Biodiversity on the Colorado Plateau

Biodiversity of the Colorado Plateau

In 1889, C. Hart Merriam and his expedition conducted extensive ecological surveys of the Colorado Plateau. The biologists and ecologists of the Museum of Northern Arizona seek to build upon this seminal body of knowledge in order to understand the diversity and complexity of the biota of this wonderfully diverse landscape.

The Ecology and Conservation division of MNA collects, curates, and manages vertebrate, invertebrate, and botanical specimen from throughout the Colorado Plateau region.  To date we have over 300,000 invertebrate, 22,500 vertebrate, and 35,000 botanical specimens. These specimens are available to researchers studying taxonomy and biodiversity.  All specimens are carefully preserved and cataloged in a digital database.  The digital databases allow for complex queries and analysis to assist with biodiversity studies.

Current biodiversity projects being conducted by MNA staff include a book of the butterflies of Grand Canyon, and papers on herpetofauna, land snail, Tenebrionid beetle, and Vespid wasp diversity throughout the Grand Canyon Ecoregion as well as ant diversity in the Grand Canyon.  Curator, Dr. Larry Stevens, also serves as the Coordinator for the All Taxa Biological Inventory (ATBI) for Grand Canyon National Park.