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The collections in the Life Sciences Division document and preserve records of the biodiversity of Idaho, the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Rapid changes in population, land use, and climate over the past 100 years have altered the distribution and abundance of organisms worldwide. Our collections document where and when different species of plants and animals lived in the region, and provide the framework to predict how those species’ distributions will change in the future.

Museum specimens also often preserve the organisms’ DNA and other chemical constituents allowing the study of the evolutionary relationships among populations and species, their diet, and the climate they experienced when alive.

The Life Sciences Division includes collections of plants, fungi, and lichens, invertebrates, and vertebrates. The Ray J. Davis Herbarium (IDS) is the most extensive collection in Life Sciences with over 70,000 cataloged plant specimens, 1650 lichen specimens, and smaller numbers of bryophytes (mosses and liverworts), and macrofungi (mushrooms). The small invertebrate collection includes several hundred specimens of Idaho insects. The vertebrate collections, consisting of approximately 6500 specimens, well represent the diversity of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish of Southern Idaho.


Nikki Frey

Interim Life Science Collections Manager

Office: Museum Building 127 921 S 8th Ave Stop 8096 Pocatello, ID 83209

(208) 282-2815

Volunteer at the IMNH

The IMNH couldn't exist without the help of our dedicated volunteers. Volunteers gain opportunities for life-long learning and the satisfaction of knowing they are making a valuable contribution. Volunteers help out in many ways including serving as docents, teaching educational programs, helping in the office, processing and cataloging the collections, and serving on advisory boards and committees. No matter what you are interested in, IMNH can put you to work!

If you are interested, contact us at or (208) 282-3168.