Merritt College Natural History

I am the Director of Merritt College's new Natural History & Sustainability program, teaching courses in biodiversity, environmental careers, and island biogeography. I also dedicated a portion of my Ph.D. research to elementary education.



Brad Balukjian is a doctor, but not one who can write you a prescription (unless you're a sick insect). He hated school when he was little, but now loves it so much that after graduating from the 23rd grade, he has moved to the other side of the desk to teach natural history at Merritt College in Oakland. He has strong opinions about the value of education, natural history, and utility infielders from the 1980s, and is pursuing a hybrid career of teaching, writing, and research to get the word out that science is accessible and (gasp!) fun. He chose this path because he never wants to stop learning and apparently has a strong aversion to money. This is his first time writing in the third-person.


Brad has written for ​Rolling Stone, National Geographic, Natural History, Smithsonian, Discover, Slate, the Los Angeles Times, and several others, both in the popular and unpopular (academic) press. Not even his mom read his dissertation (at 373 pages, he doesn't blame her).




Scientist. Educator. Journalist. Champion of the underdog.



Recent Articles (Science, Sports, and more)

My work featured in National Geographic, Rolling Stone, Slate, the Los Angeles Times, and more.


New Book Project: Wax Pack

The story of tracking down the 14 players in a single pack of 1986 baseball cards during a 11,341-mile road trip in the summer of 2015.

A motu (coral islet) in the atoll of Tetiaroa, French Polynesia. Marlon Brando once owned this atoll--turns out he was an island eccentric long before he played one in the laughably bad movie The Island of Dr. Moreau.

Research on Tahitian Plant Bugs

My Ph.D. focused on describing 20 new species of plant bugs I discovered in Tahiti. 

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Brad Balukjian, ph.d.