The ASU Natural History Collections are dedicated to supporting research in the disciplines of systematics, ecology, history, functional morphology, genetics, chemistry and whatever else we dream up. We are guided by the understanding that natural history collections, public education programs, research, and the world we live in are inexorably entwined. The ASU Natural History Museum's mission is to increase our understanding of, and appreciation for, our interconnected natural world.
Sustained by the School of Life Sciences and the International Institute for Speicies Exploration, the Natural History Collections are comprised of nine large collections that directly support the University's teaching, research, and public outreach functions. The collections are organized into four units: Lichen Herbarium, Vascular Plant Herbarium, Zoological Collections, and Paleobotany Collections. The Zoological Collections are in turn comprised of six major divisions: Herpetology, Ichthyology, Mammalogy, Entomology, Malacology, and Ornithology. Our holdings emphasize specimens from the arid southwest of North America, especially Arizona and Sonora. Collectively, our holdings rank among the largest collections of southwestern biota in the world. An irreplaceable gift from previous generations, these inimitable collections hold information essential to our understanding of both the past and the future. They hold answers to questions we have yet to conceive.
Many undergraduate and graduate courses in the School of Life Sciences rely heavily on collection resources. The collections directly support research not only by ASU faculty and students, but are regularly queried and visited by researchers from other institutions. Finally, the Natural History Collections routinely supports a broad variety of public outreach programs, both on and off campus. Collections personnel also serve the public by answering numerous queries (by telephone, e-mail, and in person) regarding species identification, habits, and basic biology.