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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.

Botany Field School 2022

Biol 4499/5599 – 3 credits of upper division botany

  • Week 1: June 13-18 – Idaho State University, Pocatello Campus

  • Week 2: June 19-25 – Mackay, Idaho Field camp

Idaho State University/Idaho Museum of Natural History is offering a 2-week, 3-credit botany field class for summer, 2022. The first week will be based from the ISU campus in Pocatello, and entail a mix of classroom time and field trips. A private cabin north of Mackay, Idaho will serve as our base for the second week, which will include daily field trips and group plant identification sessions. The course focus is acquiring field plant identification skills and the collection and preparation of botanical specimens. The course will be valuable for individuals interested in botany, ecology, conservation, education, or related careers.

Course instructors: Michael Mancuso ( and Trista Crook (

Join us for exploring and learning the Idaho flora!


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.







Trista Crook, MS

Life Science Collection Manager

Office: Museum Building 921 S 8th STOP 8096 Pocatello, ID 83201

(208) 282-3168