Texas Tech University

Natural Science Research Laboratory


Bat from the NSRL Mammal CollectionVoucher Birds from the NSRL Bird CollectionA try of butterflies and mothsInside a Liquid Nitrogen FreezerPicture Showing Standard Collecting SuppliesPacking a Loan

The Natural Science Research Laboratory (NSRL) is a division of the Museum of Texas Tech University committed to the mission of building and preserving a library of our planet's natural heritage for education and research purposes. The NSRL has been recognized as a leader in the development and use of innovative methodologies for biological collections care and data management.

The NSRL maintains four major natural history collections:  Mammals, Birds, Invertebrates, and Genetic Resources.  These collections are available to researchers at academic, scientific, and government institutions around the world for scientific investigation, discovery, and problem-solving in the natural sciences.  The causes and impacts of animal-borne diseases, parasites, climate change, habitat loss, geographic isolation, and natural evolutionary processes and speciation are just a few examples of the investigations that can be conducted utilizing specimens and tissues archived in the NSRL's collections.  Further, the resources of the NSRL are utilized by the academic and scientific communities to train and educate students at the undergraduate and graduate levels for careers in the natural sciences as well as museum science.  


May 2022  On-going research by Emily Wright, PhD candidate in Biological Sciences and student of NSRL Director Dr. Robert Bradley, was featured on the website of The Wildlife Society.  The article discusses the results of a recent publication by Wright et al. in Ecology and Evolution pertaining to the genetic profile of aoudad in Texas. This research was supported in part by the Texas Bighorn Society and the Wild Sheep Foundation, who donated funds for a liquid nitrogen freezer for the GRC in 2017.

May 2022  The NSRL and Lubbock Lake Landmark were assisted by Warren CAT in digging up the skeleton of a rhinoceros that had been buried on LLL property.  Read all about it and see more photographs here!  Also see the KCBD news story and videos here and here!

rhino dig

April 2022  Six undergraduate students associated with the NSRL recently presented posters at the TTU Undergraduate Research Conference, March 28–April 1.  Five students are working in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Bradley and are using NSRL tissues in their research: Vivienne Lacy, Emma McDonald, Madison Reddock, Anjali Aaluri, and Zoe Bixler.  The sixth student presenter, Shelby Hernandez, is a Plant and Soil Science major who is working at the NSRL with Dr. Jennifer Girón to curate and digitize the leaf beetles of the Invertebrate Zoology Collection.

March 2022  A new display of insect specimens from the NSRL's Invertebrate Zoology collection, entitled “Tiny and Mighty Creatures,” is now available for viewing in the Museum.  The display includes a QR code that directs visitors to photographs and fascinating information about insects, available here!

Tiny and Mighty Creatures

November 2021  The NSRL recently loaned a selection of taxidermy specimens to the Department of Natural Resources Management, TTU College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR), for display at CASNR's 94th Annual Pig Roast.  During the Pig Roast, CASNR honors individuals and competitive teams for their achievements over the past year, scholarship recipients, and outstanding leaders in the fields of agriculture and natural resources.  The event also provides an opportunity to thank the individuals and companies who have assisted CASNR through scholarship donations and program support.  This year, NSRL specimens were displayed in front of the venue stage and were a big hit with the attendees (more than 700 faculty, staff, students, alumni, and family members).  The theme for the stage display was native flora and fauna of playa wetlands on the Texas Southern High Plains, and the specimens provided by the NSRL included numerous wading birds, shorebirds, waterfowl, a bobcat, a turtle, and a curved-bill thrasher.  Outreach opportunities such as this celebration, which utilize the NSRL collections for engagement purposes, heighten public awareness and appreciation for the NSRL's mission of natural history research and education. Congratulations to Dr. Blake Grisham and colleagues for a successful event! 


October 2021  In the spirit of Halloween, Texas Tech Today featured a story about the "Terrors and Treasures" housed in the NSRL, including a spooky but fun video featuring the NSRL's collections.  The story focuses on the value of the NSRL for solving human health mysteries, understanding biodiversity changes over time, and more.

June 2021  The Journal of Mammalogy has recognized the recent paper by Soniat et al as its "Editor's Choice" selection in the most recent issue of the journal. The Editor's Choice article highlights the NSRL's research and the importance of natural history collections, especially genetic collections such as the Robert J. Baker Genetic Resources Collection.  The article also cites manuscripts by Bradley et al. 2020 and Phillips et al. 2019, which further signifies the NSRL as a leader in this field.  Taylor Soniat was a Master's student of Dr. Bradley.

May 2021  The NSRL's Genetic Resources Collection was featured in a recent article in The Academic Times, DNA galleries curated in liquid nitrogen preserve biological data for decades.