In the past four years I have led or co-led seminars (see below) to explore the use of natural history collections in undergraduate research with my colleagues Dr. Joe Cook (Professor & Curator of Mammals, University of New Mexico); Dr. Eileen Lacey (Professor & Curator of Mammals, University of California, Berkeley) and Dr. Scott Edwards (Professor & Curator of Birds, Harvard University) on the NSF-sponsored Research Coordination Network AIM-UP! (Advancing Integration of Museums into Undergraduate Programs). These seminars and classes have provided opportunities to integrate several kinds of information, to give the students both an appreciation of the complexity of issues involved in contemporary phylogenetic research using museum collections, and an overall historical context for how different disciplines of organismal biology address similar problems of morphological variation in a geographical context.Group2_AIM-UP!_sm
AIM-UP! Annual meeting meeting at Sevilleta, NM, 24 Jan. 2015.

Teaching modules I developed using museum collections:

  1. Plant Range and Distribution in Alaska
  2. Coal balls
  3. Stomatal Density and Climate Change

Check out some of these very inspiring videos on the use of collections in teaching, which have resulted from this RCN.

  1. Meet A Curator: Dr. Rick Williams
  2. Faculty Perspectives: The Value of Collections in the Classroom
  3. Student Perspectives: Collections as an Untapped Teaching Tool



BIOL644 Advanced Topics in Evolution: Biogeography – reconstructing patterns of diversification (Graduate student seminar, alternating Spring)

3 credits, Spring, Murie 230, web-enabled, M 2:15-5:15 p.m.

This graduate student seminar course will read and discuss a lot of the primary literature as it pertains to the subject, including mostly recent papers from within the last couple of years. We will consider the basic science of biogeographic inference, but we will also highlight in detail some of the software approaches currently being used in biogeographic inference (e.g., Lagrange, BEAST & BEAUTI, RASP) as well as bioinformatics computing portals such as CIPRES and the ARSC computing portal to run jobs.

MRAP288 Museum Research Apprenticeship (undergraduate course)




BIOL195 Introduction to Alaska’s Flora (Summer session undergraduate course)

BIOL 330 Systematic Botany (major’s course, alternating Spring)


BIOL644 Advanced Topics in Evolution: Biogeography – reconstructing patterns of diversification (Graduate student seminar, alternating Spring)

BIOL692 SEM: Human Dimensions of Natural History. A web-enabled seminar at UNM streamed to UAF, UC Berkeley and Harvard as part of AIM-UP! with participating institutions having students enrolled.

MRAP288 Museum Research Apprenticeship (undergraduate course)


BIOL692 SEM: Integrating Morphological and Geographic Variation into the Classroom, a web-enabled seminar at UAF streamed to University of New Mexico (UNM), UC Berkeley and Harvard as part of AIM-UP! with participating institutions having students enrolled.


BIOL 330 Systematic Botany (major’s course, Spring, UAF)