The Biodiversity Research and Teaching Collections’ curatorial and scientific staff conduct basic research in the fields of systematic biology, biodiversity science, and conservation. While curators, students, and staff in each division have specific research foci (see research pages), many projects bring together personnel from different divisions as collaborators. Graduate students affiliated with the BRTC are an integral part of our future, and conduct their own research as well as assist with general museum tasks. Undergraduate interns and volunteers from the University also contribute to collection maintenance and research.
East Wildlife Foundation Biodiversity Assessment – East Wildlife Foundation (EWF) has recruited the BRTC (Hibbitts, Light & Voelker) to perform a biodiversity assessment of terrestrial vertebrate fauna (amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals) throughout their properties in South Texas over 3 years. Thus far, over 100 mammal specimens have been captured, and more than 30 will be deposited into the mammal division. A total of 143 birds and 165 herps have been added to the collections from this project. Read more details here.
Dune Sagebrush Lizard Surveys – In 2010, Drs. Hibbitts, Fitzgerald, and Ryberg led a team a biologists in an effort to better understand the distribution of the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard in Texas. These surveys served to document the range of the lizard in Texas and the project has evolved into a larger, long term effort. The project is on-going with continued funding and partnership with the Institute for Renewable and Natural Resources (IRNR). The ultimate goal of the project is to facilitate continued and uninterrupted economic activity in the Permian Basin while promoting conservation of the lizard. Field surveys and telemetry projects are on-going in the western counties in which the lizard occurs.
Tissue Collection for Gulf of Mexico Fishes – With generous support from Sea Grant Texas, the BRTC is continuing to build its tissue collection for fishes from the Gulf of Mexico. Collaborative efforts between the BRTC and Dr. David Portnoy, Department of Life Sciences Texas A&M – Corpus Christi, have resulted in large numbers of fishes from the Gulf of Mexico (collected via NOAA trawls). Tissue samples from these specimens have contributed greatly to our rapidly growing tissue collection, initiated in 2010. It is anticipated that we will add 500+ tissues and associated vouchers to this collection on an annual basis. Voucher specimens are deposited in the Collection of Fishes.