History of the Museum
The Museum of Southwestern Biology (MSB) is one of the finest university-based natural history museums nationwide. We have trained students and conducted original research of national and international significance on the systematics, ecology, and life history of plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates for more than 50 years. MSB serves the national and international scientific community by providing an extensive informatics resource on biodiversity to an international scientific community.
Up until 2001, all MSB collections of plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates were housed in Castetter Hall on the main campus of UNM. Collections originated through the collecting efforts of Edward F. Castetter, beginning in 1928. Starting in 1938, vertebrate collections were increased and formal maintenance of collections conducted when William J. Koster joined the UNM faculty. With the addition of more faculty curators, the MSB eventually formed several distinct divisions over the next few decades. Due to an increasing need for more collections space and optimal archival conditions, the MSB moved into the CERIA building, across from Castetter Hall or the Department of Biology. There are now eight divisions including Arthropods, Amphibians and Reptiles, Birds, Fishes, Genomic Resources, Herbarium, Mammals, and Parasites and one special program, Natural Heritage New Mexico.
Recently Incorporated Collections
USGS Biological Surveys collection
More than 26,000 specimens documenting the fauna of the federal lands of the west.
UIMNH (Hoffmeister) collection
33,000 specimens from New Mexico, Arizona, California, Texas, Arkansas, and South America.
Robert and Virginia Rausch collection
4,000 specimens primarily from northern latitudes and vouchering parasites housed in the MSB Division of Parasitology.