Mammalogy Collection Manager

Biodiversity Institute

Position Overview

The Mammalogy Collection Manager ensures the long-term stability, regular maintenance, and growth of the mammalogical collections at the University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute (BI) & Natural History Museum. The Collection Manager will be responsible for all aspects of collection organization, specimen preparation, documentation, conservation, processing of loans, regular pest control, monitoring of accessioned materials, and reports to the Curator of Mammals.

The KU Biodiversity Institute studies past and present life on Earth to educate, engage and inspire. The institute, including the KU Natural History Museum, accomplishes this missing through the acquisition, curation, and study of collections of plants, animals, fossil material, and cultural artifacts for undergraduate, graduate, and public education, as well as research and public professional service. The BI’s collections total over 10 million specimens, including nearly 200,000 mammal specimens.


Job Description

  1. Collections, data management, and conservation (40%)
    • Ensure long-term integrity and preservation of the physical collections, which include genetic material and all linked, ancillary digital metadata, and the collection-storage environment.
    • Monitor and conduct comprehensive checks on the status and organization of the fluid, tissue, and dry collections.
    • Develop and maintain collection databases; digitize specimen data, record information for dissemination and discoverability; update databases as needed.
    • Maintain and improve collection-care protocols.
    • Process specimen loans, accessions, exchanges, and gifts; maintain appropriate print and digital records of these activities.
    • Conduct annual reviews of outstanding specimen loans, specimen return reminders, and recalls of overdue loans.
    • Maintain and organize records of collection activity, use, and status for annual reports, grant proposals, and connecting digital media (CT-scans, digital images, GenBank/SRA sequences) with KU specimens.
    • Collaborate with other BI collection managers and curators to achieve high-quality care and management of collections and associated data, and economies of scale in all collection-related activities.
    • Assist and supervise visitors, students, volunteers, and other users of the collections.
    • Manage Mammalogy activities in the specimen preparation laboratory.
    • Manage the shared-use dermestid facility in collaboration with collection managers from other divisions using the facility.
  2. Collection strategic development, improvement, and acquisition (25%)
  3. Organize and prepare documentation necessary for specimen accession, including national and international permits and associated documentation.
  4. Oversee the preparation and staging of newly accessioned specimens and the digital capture of associated data for their integration into the collection and collection database, respectively.
  5. Collaborate with curator to plan and implement divisional goals, priorities, and programs.
  6. Foster research use of the collections by qualified researchers (locally, nationally, and internationally).
  7. Actively participate in acquisition of specimens by:
    • Facilitating gifts and exchanges,
    • Preparing accession documentation for new, in-coming collections,
    • Participating in expeditionary fieldwork with the KU Mammalogy Division, as approved by the curator.
  8. Respond to inquiries from scientists (specimen requests, data inquiries, specimen photo requests), governmental and consulting agencies, the media, and other entities.
  9. Participate in the Natural History Museum’s public programming by providing information and specimens and assisting in exhibit design; assist in museum public functions. 
  10. Conduct tours for visiting scholars, students, and the public.
  11. Work with curator to train and supervise students, curatorial assistant(s), volunteers, and others in best practices of collections management.
  12. Hire, train, and supervise student hourly employees.
  13. Train and supervise volunteers.
  14. Work with BI collection management staff, curators of other taxonomic divisions, and BI administration to ensure consistency of practice and policy.
  15. Undertake mammalogical research in area of expertise, pending completion of collection management duties.
  16. Participate in collection management training and development through professional societies.
  17. Collection service (15%)
  18. Supervision, training, and mentoring (10%)
  19. Professional development (5%)
  20. Other duties as appropriate (5%)

Position Requirements

  • Ability to lift 40 pounds or more with or without accommodation
  • Ability to utilize ladders to reach shelves up to 10 feet in height
  • Occasional work on nights or weekend
  • This position is full-time, on-site (ie., not remote)

Required Qualifications

  1. Master's degree or higher in evolutionary biology, zoology, or related scientific discipline from an accredited university.
  2. Minimum of 1-year collective experience in the following areas:
    • Conducting holistic field collection and specimen preparation for mammals.
    • Care and management of natural history collections, with a special emphasis on historical dry skin and skeletal collections, fluid-preserved collections, and cryogenic genetic resources.
    • Linking ‘extended specimen’ digital data products (ie. CT-scans, genetic sequence data, stable isotope information) to museum specimen records.
    • Biodiversity informatics and collection data, including databases (e.g., Specify, Arctos), web-based applications (e.g., iDigBio, GBIF), and distributed networks.
    • Demonstrated knowledge of systematics, taxonomy, and classification of mammals
  3. Effective communication, interpersonal, organizational, and collaborative team-based skills as demonstrated by application materials.
  4. Experience working effectively both independently and in teams of people.
  5. Proficiency with Microsoft Office (Outlook, Excel, Word).
  6. Experience supervising and training students and volunteers.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Ph.D. in evolutionary biology, zoology, or related scientific discipline from an accredited university.
  • Three years experience in curation and/or collections management in an academic, professional, or research environment, with demonstrated knowledge of research collection conservation practices.
  • On-going mammalogical research in some component or portion of KU Mammalogy’s collection strengths or programmatic priorities.
  • Interest or experience teaching mammalogy to diverse audiences.
  • Experience implementing object-tracking of cryogenically stored tissue samples.
  • Experience preparing budgets (such as those to federal agencies) and annual reports (annual institutional reporting).
  • Proficiency in one or more popular programming languages (Python, Linux, Bash, R, SQL)
  • Record of obtaining funding to support research and/or collection needs.
  • Working knowledge of state, federal, and international regulations (CITES, Nagoya, etc.) as applied to collection import/export, permitting, and curation standards.


Contact Information to Applicants

Jocelyn Colella,

Additional Candidate Instruction

Only complete application packages submitted online will be considered. A complete application includes an online application form, resume/CV, cover letter, names, and contact information for three professional references.

Review of applications will begin July 1st and continue until a qualified pool of applicants is identified. 

Advertised Salary Range

Starting at $45,000.00

Application Review Begins


Anticipated Start Date