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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.


One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
1 of 9 public universities with outstanding study abroad programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
$275 million in externally funded research expenditures
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times