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Collections of the Division of Parasitology

Integrated Collections: A Hallmark of the Museum of Southwestern Biology.

A premier example of the integrated collection concept is the The Robert L. and Virginia R. Rausch collections that are part of both the Division of Parasitology and Division of Mammals at the Museum of Southwestern Biology. Bob and Reggie Rausch have donated a significant number of meticulously prepared specimens that they collected in over 55 years of fieldwork in remote sites principally in western North America (especially Alaska), Siberia, Mongolia, China, and elsewhere. More than 30,000 lots of parasites and 12,000 associated mammals from their work have been archived at MSB. These specimens form the initial core of the newly created Division of Parasitology in the Museum of Southwestern Biology. The Rauschs have been at the forefront of integrating research on the systematics, taxonomy, biogeography, epidemiology, and pathology of helminth parasites in vertebrate hosts. Their work on tapeworms (e.g., Echinococcus and Diphyllobothrium) and nematodes (e.g., Trichinella) emphasizes the interface between parasitology, public health, and the occurrence and distribution of pathogens in wild mammals. Combined with the holdings from the ongoing Beringian Coevolution Project (Joe Cook and Eric Hoberg) and trematode investigations in Sam Loker's laboratory, these specimens already form the 3rd largest collection of helminth parasites in North America.