Research at the Museum of Southwestern Biology
The Museum of Southwestern Biology houses collections of the natural world that document more than a century of environmental change and span broad spatial scales, representing western North America, Central and South America. We also have significant holdings from Asia, Africa, Australia and Europe. MSB consists of eight divisions (Amphibians and Reptiles, Arthropods, Birds, Fishes, Genomic Resources, Herbarium, Mammals, and Parasites), Natural Heritage New Mexico and the USGS Arid Lands Field Station and Collections.
MSB curators have active research and graduate programs that exploit the wealth of specimens and data in the collections. Unlike other faculty, they also commit considerable effort to build a shared resource for the scientific community. Curators and collection managers then strive to make these valuable collections and data accessible to other UNM faculty and students and to the broader scientific community. Such facilities are a hallmark of top-notch research-intensive universities.
MSB provides a key part of the scientific infrastructure necessary for investigators interested in understanding environmental and health issues facing society such as emerging zoonotic pathogens, climate change, invasive species, habitat conversion, and decreasing biodiversity. Annually, the large number of peer-reviewed publications (> 80) supported by our collections attests to their value. This level of research activity places MSB among the most productive research units on campus. Our web-accessible databases constitute an unparalleled informatics resource that contributes to understanding the complexity of planetary life and related ecosystem function on local, regional, and global scales.