Founded in 2007, the mission of the ABS NSF-IGERT Program is threefold: (1) to develop a multi-disciplinary doctoral program that focuses on biodiversity science and conservation; (2) to provide funding and mentoring for students enrolled in the program; (3) to build a community of scholars involved in biodiversity science and conservation.
Texas A&M University’s nationally-recognized Ecological Integration Symposium features cutting-edge scientists who are at the forefront of ecological research, attracting faculty, students, NGOs, government agencies and the public.
The Spatial Sciences Laboratory strives to develop and support excellence in research and teaching in areas of advanced spatial analysis, spatial data handling, Geographic Information Systems, Global Positioning Systems, and Remote Sensing. The lab applies spatial models, procedures, and processes to address natural resource issues.
The SIBS lab conducts isotopic analysis of organic and inorganic materials. These include plant tissues across spatial and temporal gradients, animal tissues with different origins or from different species, soils recording carbon and nitrogen cycle processes, water from throughout the hydrologic cycle, and atmospheric gases that participate in many biosphere processes.
The Biodiversity Research and Teaching Collections (BRTC; formerly the Texas Cooperative Wildlife Collection) is a natural history collection of specimens including amphibians, reptiles, fishes, mammals, birds, parasites, and marine invertebrates held in the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M University College Station. Specimens and their data are deposited with us by faculty, students, researchers and affiliates. These resources are available for use by the scientific community. Visit our collections pages to learn more about each division.
The Insect Collection (Dept. of Entomology) contains over 2.6 million specimens of both insects and related arthropods, representing over 45,000 species. The collection is particularly strong in material from the southern and southwestern U.S. and the northern Nearctic region, particularly México, but it has worldwide representation in many groups of interest to researchers. The collection is actively used by faculty, staff and students in Entomology and many other departments and agencies at Texas A&M (AgriLife Research, AgriLife Extension), as well as agencies statewide (TDA, TPWD) and nationally (USDA/APHIS, USFS). It is a primary resource for researchers worldwide, and it participates in many teaching and outreach activities. The collection has received substantial support from NSF for digitization and collections-development projects.
A network of thirteen Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Centers spans the state, providing EEB members with research, teaching, and outreach opportunities across diverse ecoregions. Focal areas of these investigations include, but are not limited to, plant-animal interactions, food web assembly rules, population dynamics, community structure and function, ecosystem processes, non-native species invasions, endangered species conservation, mutualistic interactions between plants and fungal endophytes, fire and grazing ecology, habitat restoration and sustainable land management strategies, ecological drivers of water quality and groundwater recharge, implications of extreme weather events such as drought, and host of other studies examining a variety of critical ecosystem services. These studies contribute insights into fundamental ecological processes while providing conservation and management solutions for a variety of natural resource challenges. These efforts address not only the scientific interests of individual researchers, but also help to establish interactions between faculty and students from the main campus with a variety of colleagues and societal stakeholders throughout the state, which is an important aspect of the land-grant university mission. For example, the Texas A&M AgriLife Genomics and Bioinformatics Service based in College Station provides next generation sequencing and bioinformatics services to EEB researchers across the Texas A&M System and beyond. In addition, field experiments on the ecological effects of fire, water, and pest management regimes have been conducted at numerous Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Centers in collaboration with resident scientific and extension personnel.
The S. M. Tracy Herbarium originated in the early 1930’s based on collections of several individuals, particularly Samuel Mills Tracy (1847-1920). Of the 188 extant herbaria in the southern United States, the S. M. Tracy Herbarium ranks 10th in size, and is the 3rd largest herbarium in Texas. The collection currently houses nearly 300,000 specimens and adds approximately 2500 – 3000 new accessions per year. The type collection at TAES consists of 199 specimens, of which, 130 are Poaceae, 19 Asteraceae, 17 Cyperaceae, and includes 15 holotypes.
A substantial portion of the specimens are in the Poaceae family. This represents the largest collection of grasses in Texas, and one of the largest regionally. Due in large part to these grass holdings, TAES was designated a National Resource Collection in 1979. Other vascular plant families with significant representations are the Asteraceae (ca. 20,000), Cyperaceae (ca. 11,000), Fabaceae (ca. 7000), Euphorbiaceae (ca. 3000), Rosaceae (ca. 3000), and Juncaceae (ca. 1000). Increasing the taxonomic breadth of the collection, in recent years TAES has added a substantial number of bryophyte collections (ca. 6,000) to its holdings. In addition, TAES also houses the largest collections of fungi (ca. 1750) and algae (ca. 900) of any herbarium in Texas.
The geographic distribution of the collection encompasses every continent, including Antarctica, although the majority of accessions are from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America. The primary geographic emphasis of the collection is Texas, the southern United States and northern Mexico. TAES is also the designated voucher repository for several National Park Service units: Big Thicket National Preserve, Padre Island National Seashore, Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site, Natchez Trace National Parkway. In recent years, these active agreements have resulted in nearly 13,000 accessions alone. Various other state and federal agencies also utilize TAES as a repository for vouchers resulting from their research activities (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA-NRCS).
There are several active research projects carried out at the Herbarium aiming at consolidating and expanding the collection.