100 Years Without the Passenger Pigeon


Great article on the 100-year anniversary of the Passenger Pigeon’s extinction!!! The University of Michigan Museum of Natural History (UMMNH) currently has an exhibit, commemorating the bird’s demise. The exhibit features several specimens deposited in the UMMZ.  Check out the UMMNH’s website for more information.

Super Pato shows advantages of whole-organism sampling


The use of voucher specimens often goes well beyond the initial intentions of the collector, such as the case of UAM 19003 (Anas cyanoptera, cinnamon teal). In a recent post by Kevin Winkler of the University of Alaska Museum of the North, UAM 19003 was shown to have been a part of 7 different publications, including several documenting avian influenza in South America. For another superb example of specimen longevity, see Dunnum and Cook 2012.

Entomologists Support Specimen Collections as Vital Component of Research


Today, the Entomological Society of America released a statement on the importance of scientific collecting in research. The statement was highlighted in a story in Entomology Today.

Is Collecting Animals For Science A Noble Mission Or A Threat?


NPR ran a story this morning on the recent debate on scientific collecting that merged after the publication of Minteer et al. in Science, which suggested that scientists were the cause of several extinctions. Our response (Rocha et al.), with over 130 co-authors, was published in favor of scientific collecting. The NPR story presented both arguments and includes interviews from both parties.

Food habits of ocelots and potential for competition with bobcats in southern Texas

We have been waiting on this one to come out for a little while. This paper was initiated by Susan D. Booth-Binczik of the Dallas Zoo. We examined a couple of hundred bags of ocelot and bobcat scat, which contained an array of small mammals, among other things, in South Texas. If you are interested in reading more, please follow this link.

UMMZ Specimens Featured in “Wild India”


Check out this story on the UMMZ specimens used for the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History’s “Wild India” exhibit!!! It featured several specimens from the Mammal Division.

Scientific collections play vital role in conservation biology

This story came from our co-authors at the University of Kansas and eloquently explains the importance of scientific collecting…



Here is the press release from the lead author’s (Luiz Rocha) institution on the importance of scientific collecting.

Collecting biological specimens essential to science and conservation

UMMZ Peromyscus Series.jpg

Here is the University of Michigan press release on the importance of scientific collecting.

Specimen collection: An essential tool

Alpheidae Shrimps

Please check out this new article in Science, regarding the importance of scientific collecting. It is a response to the Minteer et al. paper that was published a little over a month ago. It is co-authored by more than 100 scientists from nearly 60 institutions from all over the world, including 6 UMMZ researchers and several alumni.