Today's hours: 12pm to 5pm 216.231.4600
The King of Dinosaurs

Vertebrate Zoology

Studying animals for clues about the health of our environment

Vertebrate life surrounds us—in our backyards and parks, our local lakes and streams. Vertebrate zoology is the study of animals with backbones—fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds—that live around us.

Many of these creatures can serve as indicators of the health of the places they inhabit, and warn us of destructive environmental factors. By studying our native vertebrates, we can spot the early effects of environmental degradation, such as pollution and erosion. This work also can reveal the impacts of non-native species as they spread into Northeast Ohio's natural areas from other regions.

The Museum's department of vertebrate zoology's research focuses on amphibians, reptiles, fish and crayfish. Several studies are long-term monitoring projects

The department manages the following:

  • Mammal skin, skull and skeletal collections, mainly of North American and African species
  • Ohio amphibian and reptile collections

  • Ohio fishes collections
  • Crayfish collection

  • Dermestid (beetle) laboratory

The Department of Vertebrate Zoology offers opportunities for students to learn about the discipline in-depth. Undergraduate students interested in a paid summer internship in this discipline are encouraged to investigate the Kirtlandia Research Internship Program.

Curator of Vertebrate Zoology: Dr. Tim Matson

If you would like to contact the Vertebrate Zoology department you can contact either; Dr. Matson at or call 216-231-4600 ext. 3307, or Roberta Muehlheim at or call 216-231-4600 ext. 3388