Florida softshell turtle, Apalone ferox, photo by J.D. Willson

Senior Science Museum Collection Manager - Division of Fishes

University of New Mexico, Museum of Southwestern Biology
Albuquerque, NM
Closing Date
30 November 2018

The Museum of Southwestern Biology (MSB) is seeking a Senior Collection Manager for the Division of Fishes. The Fish Collection is located in a state-of-the-art facility in the center of the University of New Mexico (UNM) Main Campus in Albuquerque, a vibrant research and education facility in  the Department of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences. The MSB develops and maintains natural history collections explicitly for use in research and education, benefiting the university, science, and society. The scientific role of the MSB is to facilitate and engage in specimen-based studies of ecology, evolution, systematics, and biodiversity informatics, and to train students in these disciplines. The MSB Division of Fishes also serves conservation science and management of aquatic resources in the southwestern United States and beyond.

The MSB Fish Collection is the largest of its type in the southwestern US and comprises more than 100,000 lots of more than 4.5 million specimens. Research in the collection focuses on long-term population studies, community ecology, reproductive biology, and genomics. The collection provides an exceptionally well-documented record of the profound changes to biodiversity that have occurred in the desert southwest over the last century.

We seek candidates with a strong commitment to a vision of the Fish Collection as a key resource for research and education within the University, and to the scientific and conservation community nationally and internationally. Within the context of the curatorial priorities of the Fish Collection, this position offers opportunities for mentoring, career development, research, public outreach, fieldwork, and involvement in undergraduate and graduate education.

Essential Functions:

Curation (care, maintenance, improvement, and growth of collection, as well as database management, and processing of loans). Service (including grant writing), outreach, & professional development. Research as appropriate in the context of curatorial priorities.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Curate physical specimens, including specimen preparation, and organization, care, and housing of specimens and associated tissues or other ancillary materials (such as field notes).
  • Conduct and coordinate processing of new and existing collections, including accessioning, physical preparation, labeling, cataloguing, and loans.
  • Establish priorities for collection care and management in coordination with curatorial and research staff.
  • Develop and implement collections management policies aligned with best museum practices and University policy.
  • Provide collection access to the research community, including assisting visitors to the collection and processing specimen loans.
  • Digitize and document collections and their use, including capturing and managing in a database digital images of specimens and their associated information and field notes..
  • Maintain electronic and digital records, and update taxonomic and auxiliary information.
  • Collaborate and liaise with external biological data repositories and partners, including but not limited to VertNet, iDigBio, and GBIF.
  • Provide periodic support to the museum, university, and professional communities, such as serving on MSB and institutional committees and education teams to develop ichthyology-related content for the broader museum community.
  • Train and supervise technicians, students, interns, and volunteers working with the collection.
  • Collaborate with the Curator and other museum staff to develop grant proposals for collections improvements and other collection-based initiatives. Manage grants and contracts in coordination with the Curator.
  • Provide support for promotional and institutional advancement activities, including opportunities to engage with the public by providing tours of the collection.


A Master’s Degree with at least 5 years of collection experience is required, and a Ph.D. can substitute for some of the experience. The successful candidate should demonstrate strong skills in collection management, organization, and supervision, and should have a record of accomplishment with respect to the development, promotion and use of collections. Demonstrated database skills are also essential. Imaging skills and genetic resource management skills are desirable.

The successful applicant must have demonstrated expertise in ichthyology, preferably with knowledge of taxonomy of global and regional (southwestern US and northern Mexico) fishes, and have experience in natural history collection use and management. Candidates should have experience with relational databases (such as Microsoft Access or Arctos), as well as familiarity with online data aggregators and current digitization efforts in biodiversity collections.  Curation and digital management of genetic resources (tissues) is an important component of this position. The Collections Manager of Fishes will serve as an advocate for natural history collections, and must be able to communicate their importance to members of the public and to the university and scientific communities alike.  Exceptional organizational skills are required.

To Apply

Apply online at unm.csod.com/ats/careersite/JobDetails.aspx?id=6628&site=14. Please include a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and contact information for three references.

Contact with further questions:

Thomas Turner
Associate Dean for Research, College of Arts & Sciences
Professor of Biology
Curator of Fishes, Museum of Southwestern Biology
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131 USA
Email: turnert [at] unm.edu

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