Museum of Southwestern Biology
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


Museum of Southwestern Biology
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

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

International Initiatives

Species Discovery in the Guiana Shield

Discovery of new species is one of the main goals of the field of insect systematics. Insects include nearly a million species (about 2/3 of all known species of life), but vast numbers of unknown species remain to be discovered. Kelly Miller (UNM faculty), his students, and colleagues at the University of Kansas and the Museo del Instituto de Zoologia Agricola, Maracay, Venezuela, have found a remarkable undiscovered diversity of water beetle species in northern South America’s Guiana Shield Region. In research supported by a Surveys and Inventories grant from the National Science Foundation, the team has discovered about 500 species of water beetles new to science in Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana and French Guiana. Many of these species are found in unique “hygropetric” habitats where thin films of water flow over rock, such as at the edges of waterfalls. Species discovery and description is a crucial first step to understanding their biology and ecology. 

guiana shield discoveries

Collaborations with Mongolian and Russian Researchers

Over the past decade, the MSB Mammal Division has initiated a series of international collaborative projects in Panama, Uruguay, Chile, Costa Rica, Canada, Russia, and Mongolia. These efforts have translated to a number of opportunities for student training in international settings and resulted in a number of publications. Brooks Kohli (MS 2013 UNM) and his colleagues (Russian) examined the Holarctic northern red-backed vole (Myodes rutilus) to improve our understanding of how dynamic, northern high-latitude environments have affected the genetic diversity, demography and distribution of boreal organisms. In a second paper, Kohli and his colleagues (Mongolian) explored higher level evolutionary relationships of arvicoline rodents.

Brooks Kohli