half billion years ago to the rise of animals a mere 600 million years ago—highlighting the often strange and beautiful fossils that provide glimpses of life on our young planet.



2012: The End of the World...Again?end of the World: Science Pub
with Javier Rivera, Astronomy Programs Manager
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Monday, July 23, 2012 

Did the Maya predict the end of the world? Will the Sun flip over? Where is Planet X? Should I quit my job and spend all my money travelling? New end-of-world prophesies are claiming a catastrophic worldwide event will take place on December 21, 2012, and some people are worrying this may be true. To set aside some of these preoccupations, we will discuss what science has to say about these predictions and perhaps recommend a few places to visit this year.




Chills, Drills and Thrills: Science Pub
Climate Change and Marine Life in Antarctica
with Dr. Pauline Yu and Lydia Kapsenberg,
Hofmann Laboratory, Dept. of Ecology,
Evolution and Marine Biology, UCSB
Monday, June 25, 2012

The Hofmann Laboratory takes its unique brand of interdisciplinary ecophysiology to “the Ice” and returns with tales of encounters with the weird, the wonderful, and the historical, and scientific derring-do. Dr. Pauline Yu and Ms. Lydia Kapsenberg will present a tag-team slideshow of their adventures in the frozen south in Antarctica. Learn how climate change affects the chemistry of the oceans, the life-history of sea urchins and how research combines those two topics into a greater understanding of the trials and tribulations of life.


All About Abalone!
with Daniel L. Geiger, Research Curator of Electron Microscopy
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Monday, May 21, 2012

Did you know that abalone are snails? Did you know the largest abalone species in the world lives in California? Museum Curator Dr. Daniel Geiger is one of the world’s leading experts on abalone, and he has just published his second book Abalone Worldwide Haliotidae. He will introduce you to the official California State shell and its relatives, and discuss all aspects, ranging from global diversity to local conservation issues. Book signing following.


Parasites: Body Snatchers, the Living Dead, and Mind Control
with Dr. Armand Kuris
UCSB Dept. of Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology
Monday, April 23, 2014

Yes! The creature in Alien is a possible reality somewhere in the Universe. A parasite may be the most numerous species on Earth. Some parasites live for many years and may be potentially immortal. Some are parasitic castrators, others completely control host behavior, and some slowly eat their hosts inside out. If we could "see" all the parasites where would they be? How large are they? How long do they live? How do they make a living? What do they get from this life style? How does it impact the human condition?

Murders and Exaltations: The Annual Christmas Bird Count
with Rebecca Coulter, Compiler SB Christmas Bird Count
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Monday, March 26, 2012 

From a murder of crows to an exaltation of larks to a parliament of owls, passionate birders volunteer their time and keen eyes to conduct the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. This Audubon project is a great example of citizen-science in action and occurs across the nation as a coordinated 24-hour survey of all the birds in our neighborhoods. So how do birders conduct this annual bird count, and more to the point, why? Can they really tell if they’ve counted that bird twice? From the small but mighty team of back-country “owlers” up at o-dark-thirty to the backyard feeder watchers, find out why Santa Barbarans and birders around the country participate in this 112-year old project.



Sperm Wars and Sexual Conflict: 
The Evolutionary Consequences of Promiscuity
with Dr. Alison Pischedda
UCSB Dept. of Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology
Monday, February 27, 2012

Why is the genitalia of male dragonflies shaped like a spoon? Why do male bedbugs inseminate females by piercing through their abdominal wall? Males throughout the animal kingdom possess extreme and bizarre sexual traits and behaviors, raising interesting questions about their purpose. In this Science Pub, Dr. Alison Pischedda will explain the role that promiscuity plays in the evolution of these fascinating traits, and how it can result in an evolutionary battle of the sexes.



CSI: Cetacean Stranding Investigations
with Michelle Berman, Associate Curator of Vertebrate Zoology
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Monday, January 23, 2012 

A dolphin washes up on the beach; there are no obvious signs as to why. Soon a crowd gathers and everyone has the same questions on their mind: “Why? What happened?” Test your power of observation and investigation, and learn what dolphins can tell us about the ocean environment with Michelle Berman, Associate Curator of Vertebrate Zoology and Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator.



I Eat My Research
with Paul Valentich-Scott, Curator of Malacology
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Monday, November 7, 2011

Clams, mussels, oysters and scallops are sumptuous global delicacies. Humans consume over 14 million metric tons of “bivalve mollusks” every year, and they are favorites on many local menus. How fast do they grow? Are they a sustainable resource? How many types are there around the globe? Follow museum marine biologist, Paul Valentich-Scott, as he travels the world in search of new discoveries about this fascinating, yet poorly understood, group of animals.



Arlington Springs Man or Woman?
with Dr. John Johnson, Curator of Anthropology
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Monday, August 15, 2011

In 1959, the 13,000-year old Arlington Springs remains (the oldest human bones found in North and South America) were discovered and identified to be male. In 1989, the bones were deemed to be female. In 2006, after another reevaluation, they were back to being male. What? How? Why? Come to Science Pub and learn how museum collections, forensic science, and modern technology provide new information for scientists that impacts what we know and what we thought we knew.



What's Bugging You? Insects in the Santa Barbara Region
with Dr. Michael Caterino, Curator of Entomology
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Monday, July 18, 2011

The Santa Barbara area has a rich insect fauna. While many of these are beautiful, delightful creatures, like the monarch butterfly, many are also obnoxious: stinging, biting, eating our plants, buzzing in our faces, and seeming to have little redeeming value. In this Science Pub, museum entomologist Dr. Michael Caterino will talk about some of our fondest insect friends, our fiercest insect foes, and an awful lot in between. Bring your curiosity and your burning bug questions. The evening should leave you with a better appreciation for 'the little things that run the world.'



Birds do it, but how?
with Dr. Krista Fahy, Associate Curator of Vertebrate Zoology
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Monday, June 20, 2011

Ever wondered why that bird keeps you awake all night with his repetitive song? Do you have a seemingly crazy bird that endlessly throws himself against your windows, mirrors or hubcaps? We have more than 124 species of birds that breed in the Santa Barbara region; many of which can be found in your backyard! Come learn about their mating strategies, nest building styles and other quirky behaviors that endear these neighborhood tenants to our hearts.




Exhibitions | Sea Center | Gladwin Planetarium | Education | Collections & Research
Members | Support SBMNH | About Us | Site Map
Your privacy is important - privacy policy © 2018 Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History