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Research Collections

In addition to our public exhibits, the Bean Museum is home to several research collections for use by BYU faculty and the larger academic community. If you would like more info on a particular collection, you can contact one of the curators. You can also get info on policies and loans, or view a list of our scholarly publications, by clicking the following links:

Policies and Loans Publications

Collection Info


  • Randy Larsen - Curator
  • Wesley Skidmore - Assistant Curator
  • Clayton White - Emeritus Curator

Specimens: 10,932

The museum's bird collection contains more than 10,000 specimens with representation from all orders and most bird families found in the world. Of particular value is a large collection of peregrine falcons collected from across the globe, several hundred hummingbirds from South American, and major representation of species found in western North America. The museum also houses an oological collection of more than 2,300 bird egg clutches.

Note: The Utah County Birders meet every 2nd Thursday of the month from 7-8:30 PM at the Bean Life Science Museum in the orientation theater behind the information desk.

Lytle Preserve Checklist Utah County Checklist

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John Bell - Curator

Specimens: 6,500
Frozen tissues: 5000
Major groups represented:
Aeglidae - 300
Astacidae - 40
Cambaridae - 2,000
Parastacidae - 200

Geographic representation: Worldwide coverage

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The museum's fish collection contains more than 150,000 specimens. The collection includes fishes from throughout the world with emphasis on western North American and South and Central America. It includes a large collection of native western trout and Central American live-bearing fish.The collection also contains extensive alcohol-preserved tissues, frozen tissues, and DNA archives from western North American fishes.

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Insects and Arachnids

  • Michael Whiting - Curator
  • Riley Nelson - Assistant Curator
  • Shawn Clark - Collections Manager
  • Richard Baumann - Emeritus Curator
  • Mike Hastriter - Research Associate
  • Selby Herrin - Research Associate

The insect and arachnid collection is comprised mainly of pinned specimens, but there are also major alcohol and slide collections. The collection serves as a library of insects and arachnids for western North America. It is a valuable historical collection and serves as an important voucher depository. BYUC is registered as the official acronym for the collection by the Entomological Collections Netword (ECN), a national organization.

Geographic representation: Worldwide coverage; emphasis on western North America

Specimens: 2,000,000+
Type specimens: 72
Major groups represented:

  • Coleoptera - 1,000,000
  • Diptera - 50,000
  • Aquatic orders
    • Plecoptera (40,000 - world's largest collection)
    • Trichoptera
    • Ephemeroptera
  • Siphonaptera - 25,000
  • Orthoptera - 25,000
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The lichen and bryophyte collection, one of the largest in North America, contains more than 105,000 specimens, including more than 100 type collections. Specimens are primarily from the western United States, but some worldwide collections are also represented. Many specimens have been obtained in connection with air-quality biomonitoring surveys in western U.S. wilderness areas and national parks. This collection also includes more than 1,500 archival elemental analysis samples.

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Specimens: 41,300 (400 uncatalogued)
Frozen tissues: 11,200

Geographic representation: Emphasis in the Great Basin (especially Utah and Nevada) and Mexico.

Accredited by the American Society of Mammalogists (1991)

The collection includes skins, skulls, skeleton, tissue slides, paraffin tissue blocks, and trophies. It also houses the collection that was formerly at Utah State University as well as a portion of the University of Illinois Museum of Natural History collection (specimens from Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and Mexico).

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John Bell - Curator

Specimens: 42,962

Major groups represented: Gastropods and Bivalves

Geographic representation: Mostly from the troimages and subtroimages. Some temperate specimens as we as some fresh water specimens from Utah.

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Reptiles and Amphibians

Jack Sites - Curator

Specimens: ~ 39,500
Types: 36
Paratypes: 27


Species: 1,689
Genera: 567
Families: 95

Geographic Coverage: Global, but with main strengths in the continental US (especially the Great Basin/Intermountain West, and a secondary strength in the Appalachian region); collections are extensive for much of Latin America (especially Mexico and Argentina); west and central Africa; southeast Asia & South Pacific Islands; Madagascar; and Australia.

Dr. Wilmer Tanner's Publications

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Vascular Plants

Specimens: 600,000+
Type specimens: ~2,000
Major Groups:

  • Ferns & Fern Allies
  • Gymnosperms
  • Flowering Plants

Geographic Representation

Geographic representation is world wide, with strong emphasis on the Great Basin & Intermountation West. The Herbarium is recognized as a major regional center for the study of Western American plants and is equally important as resource for student research and learning.

Research Projects

Current & recent research projects include threatened and endangered species, species delimitation, and phylogeography in western North America and Patagonia.

Data Access

The herbarium is incompletely databased. Access to a limited set of specimen photos is possible through the University’s Lee Library, with label data available through the Intermountain Region Herbarium Network. Improving both resources in a vigorous area of current herbarium activity. Inquiries for additional data can be made to the Collections Manager or Curator.

Search Specimen Photos Search Specimen Records

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