Member

Chamorro, Lourdes (active)
USDA
Entomology
Lourdes Chamorro was born on April 13 in Jersey City, New Jersey. A month after her birth, she moved with her parents and siblings to Managua, Nicaragua. She lived in Nicaragua through the 10 year civil war and during the material and food shortages of the 1980’s. She attended the University of Mobile, Latin American Campus in San Marcos, Carazo – an American accredited University established by Southern Baptists in a coffee growing region of Nicaragua about 40 kilometers south of Managua. While there, the enthusiasm, dedication, and passion for the natural world of her Ecology professor, Eric van den Berghe, inspired Lourdes to consider a career in Entomology. During her sophomore year of college she transferred to The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, to live near her aunt and uncle in Akron, and majored in Animal Science with a minor in Entomology. As a senior in college, she volunteered at the Ohio Biological Survey sorting and identifying caddisflies (Trichoptera). In 2000, she enrolled in the Masters program at the University of Minnesota and joined the laboratory of Ralph Holzenthal to work on Neotropical Trichoptera Systematics, specifically the poorly known caddisflies of Nicaragua. Two years into the program and before finalizing her Masters degree, she switched to the PhD program to work on the taxonomy and phylogeny of polycentropodid caddisflies as part of Ralph Holzenthal’s five year National Science Foundation (NSF) Partnership for Enhancing Expertise in Taxonomy (PEET) grant. Prior to the start of her PhD program, she moved to Washington, DC for 18 months for personal reasons. During that time, she was awarded a Pre-doctoral Fellowship from the Smithsonian Institution to work with Oliver Flint, Jr. on caddisfly systematics. She also initiated numerous projects on beetle systematics with Alexander Konstantinov and Terry Erwin that sparked a lifelong interest in the study of Coleoptera (beetles) and comparative morphology. Two years into the Ph.D. program in 2006 her daughter, Petra was born in Minneapolis, marking the happiest day of Lourdes’s life. In 2009 she earned a PhD in Entomology and started a postdoctoral fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution with Terry Erwin on beetle systematics and evolution. In 2010, the USDA ARS Systematic Entomology Laboratory (SEL) hired her to lead a team of national and international scientists on a three-year postdoctoral fellowship focusing on the systematics of the emerald ash borer (EAB-Agrilus planipennis) and its relatives. In 2013, she was hired permanently by SEL as a Research Entomologist specializing in weevils (Curculionoidaea) and to serve as curator-in-charge of more than 1.5 million weevils at the National Insect Collection in Washington, DC. She currently lives in Potomac, Maryland with her husband, Hymenoptera expert Matt Buffington, and daughter Petra. Lourdes has numerous hobbies including growing bonsai, Japanese kintsugi, sake tasting, gardening with native plants, clay shooting, quilting and is currently scoutmaster of BSA girl troop 255 based out of Chevy Chase, Maryland.