BU Today

Science & Tech

Animal, Vegetable, Collectible

BU’s biology archive shows a century of biodiversity

Click the player above to view a slide show about the teaching collection of plants and animals in the CAS biology department.


Any aspiring biologist can memorize the maxim, “Eyes on the side: hide; eyes in the front: hunt,” to distinguish predators in the animal world from their dinner. But to truly understand how animals are put together, nothing beats a firsthand look at its species. The Boston University Teaching Collection serves this purpose, providing thousands of specimens of plants, mammals, birds, and insects, many of which date back more than 100 years. Brought to the University by faculty conducting fieldwork around the world, the species in the collection help students learn about biodiversity and chronicle the changes in species throughout generations. “It gives us a look at what’s going on with these populations throughout time,” says Jessica Gonynor, the coordinator of the anatomy lab in the College of Arts and Sciences biology department.