The Laboratory for Environmental Biology collections originated as departmental teaching and research collections in the early 1960s. Between the mid-1960s and the early 1970s, the collections were formalized under the name Museum of Arid Land Biology (acronym MALB). In 1976, organizational changes instituted by the university resulted in the renaming of the collections and associated activities as the Laboratory for Environmental Biology (acronym UTEP, though locally called the "LEB"). In July of 1993, the Laboratory became associated with the University of Texas at El Paso's Centennial Museum through a memorandum of understanding. In August of 2012, the LEB was renamed as the UTEP Biodiversity Collections (the acronym UTEP has been retained).

Some 160,000 curated specimens plus a major collection of ants form the base for research by Collections and Centennial Museum personnel; by graduate and undergraduate students from the University of Texas at El Paso; and, through loans and visitation, graduate students and professionals from other institutions.

Collections primarily are in the area of modern vertebrate biology (amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals); mollusks, both modern and dating from the last Ice Age; fossil vertebrates from the last 2 million years; and plants. In addition, some specialized arthropod material, including a major collection of ants, is held. The collections have a regional emphasis, but also contain material from outside the Southwest, particularly from Mexico.

The research collections are maintained in the Biology Building, with the Lab center in Room 222.

Visitors who wish to use the collection should contact the appropriate curator or the collections manager, familiarize themselves with the UTEP Biodiversity Collections Policies and Procedures and sign the Disclosure on page 3.

Several collections are online on a limited basis: Ornithology, Mammalogy, Plants, and Paleobiology.


Last Update: 26 Apr 2016