AIM-UP! is a NSF-sponsored Research Coordination Network in Undergraduate Biological Education that is exploring the tremendous potential of our vast natural history collections and associated databases to contribute to teaching and research experiences in biology. This network of museum scientists, collection specialists, undergraduate educators and artists is exploring novel ways of incorporating the extensive archives and new cyberinfrastructure of natural history museums into undergraduate education under 5 primary themes: 1) Integrative Inventories: Exploring Complex Biotic Associations Across Space and Time, 2) Decoding Diversity: Making Sense of Geographic Variation, 3) Generating Genotypes: Evolutionary Dynamics of Genomes, 4) Fast Forward: Biotic Response to Climate Change, 5) The Human Dimension of Natural History.
We are developing these themes through meetings, on-line discussions and workshops at scientific meetings including an exploration of the use of natural history collections and associated databases to facilitate teaching in other subdisciplines in biology (e.g., developmental biology, behavior, physiology, and cellular biology) and in other fields (e.g., geography, art). Inclusion of participants from federal agencies, large free-standing museums, and leading educators from Latin America are ensuring wider dissemination of our educational products. Read more here (link to Bioscience paper).