The Biodiversity Institute’s worldwide collection of over 10 million specimens and 2 million archaeological artifacts encompass the study of archaeology, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, mammals, plants, fungi, parasites, insects, and fossil plants and animals. More than 100 research scientists and graduate students in the institute study biological species, ecosystems, evolution and cultural artifacts. They use this information to model and forecast environmental phenomena that are critical to human well-being, including threatened and endangered species, the potential spread of diseases and pest species, the effect of climate change on Earth’s biodiversity and habitats and more.
The KU Natural History Museum, part of the Biodiversity Institute, is home to four floors of public exhibits including the historic Panorama, live snakes and insects, a unique living Paleo Garden, vertebrate and invertebrate fossils, the flora and fauna of the Great Plains and more. The museum provides content-rich, hands-on informal science learning for school groups in grades K–12, KU student programs and a wide range of public programs and events for all ages.
Partnerships & Collaborations
Many Biodiversity Institute research scientists have joint appointments in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, dividing their time across teaching, research and service. Select students from the department are trained and mentored at the Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum, aiding in research and conducting their own.
The KU Museum Studies Program offers M.A. degrees and graduate certificates. Students gain hands-on experience at a variety of KU institutions and museums, including with the Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum.
The department offers undergraduate and graduate degrees. Students may receive hands-on training working with the Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum Archaeology collections.
KU Geology students may gain experience working with Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum Paleontology Collections. Additionally, some Biodiversity Institute scientists may hold joint appointments in other campus departments such as KU Geology.
The Kansas Biological Survey & Center for Ecological Research studies ecological systems, both terrestrial and aquatic, including the effects of human use. They also steward the vast KU Field Station, which is available to any KU person or group whose research, teaching or conservation interests are compatible with their mission to serve Kansas and the global environment through world-class ecological research, education and outreach.
The Commons at the University of Kansas is a catalyst for interdisciplinary inquiry and a space for unbounded learning, across systems of knowing. The Commons hosts projects and programs that address issues of global and local relevance.
The KU Office of Research supports KU designated research centers, researchers and students, and oversees proposals for external support of research, instructional, and service projects.