Research At the Biodiversity Institute, about 100 scientists and graduate students study the planet's species, ecosystems and past cultures. Their work is critical to understanding the diversity of life and for predicting the future: changes in populations, threatened species, the spread of disease and the influence of pest species.

Software for Biological Collections photo

Software for Biological Collections: Specify

Specify is a biodiversity collections software platform for curating data associated with museum and herbarium specimens. The most important data from biological specimens indicate the identity of the species, the location where the organism was found and the date when it was collected. With those three vital pieces of information, biological specimens document the diversity, distribution and history of life on earth. Specify Software supports the digitization, processing and publishing of specimen information to meet the curatorial and research data needs of active biological collections.


In wake of 'super typhoon,' researchers return to Philippines

In November 2013, as Super Typhoon Haiyan produced landfall in the Philippines with the highest-ever recorded wind speed for a Category 5 tropical cyclone, it wreaked near complete devastation for miles. Now Rafe Brown, curator-in-charge of the Herpetology Division at the KU Biodiversity Institute, has secured a one particular-year, $125,000 award from the National Science Foundation designed to address a distinct need of higher urgency in a rapid time frame.

Bee in a flower

On the challenges of field work (and weather)

Of course, the last day at Villa Carmen is the day the sun shines. It is supposed to be the beginning of the dry season, yet we have had rain everyday. Only two days were dry enough in the afternoons for me to enjoy a sampling period. I had one full day of sampling without rain at the beginning of our stay here, and then there’s today. I am surveying the diversity of orchid bees, Euglossini. Some species are a beautiful metallic color; others are fuzzier and yellow and black striped. This is KU’s 4th season to survey these bees in this corner of the Amazon basin.

Graduate Education photo

Graduate Education

The Biodiversity Institute is one of the leading organizations in the United States training the next generation of biodiversity scientists and evolutionary biologists.