Lauren Esposito

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Lauren Esposito
Lauren Esposito.jpg
NationalityUSA

Lauren Esposito is the world's only female scorpion expert.[1] [2] She studies arachnology at the California Academy of Sciences.[1][3] She one of less than a dozen scorpion specialists in the world.[1] She identifies new types of scorpions that have not been seen before.[1] She teaches a field biology course at Columbia University. She has the nickname “The Scorpion Queen.”[1]


She is the co-founder of the network 500 Queer Scientists.[4] Now, Esposito is also an arachnologist and assistant curator at the California Academy of Sciences.[5] Esposito also pushed for more women to be included as biologists.[4]

Early Life[change | change source]

Lauren Esposito grew up in El Paso, Texas.[4] Her parents were biologists. She enjoyed exploring the bugs in the dirt near her home.[4] She also liked looking at bugs in the sand at her grandparents’ house in the Bahamas.[1] She grew up fascinated by bugs and never lost that passion.[4]

She graduated from the University of Texas in 2003. While she was a student Esposito interned in arachnology at the American Museum of Natural History.[6] She also volunteered doing research in the Chihuahuan Desert.[5]

She holds a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the City University of New York.  Her Ph.D. program was taught by the City University of New York and the American Museum of Natural History. [6]

Career[change | change source]

Esposito co-founded Islands & Seas. Islands & Seas is a science and education nonprofit. It builds field stations where scientists, tourists, and locals can work together to conserve natural resources. The first field station was in a small fishing village, San Juanico, in Baja California Sur. The English name for the town is Scorpion Bay, the name of Esposito’s favorite animal.[5]

Esposito is now at the California Academy of Sciences. She studies scorpion taxonomy, or what different kinds of scorpions exist. She tests and compares different scorpion's DNA.[1] She "milks" scorpion venom for study.[1] She studies their behavior before they sting.[2] She also studies using their venom to cure cancer.[2] She travels and searches for news kinds of scorpions.[1]

Esposito and a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Sarah Crews, have collected arachnids on nearly every island in the Caribbean, and completed a number of ecological and evolutionary research projects. New species comprise approximately 30 to 50% of the animals they collect there.[5]

She and Aaron Goodman have identified six species of scorpions that live in treetops.[7]

Advocacy[change | change source]

Esposito advocates for the importance of scientific research.

She also wants science to be inclusive.[1] She the co-founder of the network 500 Queer Scientists. 500 Queer Scientists is a website showing that LGBTQ+ people work in the sciences.[5]

Reference[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Schultz, K. "World's only female scorpion expert on lookout for new species". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved: Dec. 25, 2015 6:20 p.m.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Fimrite, P. (2018, November 24). The Tribune (San Luis Obispo, CA), p. 7. Available from NewsBank: Access World News – Historical and Current. Retrieved 2021-12-10.
  3. "Lauren Esposito". Sea and Learn. Retrieved 2021-12-10.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 "Arachnologist Lauren Esposito Is On A Misson To Empower Queer Scientists". Bustle Zoë Beery. Retrieved 2020-11-30
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 "Science Heroes: Lauren Esposito". California Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 2021-12-16.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Lauren Esposito". American Museum of Natural History.
  7. Randall, I. (2021, December 31). Enriching the tree of life: Five fiery sea stars, a blue-spotted guitarfish and a well-camouflaged pygmy pipehorse are among 70 new plant and animal species discovered in 2021. MailOnline (London, England). NewsBank: Access World News – Historical and Current. Retrieved 2022-02-04.