Brian Brown

Curator, Entomology

Brian V. Brown is Curator of Entomology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. A native of Toronto, Canada, Brown did his undergraduate and masters work at the University of Guelph. During the latter, under the tutelage of Steve Marshall, Brown took up the study of the fly family Phoridae. 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. In 1993 he took up his current position in Los Angeles.

An author of two books, as well as numerous scientific papers, he has conducted research in many parts of 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 fossil phorid flies in amber, integrating them into phylogenetic knowledge based on morphology and molecular characters. A recent NSF-funded project was the effort to completely inventory the Diptera (true fly) fauna of the mid-elevation tropical forest in Costa Rica. A further endeavor is his exploration of the urban insect fauna of Los Angeles, called the BioSCAN project, which has uncovered surprising new knowledge about species living in local backyards. In 2021, his tropical research in the Brazilian Amazon was featured in National Geographic magazine.

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