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  • LSU Museum of Natural Science

    Melanie Colón

    The museum's bird collection (more than 169,000 specimens) is the fourth-largest university-based collection in the world (behind Harvard, Berkeley, and Michigan). The museum's holdings of birds from Peru, Bolivia, the West Indies, and the Southeastern United States are the largest in the world, and the collection is among the 5-10 largest in the world from Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, and Argentina. The collection contains 140,000 skins, 22,000 complete skeletons, 8,000 fluid-preserved specimens, 12,000 stomach-content samples, and thousands of tape-recordings of bird vocalizations.


    Since 1978, more than 275 research publications (including 25 books) have been based wholly, or in part, on bird specimens in the LSU Museum of Natural Science. Several graduates of the LSU ornithology program have been presidents of leading North American scientific societies. Recent graduates of the LSU graduate program in ornithology are currently the research curators of some of the largest and most important bird collections in the world: the Smithsonian, the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, the Natural History Museum at the University of Kansas, the Bell Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota, and the Goeldi Museum in Brazil. LSU ornithologists are the world's experts on birds from several Latin American regions, including Peru and Bolivia, which together contain more species of birds than any other similar-sized region in the world. LSU is the only university museum in the world that has conducted ornithological field research in South America every year since 1962.

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