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Marshall University: Grant to Save State's Primary Natural History Collection

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Published on May 15, 2012

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Thanks to the work of a Marshall University biology professor, the nation's largest museum collection of mammals, amphibians and reptiles from West Virginia will be preserved for future generations.

Dr. Suzanne G. Strait has been awarded a $373,256 grant from the National Science Foundation to re-curate and modernize the West Virginia Biological Survey Museum, which is housed in the university's College of Science. Her colleague Dr. Thomas K. Pauley, also a professor of biology, is co-investigator on the grant.

The museum is located in the Science Building and comprises more than 21,000 specimens amassed over 70 years. According to Strait, nearly every species described in West Virginia is part of the collection, including many of those listed as federally endangered or at risk.

Additional plans include showcasing some exhibits in the hallways of the Science Building so the museum will be more visible, and developing outreach activities for elementary and secondary schools.

Strait has been teaching human anatomy at Marshall since 1993. In addition, she has taught systematics, mammalogy, museum curation and UNI 101. She previously completed another project, also funded through NSF, to develop an interactive 3-D image library of fossil specimens. That museum is available online at www.paleoview3D.org.

For more information, contact Strait at (304) 696-2425 or straitho@marshall.edu.

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