Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

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The Oklahoma Biological Survey is both a research unit of the University of Oklahoma and a state office. The mission of the survey is to scientifically investigate the diversity of plants and animals in Oklahoma and associated regions and to contribute to conservation and education concerning these important resources. The survey was conceived by Dr. Arthur Ortenburger, an early professor of zoology at the University of Oklahoma, who began a series of expeditions to survey the state's fauna and flora. Active field expeditions were carried out from 1924 to 1936, and results were published as a series by the survey.

In 1927 the board of regents of the University of Oklahoma established the survey as a research unit of the university. In 1987 the legislature named the Oklahoma Biological Survey as a state agency. Today the survey includes the General Biological Survey program, the Oklahoma Natural Heritage Inventory, the Bebb Herbarium (jointly operated with the university's department of botany and microbiology), the Oklahoma Fishery Research Laboratory (jointly operated with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation), and the Sutton Avian Research Center, a bird conservation center located in Bartlesville. Survey personnel include faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduates, all of whom engage in a wide range of research, teaching, and service activities.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Thomas A. Zanoni, Publications of the University of Oklahoma Biological Survey (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1977).

Caryn C. Vaughn

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