Towson University Biodiversity Center

The Towson University Biodiversity Center houses over 100,000 specimens of preserved plants, insects, and vertebrates. These specimens are used for scientific research and teaching.

The Towson University Biodiversity Center (TUBC) was created in 2007 to consolidate existing collections under a single unit and is under the direction and funding of the department of Biological Sciences, within the Jess & Mildred Fisher College of Science and Mathematics (FCSM) at Towson University. The center is organized around the two largest, most extensive and oldest collections, the botanical and entomological collections. These collections are under the direction of Drs. Roland P. Roberts and John S. LaPolla, respectively.

Many of our graduate and undergraduate students are interested in conservation biology and biodiversity research making the TUBC an invaluable addition to the research environment of the Department and the College. In addition, we envision the TUBC playing an important role in the establishment of a Tropical Studies Program in collaboration with UWI – St. Augustine.

The collections held by the TUBC are unique in their composition and thus may be of interest to local, regional and international researchers.


The mission of the Towson University Biodiversity Center is the acquisition, preservation and study of natural history collections by faculty, staff and students of Towson University, the wider scientific community and the general public. This mission includes these goals:

  • Provide access to specimen data and images of plants and animals
  • Preserve specimens for observation, research, and teaching
  • Identify and characterized specimens for the broader community
  • Lead workshops to demonstrate procedures used in collections
  • Outreach to neighboring institutions in a network of collections and the broader community to provide loans and receive loans for scholarly work. 


The two major components of the Biodiversity Center are:


The TU Biodiversity Center was conceptualized in 2007 with the primary aim of consolidating and preserving the botanical and entomological collections at Towson University. Implementation of these activities is made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation (DBI 0847891) in 2009. This funding is currently facilitating the improvement of specimen storage conditions, databasing of specimen information, imaging of representative specimens, and the dissemination of this information to the scientific community and general public. As the largest active biological research collection in the Baltimore metropolitan area, the TUBC will fulfill a variety of scientific and educational roles, including the generation of new knowledge in the fields of entomology and botany through collections-based research, acquisition and preservation of biological specimens, training of graduate and undergraduate students, providing a resource to the broader scientific community, outreach programs to the public, and assistance to local citizens, wildlife officials, and forensic specialists through identification and consultation services.