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

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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

Natural Resources Management

Invasive Sedge in New Mexico

An exotic sedge native to China was relatively recently introduced to New Mexico. Thanks to efforts from volunteers like Missy Bacigalupa and Ali Fretz we now know a bit more about this species that was, until now, unreported in North America. By documenting what’s new in our state’s flora and sending specimens to herbaria nationwide we can alert a wider audience to this species presence that colonizes newly formed and established wetlands. Annual plants can colonize an area quite quickly when conditions are right. This state land office wetland was established only 4 or 5 months prior to this exotic species setting seed. Many exotic plants don’t cause significant perceivable disruptions in the communities they invade but it is important to document their presence and ecological impact as best we can.
Ali Fretz

Recovery of Gila Trout Following Wildfire

The enormous 2012 Whitewater-Baldy Complex Wildfire severely negatively impacted nearly every wild population of Gila trout. There are important ecological questions relating to restoration of this iconic New Mexican native trout; for example, how have stream habitats changed in response to fire and how long will it take until streams in burned areas can support fish? Another important question is how to ensure long-term survival of the species by restoring streams with captive-spawned fish such that genetic diversity is maximized and maintained while preserving genetic distinctiveness? Together with federal and state agency partners, researchers from the MSB Division of Fishes are using genetic approaches to aid in restoration and recovery of Gila trout. Distinct evolutionary lineages of Gila trout showed reduced genetic diversity post-fire, but previously undiscovered diversity was present in the Iron Creek lineage of Gila Trout. We have a unique opportunity to restore this lineage through careful breeding practices in the hatchery prior to stocking because the threat of hybridization and competition from non-natives has been eliminated in Iron Creek. We also consider the genetic benefits of stocking all Gila River lineages to Upper West Fork of the Gila River to restore a natural meta-community (connectivity and gene exchange across lineages). Thus, the Whitewater-Baldy Fire presented big challenges and some new opportunities for recovery of iconic Gila trout.

whitewater-baldy wildfire
Gila trout