Museum of Biological Diversity

The Ohio State University Museum of Biological Diversity (MBD) comprises the biological specimen collections at Ohio State (except fossils). Its primary mission is devoted to the preservation, documentation, scientific study, and interpretation of biological diversity and the training of the next generation of biodiversity scientists.

Both undergraduate and graduate students conduct research at the Museum, hold paid positions through research grants, and participate in unpaid internships.

Ohio State’s vast biological collections were not brought together under one roof until 1992. The working museum is closed to the public, except one day each year. In 2005, curators initiated the MBD Annual Open House. This lively celebration of biological diversity for kids of all ages shows the public that “It’s not just about dead things in jars.”

Museum Collections


The acarology collection is considered one of the best and most extensive tick and mite collections in North America. Over 150,000 determined, and more than one million undetermined specimens, are included, preserved either in alcohol or on microscope slides. The geographic range is worldwide.  The collections get extensive use during the annual Acarology Summer Program, the foremost training workshop in systematic acarology in the world.

Borror Lab of Bioacoustics

One of the leading collections of animal sounds in the United States. The laboratory’s collection now contains more than 23,000 recordings of 876 species of birds and more than 2000 recordings of 160 species of arthropods.  Recordings of mammal (96), amphibian (67), fish (3), and reptile (10) species are also part of the collection.


The museum’s Insect Collection is ranked among the top 12 university collections in North America. It comprises over 3.5 million catalogued specimens, including one of the world’s largest leaf-hopper collections


Houses over 500,000 collections of plant and fungal specimens.  The oldest, dating from 1840, was donated by William Sullivant, who helped establish Columbus as Ohio’s capital. The Herbarium library includes the Randolph collection; a rare book collecting that contains old volumes (from the sixteenth century onwards).


The Museum is organized into six divisions: Bivalve Molluscs, Crustaceans, Fishes, Gastropods and the General Collections, Higher Vertebrates and Parasitic Worms. The collections of unionid mollusks and pleurocerid snails are the most extensive of their kind known.


Focuses on the study of nutrient input and lower trophic levels and how these contribute to upper trophic level dynamics. Specifically, researchers investigate how nutrient input, phytoplankton, and zooplankton dynamics influence Fish Production in Large Lakes and Fish Hatchery Ponds.

Access to these world-class collections enables world class research by conservation biologists and their students from around the world.

Take a peek into the Museum of Biological Diversity, home to @OhioState's biological specimen collections #ASCDaily