Naturalist Night

The Naturalist Night series is a Museum favorite!  This long-running monthly lecture series features a special guest speaker and topics vary widely.  Do you have an idea for a future Naturalist Night?  Let us know at

The next event in this series:

Natural History of Rapa Nui and its Enigmatic Spider

September 28 | 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm | Click HERE to Register
$12 General | $6 Child | Members 50% off
Location:  Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

Talk will begin at 7 pm. Doors open at 6:45 pm.

About the talk:
Rapa Nui, or Easter Island, is the most remote island on the planet. It is the home of one of the most fascinating cultures in the Pacific. While the island witnessed the development of this civilization, it also experienced what has been considered as an ecological collapse. Learn about the human and natural history of Rapa Nui; from geology to climate, including reconstructions of the pre-human environment and how people interacted with the land. Get to know the only one endemic spider (Tetragnatha paschae) for this island and learn how old museum specimens and methods of studying ancient DNA can help to discover the origin of colonization of this animal. Did it come from South America or Asia? This simple question is key to understanding how the biological community of the most isolated place on the planet was assembled.

About the speaker:
Darko Cotoras is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the California Academy of Sciences. His main research interest is the origin of biodiversity, particularly in insular ecosystems. He is currently using genetic techniques of to obtain ancient DNA material from old museum samples to understand colonization and diversification processes on Pacific islands. He has a PhD in Integrative Biology from the University of California, Berkeley and both a master’s in Ecology and Evolution and an undergraduate degree in Biology from the Universidad de Chile.

See Darko’s key to the Spiders of Easter Island HERE.

Naturalist Night series is sponsored by