Research Centers

Overviews and links for the five interdisciplinary research centers in the Utah State University College of Science.

American Entomological Institute and Insect Collection

In addition to a research insect collection started in the 1960s, USU’s Department of Biology became home to the American Entomological Institute in 2016. The collection’s holdings include one of the world’s largest collections of spider wasps and velvet ants, along with specimens of other species from the Intermountain West and Neotropical countries including Brazil, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Argentina and Chile. The center is also home to an extensive library of historically significant entomological texts and reprints. The collection provides undergraduates, graduate students and other USU researchers with ideal models for research, as well as tools for teaching critical concepts in genetics, evolution and ecology.

Center for Atmospheric and Space Sciences

The Center for Atmospheric and Space Sciences is recognized both nationally and internationally as a progressive research center in advanced space and upper atmospheric research programs. Today, CASS and space researchers throughout the world are tackling the adverse consequences of space weather. Space weather is a result of solar storms and affect satellites, man-in-space, communications systems, GPS accuracy, as well as major ground based technology systems. Solar storms launch both electromagnetic and plasma disturbances in the solar wind, which when they impinge upon the Earth’s outer magnetospheric regions result in space weather effects that adversely impact technology and humans in space as well as on the ground. CASS research teams study these effects from the stratosphere through the mesosphere and into the ionosphere using various remote sensing and satellite instruments. Their models and analysis results represent major contributions to our knowledge of the space weather phenonema.

Ecology Center

The Ecology Center was founded in the late 1960s as a means of coordinating USU’s research efforts on a large project funded by the National Science Foundation. Today, it continues to coordinate campus-wide ecological studies by integrating the research efforts of faculty, staff, and students in departments across three colleges at USU. The Ecology Center doesn’t perform any research itself; rather, the center accommodates projects in the colleges of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Science.

Intermountain Herbarium

The Intermountain Herbarium was founded by Bassett Maguire in 1932. Taxonomy had been taught at the Utah Agricultural College before that time, using a collection of about 90 plants that had been provided by C.V. Piper, a botanist who developed the first floras for the Pacific Northwest and went on to work on the introduction and domestication of grasses for the USDA.

USDA Bee Biology and Systematics Laboratory at USU

Producing the food we rely on depends on plans being pollinated, and pollination often relies on insects. The “Bee Lab” at USU is home to U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers, many of whom are USU faculty members, working to understand and solve pollination management challenges and develop a diversified and stable pollinator base for U.S. agriculture and the environment. The USDA lab at Utah State is unique, in that it is the agency’s only lab devoted to studying the hundreds of species of bees other than honeybees.

Micro-CT Facility

The USU Micro CT Facility is associated with the Department of Biology and the USU Office of Research. The facility opened in September of 2022, and houses a Nikon X TH 225 ST 2x uCT scanner and two state of the art workstations with VG Studio Max installed. The acquisition of this equipment was funded in part by a National Science Foundation Major Instrumentation grant, along with additional funds contributed by the Office of Research, the College of Science, the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, the Agricultural Experiment Station, and the departments of Biology, ADVS, and Geosciences.