portrait of Dr. Katja Seltmann

Katherine Esau Director, Cheadle Center for Biodiversity & Ecological Restoration, UCSB Researcher II


As the Director of the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration, I oversee three core research and program areas: natural history collections, environmental education, and ecological restoration at UC Santa Barbara. My background in biology and expertise in data science informs my research into biodiversity, with a focus on insects. As an entomologist, my research interests include insect conservation, evolution, and the intersection of insects and media arts.

I am currently leading the "Extending Anthophila Research Through Image and Trait Digitization" (Big-Bee) project, generously funded by the US National Science Foundation. Our ongoing initiative is dedicated to the digitization of biodiversity collections, with a primary focus on bees. Over the course of this multi-year project, we are actively capturing high-resolution images of bee specimens, creating comprehensive datasets of bee traits, and collaborating with a network of thirteen US institutions and government agencies. As a key component of our work, we are developing an open data portal called the "Bee Library" ensuring that our valuable bee-related image and trait datasets are readily accessible to researchers and the public alike. This project continues to advance our understanding of bee ecology and biodiversity conservation.

More of my projects, research, and citations can be found here on Google Scholar.

My CV may also be found here