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Oklahoma State University

OSU receives grant to update fish, amphibian, reptile collection

Tue, August 11, 2015
Karen McBee, OSU integrative biology professor and curator of the COV, will oversee the renovations to the fishes, amphibians and reptile collection. Photo by Jamie Hadwin, OSU College of Arts & Sciences.
The Oklahoma State University Department of Integrative Biology recently received a $422,000 National Science Foundation grant to use toward renovations for the department’s Collection of Vertebrates (COV) natural history museum. 
In 2010, the department updated the facilities housing the COV’s mammal specimens. With this latest grant, it can now update the facilities housing the fish, amphibian and reptile specimens.
Over the next two years, Dr. Karen McBee, an OSU integrative biology professor and curator of vertebrates, will oversee the renovations.
“The collection of vertebrates has been around since the 1930s,” McBee said. “It began primarily as a private collection from professors and was used for teaching purposes. Now we use it for teaching, research and community outreach, so we needed a better environment to store this collection.”
The department’s budget allows for basic day-to-day maintenance of the COV, but the recent grants provided the first large influx of money for the department to implement more extensive maintenance and renovations. 
With more than 600,000 species, many of the COV’s specimens are loaned for research worldwide. The new facilities will be important to preserve and maintain the entire collection and some of its more unique specimens, such as one of the world’s best collections of Nepalese fish. 
The mission of the OSU Collection of Vertebrates is to house collections as documentation of the vertebrate history and biodiversity of Oklahoma, the United States and regions of the world where OSU faculty and students conduct research. Long-term conservation of the collection will ensure it is available for educational, research and outreach purposes. For more information, please visit the Integrative Biology department website