Northern Arizona University and the Arizona Board of Regents have established a new center on campus that will focus on biodiversity teaching and research, and the Colorado Plateau Biodiversity Center will introduce itself to campus next week with festivities featuring speakers and refreshments.

The opening will be held at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 19, in front of the new science lab facility, building 17, on north campus.

The Colorado Plateau Biodiversity Center, approved earlier this year by the regents, strives to:

  • collect and document species of the Colorado Plateau and comparative species from other regions
  • interpret the natural world through education, research and public programs
  • promote understanding of the evolution and diversity of the Colorado Plateau
  • inspire a respect for biodiversity and the environment

“It is critical that we accelerate our efforts to document biodiversity and better understand how to mitigate against global change impacts,” said Neil Cobb, NAU assistant research professor. “The establishment of the center is a major step forward to promote research and education efforts to understand global change impacts on species and provide solutions to preserve biodiversity.”

In the planning stages for years, the multidisciplinary facility comprises seven Divisions of Life Sciences collections with over 400,000 specimens. These collections have been growing at Northern Arizona University since the 1920s for the purposes of supporting education and research within the Department of Biological Sciences.

The center supports 29 regular university courses across five NAU departments plus an array of undergraduate and graduate internships in education and research.