Field WorK and LSUMNS
Natural history museums are dynamic institutions, constantly growing, seeking new methods of obtaining and preserving specimens, and investing in modern facilities to leverage advanced techniques in data collection and analysis.
The recent genomic revolution has enabled the growing use of advanced DNA sequencing techniques and functional genomics experiments in natural systems that were until recently only applied to model organisms. The fast development of these new technologies demands the constant collection of high-quality and information-rich biological specimens in the field. The Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science collection (LSUMNS) of Genetic Resources comprises the world's largest tissue and blood collection for vertebrates, and is an essential global resource in molecular biology. The samples deposited in the collection are used by dozens of studies every year in various areas such as epidemiology, population genomics, phylogenomics, and forensics.
The Thom lab has been extensively sampling bird specimens in the Neotropical region, including the Amazon Basin, Atlantic Forest, and Central America. Our goal is to conduct at least one month-long field expedition a year to a remote and poorly sampled region of the Neotropics. These expeditions are essential not only to obtain modern and information-rich specimens but also to train the next generation of scientists in museum-based research.