Our Collections

Collections

For more than 140 years, KU scientists and students have collected and studied life on Earth. We now care for more than 8 million specimens of plants and animals — prehistoric to living species, microscopic to colossal — gathered from every continent and ocean, as well as 1.2 million archeological artifacts that document the past cultures of the Great Plains. Our collections include DNA samples, sound recordings, images, tissues, skeletons and field notes. Ours is one of the world’s most comprehensive biodiversity research resources.

Archaeology

(past cultures)
Web site

Established: 1895
Number of Specimens: 1.5 million artifacts
Curator(s):
Mary Adair 785.864.2675

Botany

(Plants)
Web site

Established: 1866
Number of Specimens: 400,000 specimens
Curator in Charge:
Craig Freeman 785.864.3453
Curator(s):
Mark Mort 785.864.5706

Entomology

(Insects)
Web site

Established: 1870
Number of Specimens: 4.7 million specimens
Curator in Charge:
Michael Engel 785.864.2319
Curator(s):
Caroline Chaboo 785.864.5173
Andrew Short 785.864.2323

Herpetology

(Amphibians and Reptiles)
Web site

Established: 1900
Number of Specimens: 330,000 specimens
Curator in Charge:
Rafe Brown 785.864.3403
Curator(s):
Richard Glor

Ichthyology

(Fishes)
Web site

Established: 1864
Number of Specimens: Geographically and taxonomically diverse tissue collection of 9,500 fishes: 660,000 preserved fishes with an emphasis on the midwest: significant osteological preparations.
Curator(s):
Leo Smith

Invertebrate Paleontology

(Fossil Mollusks, Trilobites, Brachiopods, Crinoids and Corals)
Web site

Established: 1884
Number of Specimens: 900,000 specimens
Curator(s):
Bruce Lieberman 785.864.2741

Invertebrate Zoology

(Sea Anemones, Corals, Jellyfish, Mollusks and Worms)
Web site

Established: 1993
Number of Specimens: hundreds of specimen lots of sea anemones, medusozoans, mussels, land snails, crayfish, earthworms and many other invertebrate specimens
Curator(s):
Daphne Fautin 785.864.3062

Mammalogy

(Mammals)
Web site

Established: 1866
Number of Specimens: 169,000 specimens
Curator(s):
Robert Timm 785.864.3047

Ornithology

(Birds)
Web site

Established: 1873
Number of Specimens: 107,000 specimens
Curator in Charge:
Robert Moyle 785.864.1870
Curator(s):
A. Townsend Peterson 785.864.3926

Paleobotany

(Fossil Plants)
Web site

Established: 1888
Number of Specimens: 90,000 lots with an estimated 400,000 specimens
Curator in Charge:
Edith Taylor 785.864.3621
Curator(s):
Thomas Taylor 785.864.3625

Parasitology

(Parasites of Sharks and Rays)
Web site

Established: 2005
Curator(s):
Kirsten Jensen 785.864.5826

Vertebrate Paleontology

(Fossil Fishes, Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds and Mammals)
Web site

Established: 1890
Number of Specimens: 150,000 specimens