A Statement Regarding Diversity and Inclusion
Part of the NHMLA mission statement reads that we are a museum "of, for, and with Los Angeles," a city that is among the most diverse in the US. We take this sentiment to heart, not only as a museum, but specifically in the Department of Ichthyology. We are committed to creating and maintaining a diverse and positive workspace that treats all equally regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual preference, age, disability, religion, socioeconomic background or immigration status. We strive to always improve, to learn, and to listen. We aim to foster an inclusive and welcoming lab space and we will not tolerate discrimination or harassment. Museums, science, and the fishes of our planet are a resource that everyone should have equal access to, and we hope that together we can make new discoveries, inspire curiosity, and solve some of the natural mysteries of our planet.
William B. Ludt
Assistant Curator of Ichthyology
I am the Assistant Curator of Fishes at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, where I started in 2019. In my pursuit of learning more about fishes I have moved around the country, first obtaining a B.S. from the University of Arizona, followed by a M.S. from the University of Texas at Austin, and finally a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University. Prior to starting at the NHMLA I was a Collette Postdoctoral Fellow in Systematic Ichthyology at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. My research aims to determine the factors that have influenced the biodiversity of fishes that we see on our planet, and I leverage the variety of data that can be obtained from museum specimens to answer the questions I am interested in. Feel free to find out more about what I specifically focus on under the research or publication tabs.
Collections Manager of Fishes
Todd joined the ichthyology section early in 2020 as collections manager of the Robert J. Lavenberg fish collection. Prior to joining the team, Todd did a B.S. at Troy State University in Alabama, a M.S. at the University of South Alabama, and a Ph.D. at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science where he worked extensively in the Nunnally Ichthyology Collection. Todd also completed a postdoctoral position in Saudi Arabia where he surveyed the zooplankton of the Persian/Arabian Gulf, and a postdoctoral position at the University of Washington's Friday Harbor Labs. Todd has gained extensive experience with otoliths and larval fishes throughout his career, which are two major components of our fish collection in Los Angeles. Todd also has experience with specimen-based digital media such as x-rays and CT scans that we are continuously striving to associate with our specimens. In addition to managing the fish collection, Todd is interested in the evolutionary relationships of prickleback fishes of the family Stichaeidae and continues to do research on this group which can be found off the California coast. You can find out more about Todd's research here.
Students, Interns and Volunteers
The NHMLA Department of Ichthyology is always happy to provide opportunities for enthusiastic, self-motivated students, postdocs, interns, and volunteers who are curious about the natural world around them and how museums operate. Tasks for workers in the Department of Ichthyology range from research projects, to long-term curatorial and digitization tasks. Interested in working in the fish collection at the NHMLA? Contact us for current opportunities!
The Robert J. Lavenberg Fish Collection
The Robert J. Lavenberg fish collection at the NHMLA contains a variety of fishes from all over the world. The holdings include almost three million specimens stored in alcohol, a large larval fish collection, a broad assortment of skeletal material, cleared and stained fishes, and the John Fitch otolith collection. Additionally, the database contains digital media for many of our fishes, including photographs, radiographs, and CT scans. The Department of Ichthyology at the NHMLA also houses the Giles Mead Ichthyology Library, which contains many books, reprints, and journal articles for researchers to use while visiting and working in the collection. We have a large working space and encourage visitors to come and use the collection as often as they need for research, and the NHMLA has a research grant that graduate students can apply for to visit the collection. We welcome loan requests from researchers worldwide, and are happy to fulfill any information requests associated with our specimens. More information regarding the fish collection, how to search the collection online, and how to request a loan can be found on the official NHMLA ichthyology website. If you would like to take a virtual tour of the collection, click here!