Systematics, Macroevolution and Biodiversity
The Systematics Program facilitates integrated, interdisciplinary research of all kinds (e.g., theoretical and applied systematics, biotic surveys and inventories, evolutionary and ecological investigations, informatics) that focuses on the discovery of the history and the nature of biodiversity. The Systematics Program reflects the interests and goals of many of the faculty who share joint appointments between the academic units (e.g., departments of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Geology) and the Natural History Museum & Biodiversity Research Center. In keeping with the goals of the research center, faculty and graduate-student research is based largely on its collections, which number about 7 million specimens. The museum and research center is a national leader among university institutions in biodiversity research--i.e., the discovery, documentation, and dissemination of knowledge of life on earth, past and present. The collections serve research needs in botany, entomology, herpetology, ichthyology, mammalogy, ornithology, and paleobiology. They are the basis for studies of the relationships of organisms, description of evolutionary patterns, and investigation of the mechanisms that produce the observed patterns. Personnel associated with the Systematics Program and research center have launched a national initiative in informatics. This emerging discipline uses information technology to access and integrate data describing the natural world--data that can be derived from systematic collections worldwide. Information technology, combined with computational analyses, allow us to identify patterns in nature and predict the effects of perturbations.
See our Research Areas page for other research foci in the department.