Texas Tech University

Media and Resources

February 2023  Texas Tech students conducting NSRL-based research had a very good showing at the annual meeting of the Texas Society of Mammalogists, held 10-12 February 2023 at the TTU Center at Junction.  Danielle Deming, a Master's student of Dr. Warren Conway (conducting her research in the lab of Dr. Robert Bradley), won the TSM award for her oral presentation, “Coyote population estimation in the Mojave Desert region using noninvasive genetic sampling.”  Isham Azhar, a Master's student of Dr. Tigga Kingston (conducting his research in the lab of Dr. Caleb Phillips), won the Vernon Bailey Graduate Award for his poster, “Functional diversity of forest interior insectivorous bat communities decreases following forest fragmentation.”  And Sufia Neha, a Master's student of Dr. Bradley, won the Clyde Jones Graduate Award for her poster, “The effect of host phylogeny and diet on the rodent gut microbiome.”  In addition, Emily Wright, PhD candidate in the lab of Dr. Bradley, won the Mammal Challenge quiz!  Congratulations to all!

January 2023  On January 11, the NSRL marked its 50-year anniversary (1973–2023) with a celebration at the Museum.  The event included presentations by Dr. Robert D. Bradley, Director of the NSRL, and guest speaker Dr. Rodney L. Honeycutt, Professor Emeritus, Pepperdine University.  A report about the NSRL's 50 years of contributions in research, education, scholarship, collections growth and management, and engagement also was produced, as well as a timeline of the history of the NSRL.  Photos from the event will be available soon!  The NSRL extends a warm thank you to those who attended, and to all of our additional friends, supporters, and colleagues who have helped make the NSRL a successful and productive program.  We look forward to the next 50 years and beyond!

December 2022  Collaborative research by Dr. Robert D. Bradley, Director of the NSRL, Dr. Daniel M. Hardy of the Department of Cell Biology and Biochemistry at TTUHSC, two of Bradley's graduate students (Emma Roberts, now a post-doc in Dr. Bradley's lab and Emily Wright, PhD candidate), and Steve Tardif, a post-doc in Hardy's lab, was recently featured in the TTUHSC "Daily Dose", https://dailydose.ttuhsc.edu/2022/november/gene-evolution-research-genome-biology.aspx.  The article highlights the recent publication by Roberts et al. in Genome Biology  https://genomebiology.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13059-022-02721-y about their discovery of the first known prezygotic speciation gene (zonadhesin) in mammals. This research investigates the origin of a speciation gene across vertebrates, integrating a wide breadth of tissues from the NSRL. The team is also characterizing zonadhesin's role in speciation among mammals at different stages of divergence (older species, sister taxa, and hybrid individuals).

September 2022 On 13 September, the Museum and Texas Tech University Press hosted a book signing and presentation, open to the public, to celebrate the release of Texas Natural History in the 21st Century, authored by alumni and former TTU President Dr. David J. Schmidly, NSRL Director Dr. Robert D. Bradley, and NSRL Research Associate Lisa C. Bradley.  This book is a second, significantly updated, edition of Texas Natural History: A Century of Change (2002), and tells the story of Texas' biodiversity, current conservation challenges, and potential solutions to those challenges.  The well-attended event included a presentation by Dr. Schmidly and Dr. Bradley and a tour of the Museum's exhibit hall, "Biodiversity of the Llano Estacado."  Books were available for sale by TTU Press, and can be purchased online here.  


July 2022 Research Associates of the Natural Science Research Laboratory (NSRL) at the Museum of Texas Tech published new research on carpenter ants and their endosymbionts. Endosymbionts are microorganisms that live inside other organisms, and in many cases helping their hosts obtain nutrients. The team studied the effect of the demography and evolutionary history of the host ants on the molecular evolution of their endosymbionts. Representative specimens from the ant colonies used in this study are now housed at the Invertebrate Zoology Collection of the Museum of Texas Tech. The paper was published in the journal Ecology and Evolution and authored by Dr. Joseph Manthey, professor of the Biology Department at TTU, Jack Hruska, doctoral candidate of the Biology Department at TTU, and Dr. Jennifer Girón, acting collections manager of the Invertebrate Zoology Collection of the Museum of Texas Tech. The complete paper is available open access at: https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.9026 

 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 https://www.warrencat.com/ 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!


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!

insect exhibit

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.

June 2020  Texas Tech Today article, Researchers Say Genetics May Determine Wound Infection and Healing, focuses on cutting edge research by a team that includes the NSRL's Curator of Genetic Resources Caleb Phillips and his doctoral student Craig Tipton. The PLOS Pathogens publication that resulted from this research can be found here.

March 2020  The TTU Department of Arts and Sciences is currently featuring an article about Dr. Robert Bradley's former students who now work for the CDC, and the value of their training and experiences at the NSRL in preparing them for their careers. Within that article are links to additional stories on the Marburg virus, rabies, and the value of research abroad.

12 October 2019  The NSRL-based exhibit, Frozen in Time: Genetic Resource Collections, will be open for public viewing through 12 January 2020. 

11 October 2019  A memorial volume in honor of Dr. Robert J. Baker was published.

14 November 2018   The Invertebrate Zoology Collection is now available for loan requests.

15 August 2018   A professional obituary for Robert J. Baker, authored by Hugh Genoways et al., has been published in the August issue of the Journal of Mammalogy.

25 April 2018   The NSRL exhibit Grasslands of North America and Africa, now open at the Museum of TTU, is highlighted in this local news segment

12 May 2017   VNSRL Director Robert Bradley recently was honored for being a mentor of women in science. Awards granted by Association for Women in STEAM.

February 2017   Video that offers a look into the NSRL! Discover Texas Tech: Natural Science Research Laboratory

January 2017   Bats and Rats: A Deeper Look into Research at the NSRL – This article in Texas Tech Today highlights current research projects of NSRL Curator of Genetic Resources Caleb Phillips, NSRL Faculty Associate Richard Stevens, and NSRL Faculty Associate Liam McGuire.

January 2017   Texas Tech's NSRL: Where the Wild Things Are – This article in Texas Tech Today, the official news source for Texas Tech University, features the NSRL and the value of its collections for research. Includes interviews with Dr. Robert D. Bradley and Dr. David Ray.

September 2016  South Plains skunks out and about in "fall shuffle" – A Lubbock Avalanche-Journal newspaper article about skunks. Includes an interview with Dr. Robert Bradley, Director of the NSRL.

May 2016  A Design for Blood – This article in Texas Tech Discoveries, an online magazine by the TTU Office of the Vice President for Research, highlights the work of Dr. Caleb Phillips, Curator of the GRC, and former NSRL Director Dr. Robert J. Baker, to determine the genetic basis for the unique anticoagulant properties of vampire bat saliva.

May 2016  Chupacabra sighting in Hockley County? The Legend Continues in West Texas - Dr. Bradley, Director of the NSRL, discusses the myth of the chupacabra with KAMC news (Lubbock) following a recent sighting in Hockley County

April 2016  On 30-year Anniversary of Chernobyl Disaster, Texas Tech Biologists were interviewed by local media regarding their research using radioactive specimens archived at the NSRL –

August 2015  NSRL: A Look Inside video - A YouTube video, produced by Daniel Tyler with NSRL staff, that provides an overview of what the NSRL is all about.

2014  NSRL Fieldtrips – This link downloads an MP4 movie(~ 5 minutes long; 162 MB) created in 2014 based on a PowerPoint slideshow originally created by Peter Larsen in 2008 with updates from more recent field trips. The video highlights the wildlife, landscapes, people, and research conducted during various NSRL expeditions from 1994 to 2007 in the American Southwest, Mexico, Ecuador, Malaysia, and more.

May 2013  Texas Tech Research Played Key Role in 1993 Hantavirus Epidemic - A YouTube video, featuring Dr. Robert J. Baker and Dr. Robert D. Bradley, discussing the NSRL's role in understanding the source of Hantavirus and its mode of transmission to humans.

February 2013  Cool Jobs: Museum Science – A website article by Science News for Students about the value of natural history collections for scientific research; includes a discussion of the NSRL and research by Dr. Baker and Dr. Bradley on hantaviruses and other rodent-borne diseases.

November 2010  Texas Tech Researcher Documents New Arachnid – A YouTube video highlighting NSRL Curator of Invertebrates James Cokendolpher's discovery of a new pseudoscorpion species from Yosemite National Park

Natural Science Research Laboratory