Amphibians & Reptiles

Amphibians & Reptiles

With more than 95,000 specimens, the Division of Amphibians & Reptiles has steadily grown to become one of the largest herpetological collections in the western US. Personnel and associates conduct research in the American Southwest and throughout Latin America. The division is the primary repository of specimens for the New Mexico Dept. of Game and Fish.

Arthropods

Arthropods

Division of Arthropods maintains collections of specimens gathered worldwide. These serve as the basis for discovery of new species and systematic studies of amazing diversity. More than 350 families and 2,300 species are represented in this rapidly growing arthropod collection.

Birds

Birds

The Division of Birds contains more than 40,000 specimens, which represent all bird orders and 85 percent of bird families. The collection contains historic specimens of threatened, endangered, and extinct species such as the passenger pigeon. The largest holdings are from the American Southwest, Peru, and South America.

Fishes

Fishes

The Division of Fishes has 95,000 cataloged lots of fishes - more than 4 million individual specimens. Collections of eggs, larvae, and adults aid in the study of the specialized ecology of desert fishes. The division is the primary repository for academic and agency biologists in New Mexico.

Genomic Resources

Genomic Resources

The Division of Genomic Resources (DGR) maintains more than 500,000 archived tissue samples and nucleic acids from over 150,000 specimens of mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish. The DGR collection is global in scope, representing taxa from 72 countries. Our mission is to maintain a permanent reference archive of frozen tissues and DNA to aid in understanding the complexity of biological diversity and to address critical biological problems such as emerging pathogens, habitat degradation, pollution, climate change, and invasive species.

Herbarium

Herbarium

The herbarium houses 130,000 plant specimens dating back to the 1800s. The collection primarily contains vascular plants, but it also contains lichen, mosses, and fungi. The herbarium also has a library, reprint collection, and a laboratory for cytogenetics.

Mammals

Mammals

With more than 260,000 specimens, this division is among the world's five largest mammal collections. Specimens represent more than 1,400 species from localities all over the world, with especially large holdings from Panama, Boliva, Siberia, Mongolia, Alaska, Canada, and the American Southwest.

Parasites

Parasites

The Division of Parasitology holds the third largest collection of parasites in North America. There are nearly 30,000 cataloged parasites, including a growing schistosome archive. This collection is unique in that most parasites are tied directly to the host specimen, allowing powerful integrated views of coevolution.

Natural Heritage New Mexico

Natural Heritage New Mexico

Natural Heritage New Mexico (NHNM) does research on the conservation and sustainable management of New Mexico's biodiversity. We have New Mexico's only state-wide rare species and ecosystems database (NM Biotics) which helps shape conservation efforts. NHNM does biology research and education in the context of conservation and climate change.

Museum of Southwestern Biology

The Museum of Southwestern Biology is a research and teaching facility in the Department of Biology at the University of New Mexico.

open weekdays 8am - 5pm
visitors welcome by appointment
information for visitors

phone: (505) 277-1360
fax: (505) 277-1351
museum administrator


CERIA

mailing:
Museum of Southwestern Biology
1 University of New Mexico
MSC03-2020
Albuquerque, NM 87131

shipping:
University of New Mexico
302 Yale Blvd NE
CERIA 83, Room 204
Albuquerque, NM, USA 87131

UNM Ornithologists Discover Flight Causes Genome Shrinkage

ornithologists

It has long been known that birds and bats have small genomes, but the cause was uncertain. Now researchers at the University of New Mexico have shown that the genome shrinks over evolutionary time in species that spend lots of energy on flight. This discovery is described in a new paper titled, “Metabolic ‘engines’ of flight drive genome size reduction in birds,” published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, by UNM Department of Biology graduate student Natalie Wright and Associate Professor Christopher Witt.

“Natalie had realized that the size of a bird’s flight muscles determines its capacity for producing bursts of energy, and energy use is hugely important in evolution” said Witt, who is the Curator of Birds at UNM’s Museum of Southwestern Biology (MSB). “Comparing the flight muscles of different species provided us with a clever way to test the effects of energy use on the evolution of the genome. Fortunately, our museum here at UNM has bird specimens from all over the world that have been carefully preserved to allow this kind of study.” read more...