About the Museum of Southwestern Biology
Through its world-class natural history collections, associated databases, and staff expertise, The Museum of Southwestern Biology (MSB) provides unparalleled research infrastructure and graduate training, authentic undergraduate experiences, and critical public-service and outreach to local, national, and international agencies and constituents. MSB promotes high-quality productivity at UNM through vibrant research programs that engage undergraduate and graduate students in the process of discovery.
The Museum of Southwestern Biology consists of seven divisions (Amphibians and Reptiles, Arthropods, Birds, Fishes, Genomic Resources, Herbarium, Mammals, and Parasites) and the Natural Heritage New Mexico program.
MSB collections are an informatics treasure trove for rigorous assessments of spatial and temporal change on our planet. Specimens span the last 120 years and represent biodiversity change across the globe (primarily western North America, Central and South America, but with significant holdings from Asia, Africa, Australia and Europe). Annually, our collections support a significant number of peer-reviewed publications (> 70 in 2013) and attract considerable grant dollars, metrics that attest to the fact that MSB is among the most productive research units on campus.
Web-accessible archives and databases constitute an unparalleled informatics resource contributing to applied efforts in conservation as well as theoretical advances related to unraveling the complexity of planetary life and related ecosystem function on local, regional, and global scales. Active research and graduate programs build comprehensive and integrated collections and then explore the breadth and depth of these samples and data. MSB Curators, Collection Managers, and an army of students strive to make these valuable collections accessible to UNM, to the broader scientific community, and to the general public. High profile facilities and activities such as these are hallmarks of top-notch research-intensive universities.
MSB is a leader at UNM in public service, especially activities related to thoughtful (science-based) management of dwindling natural resources. We are heavily involved with municipal, state and federal agencies through funded projects, many related to developing effective management plans for their respective regions. International organizations also rely on our data and expertise to help them design and implement public health initiatives. MSB has built a strong tradition in the public health arena in efforts related to identifying zoonotic pathogens and understanding the ecology of zoonotic diseases and wildlife diseases in the western US, but also in a number of international settings.
The Museum of Southwestern Biology documents, acts as a repository for, and interprets biological diversity in order to increase and disseminate knowledge of our natural environment.