Samm EpsteinSamm Epstein
Research Technician

I obtained my B.S. in Animal Science and Ecology/Evolution in 2012 from Rutgers University. I moved to Gainesville in 2014 and have been working in the McGuire Center since then. I’m currently assisting with various research projects in the Daniels’ lab including monarch and milkweed pesticide studies, and fieldwork assessing pollinator communities in right of way habitats and the effects of different vegetation management practices. I am also the museum’s liaison for the Wings Over Florida butterfly watching certification program, which is a partnership with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

I am interested in wildlife conservation, and a few of the other research studies I have worked on include surveying monarch and milkweed habitats, improving methods to manage and preserve molecular Lepidoptera wing-voucher specimens, seeing if tail length affects mating choice in luna moths, and counting and tagging migrating monarch butterflies.

I assist with research by day but am an artist by night and do custom pet portraits and animal art when I’m not in the lab. I have also created several educational drawings including coloring fact sheets for imperiled butterfly species in Florida, and a series of spider themed coloring books that can be downloaded at

You can check out more of my artwork here or find me on Facebook and Instagram.


Daniels, J., Kimmel, C., Mcclung, S., Epstein, S., Bremer, J., & Rossetti, K. (2018) Better Understanding the Potential Importance of Florida Roadside Breeding Habitat for the Monarch. Insects, 9(4), 137. doi:10.3390/insects9040137

Brower, L., Williams, E., Dunford, K., Dunford, J., Knight, A., Daniels, J., Cohen, J., Van Hook, T., Saarinen, E., Standridge, M., Epstein, S.W., Zalucki, M. & Malcolm, S. A 37-year survey of spring monarch butterflies in north-central Florida. (2018) A long-term survey of spring monarch butterflies in north-central Florida, Journal of Natural History, 52:31-32, 2025-2046

Cho, S., Epstein, S. W., Mitter, K., Hamilton, C. A., Plotkin, D., Mitter, C., & Kawahara, A. Y. (2016) Preserving and vouchering butterflies and moths for large-scale museum-based molecular research. PeerJ, 4. doi:10.7717/peerj.2160