The KU Biodiversity Institute is a research center with a worldwide collection of more than 8 million plants and animals that document the life of the planet, past and present, and 1.2 million archeological artifacts that document the past cultures of the Great Plains. Research and collections at the Biodiversity Institute encompass birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, mammals, plants, sea anemones, parasites, insects, and fossil plants and animals.
More than 120 scientists and graduate students in the institute study the species, ecosystems and cultures of the planet to understand the history, composition, geography and evolution of life. They use this information to model and forecast environmental phenomena that are critical to human well-being, including threatened and endangered species, the potential spread of diseases and pest species, and the effect of climate change on Earth’s biodiversity and habitats.
Current research includes:
- Tracking and predicting the spread of avian influenza and other animal-borne diseases worldwide
- Documenting the mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, insects and parasites from world’s biodiversity hotspots in parts of South America, Africa and Southeast Asia
- Using plant fossils as past climatic and environmental indicators, especially the use of fossil tree rings as proxy climate records
- Understanding the evolution of leaf beetles, which are part of the hunting culture of the San Bushmen of Namibia
- Reconstructing past climates and environments using fossil plants, particularly fossil tree rings
The Hall Center's primary mission is to stimulate and support research in the humanities, arts and social sciences, especially of an interdisciplinary kind, at the University of Kansas. The Center brings together faculty and graduate students with common interests from various disciplines to enable them to build on each others' ideas and to share their knowledge within the university and with the wider community.
The Center's collateral mission is to sponsor special programs that engage the university and the wider community in dialogue on issues that bring the humanities to bear on the quality of life for all citizens. It creates events on and beyond campus that seek to understand our past, present and future, our values and identities and the essential issues we face as individuals and communities.
The Spencer Museum of Art explores the capacity of art to spark curiosity, inspire creativity, and create connections among people. The Museum, located on the University of Kansas campus in Lawrence, houses an internationally-known collection that is deep and diverse, currently numbering more than 40,000 artworks and artifacts in all media.
The collection spans the history of European and American art from ancient to contemporary, and includes broad and significant holdings of East Asian art. Areas of special strength include medieval art; European and American paintings, sculpture and prints; photography; Japanese Edo-period painting and prints; 20th-century Chinese painting; and KU’s ethnographic collection, which includes about 10,000 Native American, African, Latin American and Australian works.
The Commons works with KU Research to foster interdisciplinary research at KU. KU, one of only 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities, is a major research university with a distinguished record of research collaboration promoted through independent, multidisciplinary research centers that focus on common themes. Research activity on the Lawrence campus is overseen by the Office of Research, and the KU Center for Research administers research grant and contracts.
The Commons offers opportunities to develop collaborations across campus for faculty and students. The Office of the Provost co-funds a Graduate Assistant position, which works to increase opportunities for graduate student engagement, with particular attention to underrepresented voices, with the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.
The Commons offers opportunities to develop collaborations across campus for faculty and students. The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences co-funds a Graduate Assistant position, which works to increase opportunities for graduate student engagement, with particular attention to underrepresented voices, with the Office of the Provost.