back to news April 10, 2018

Record turnout at Museum of Biological Diversity Open House

Every year, the College of Arts and Sciences' Museum of Biological Diversity opens its doors to the general public for a day of biodiversity exploration and discovery.

During the event, the community gets a behind-the-scenes view of the museum's world-class collections — which comprise 9 million species including insects, mites, plants, fish, molluscs, birds and mammals — and meets the faculty, staff and students who study the flora and fauna of Ohio and beyond. This year's Open House was held on Saturday, April 7, bringing a record 3,000-plus visitors who spent the day fascinated by the museum's exhibits, which included a virtual tour of a bat skull, an "Arthropod Petting Zoo" and more.

Visitors at the 2018 Museum of Biological Diversity Open House

"The event draws an incredibly diverse crowd — families with small children, middle and high school science and scouting groups, Ohio State undergraduates and adults interested in biodiversity," said Meg Daly, director of the Museum of Biological Diversity and professor in the Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology

It is gratifying and energizing to see how much interest there is in science in the community."

The museum's primary mission is devoted to the preservation, documentation, scientific study and interpretation of biological diversity, and its vast collections enable state-of-the-art research by conservation biologists and student scientists from around the world.

"Our annual Open House lets us share the treasures of the Museum of Biological Diversity with the community," Daly said. "Although the organisms and activities are a big draw, our best asset are the students, staff and volunteers who help explain the importance of research collections and help excite our visitors about biodiversity."

Museum of Biological Diversity Open House 2018

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 Starling Sullivant, whose father was a founder of the city of Columbus. The Herbarium library includes the Rudolph collection; a rare book collection that contains old volumes (from the sixteenth century onward).


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.