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    Collections in the
    MSB Division of Fishes

    The mission of the MSB Division of Fishes is to document the ichthyofaunal history of the State of New Mexico and the American Southwest.

    The long-term goal of the MSB Division of Fishes is to maintain, in perpetuity, the collection of fishes and supporting documents by using sound curatorial techniques and archiving the collections in optimal storage conditions. We strive to ensure that these collections will be available to future generations of ichthyologists and members of the scientific community.

    Short-term goals of the MSB Division of Fishes are to encourage and foster UNM student and faculty research in ichthyology or museum studies; provide assistance to other researchers interested in the ecology of New Mexico fishes and fishes of the southwestern U.S.; provide information on New Mexico fishes to the general public.

    Collection Description:
    The MSB serves a region in North America noted for a wide range of ecotypes and elevational gradients, from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Basin and the Great Plains, with the convergence of three major deserts, the Chihuahua, Sonora, and Mojave.  The fish fauna of New Mexico (and the southwestern US) is characterized by high endemism, diversity, and remarkable physiological tolerances. Our collections are particularly valuable because aquatic habitats in the region are declining as demands on water increase due to agricultural and population growth. The MSB collection of fishes provides a 70-year window on the natural history of New Mexico's imperiled native fishes and aquatic systems. The MSB has over 63,000 catalogued lots of fishes (2,773,115 specimens), representing 59 families, 165 genera, and 330 species, collected between 1938 and 2008. Tissues and whole fishes (with vouchers) are available for genetic studies and are maintained at –80o C or in 95% EtOH.

    The MSB Division of Fishes does not hold holotypes. In the past, MSB fishes has divided its collections of paratypes with other permanent fish collections or collections with “international” status.

    To learn more about the location of other North American fish collections and their specialties, view the following paper (pdf):

    Poss, S. and B.B. Collette. 1995. Second survey of fish collections in the United States and Canada. Copeia (1): 48-70 [1400 kb]

    William J. Koster Field Journals