About Me

Isa Betancourt

Entomologist, Photographer, Biodiversity Explorer

Isa is passionate about not only studying but also sharing the beauty of the earth through photography, videography, and live presentations. Her goal is to inspire awe and respect for our environment and wildlife and to support preservation efforts. 

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An explorer at heart, Isa knew at a young age that she wanted to be either an astronaut or an entomologist. Her mom was happy when she went the entomology route.

In pursuit of an entomology career, Isa enrolled at Cornell University and double majored in Entomology & Plant Science. She completed a semester abroad in Costa Rica as part of a Tropical Ecology and Conservation Field Course.

Upon graduating from Cornell, Isa began work at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University (ANSP) as a Curatorial Assistant of Entomology. She completed the 3 year long project she was co-managing at ANSP in fall 2014. The fruit of the project is a digital species index. Now, anyone can search the contents of the 3-million-specimen insect collection and all specimens can be quickly and easily located in the collection! Click here to check it out.

It was around this time that Isa plunged into insect macrophotography. She had been interested in exploring this realm for years and was finally able to save up and purchase her first semi-professional camera - the Canon 70D and Canon 100mm macro prime lens. Woo hoo! She then attended the BugShot insect photography workshop. This was all in great timing. Little did she know that a year later she would find herself in the depths of the peat swamp Bornean jungle...

So yes, the next adventure took her into the depths of the Bornean peat swamp for 7 months to study orangutan facilitated nutrient cycling, cognitive mapping, and dung beetles as an assistant to Shauhin Alavi. In the small bouts of time between following the magnificent wild orangutans, species indexing trees in the forest, doing laundry, uploading data, eating and sleeping, and playing badminton with the locals, you could find her eye against the camera and her lens focused on a bug. Results here.

Since returning to the USA, Isa has published a book on the bugs of Philadelphia and has been working once again as a Curatorial Assistant at ANSP where she is co-managing the LepNet initiative in the Academy's Entomology Department..
Isa began a Masters of Science in Communication in 2017 and is an indie TV host, having founded the bugscope in December 2016.

Entomological areas of particular interest: insect evolution, bionomics, systematics, behavior, visual & chemical cues, biophysical ecology, evo-devo, morphology, insect physiology, phylogeography, research collections, urban biodiversity
Science communication, advocating for science and environmental protections, documenting biodiversity, insect photography and videography, habitat restoration, biological conservation, community involvement, citizen science

Click here to view my 'Useful Entomology Links' page. 
(It is a work in progress - Let me know if you have sites I ought to add! :)