The mission of Bioscience Collection is to provide collections of plants, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, insects and mollusks that represent the natural history of New Mexico and southwestern North America (United States and Mexico), and to serve as a safe repository for in-house research specimens. These collections are used for education, research and exhibits. We also have an extensive photographic slide collection of New Mexico plants and birds. The staff consists of one curator, a collection manager and seven dedicated volunteers.
As of 2011, the approximate numbers of catalogued specimens in each of the collections are as follows: Mammals 6,200, Birds 400, Arthropods 6,000, Mollusks 13,500, Reptiles and Amphibians 50, and Plants 3,100.
The majority of biological specimens are voucher specimens resulting from research (mammals and mollusks) conducted by Museum staff. The bird collection consists entirely of salvage specimens. Museum staff and volunteers have collected and developed the plant collection. The insect collection is primarily donated collections from various Museum and non-Museum researchers. The mollusk collection consists of several donated collections and Museum staff research collections. Frozen tissue of mammals, birds and mollusks for genetic study are currently being transfered to the Museum of Southwestern Biology at the University of New Mexico. Once the transfer is complete, frozen tissue will be available for loan again.
There have been approximately 20 publications in peer-reviewed journals and one NMMNH Bulletin published on specimens in the Collection.
Banner Image: Brilliant blossoms of the Claret Cup Cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatus). This is a species associated with the Chihuahuan Desert in southern New Mexico.