Museum software for collections

The Specify Project is a collaborative software support effort of the biological collections community.  Specify is a multi-platform, open source, collections data management application that is used in over 300 collections worldwide for specimen data processing.  Specify integrates over the Internet with other software services to facilitate the computerization and publishing of data associated with museum specimens.  Learn more.


Lifemapper is a geospatial data archive and  a set of computational services for mapping and modeling wild species distributions.  Lifemapper predicts where species could live based on where it has been documented to exist by museum collections. Species distribution models are useful for evaluating the biological consequences of climate change. The project also delivers open source, free, software tools for connecting its computing and visualization capabilities to desktop software applications.Go to the Lifemapper web site.

Genetic sequencing

The Biodiversity Institute offers genetic sequencing services for campus and regional researchers in their study of island biogeography, molecular systematic projects, or population studies. The laboratory features an AB 3730 genetic analyzer that processes 48 samples at a time in about two and a half hours and generates read lengths of up to 850 bases. Full service sequencing, injection-only services and microsatellite genotyping are also available. Learn more.

Fossil identifications

Have you found some interesting fossils but are unsure how to identify them? Are you confused about the difference between brachiopods and bivalves or crinoids and corals? Our researchers would be glad to help. Learn more.

K-12 Education

The professional educators at the KU Natural History Museum offer a wide variety of K-12 education programs, with subjects ranging from fossils and geology to DNA and particles in the subatomic world. Gallery Activities and School Workshops are appropriate for groups of 12-30 students. Learn more.

Graduate Education

The Biodiversity Institute includes 50-60 graduate students who conduct collection-based studies as part of their masters or doctoral degree programs. Students are typically enrolled in coursework through one of three academic departments: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Geology, or Geography. The Biodiversity Institute offers opportunities to graduate students for National Science Foundation support, global research and financial assistance through curatorial and research assistantships. Learn more.

Research Lectures and Symposia

The Biodiversity Institute, in partnership with the Kansas Biological Survey and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, offers the BIO3 Seminar Series. Speakers include scientists outside the university, KU faculty members, post-doctoral researchers and graduate students who are presenting information on their research. Often there is social time scheduled prior to the presentation. For times and a list of upcoming talks, see our calendar.

The Paleontological Institute

The Paleontological Institute is the global hub for the assembly and production of The Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology, the international encyclopedic reference for invertebrate paleontology. Established and endowed in 1947 by R. C. Moore, KU professor of geology, the institute has maintained continuous publication for 50 years. Its Treatise now comprises 49 volumes representing the scholarly work of more than 300 authors. Currently, there are about 12 volumes in various stages of production. For more information, visit the Paleontological Institute