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The Biology Department at Gustavus Adolphus College curates diverse collections of organisms including plants, vertebrate animals and invertebrate animals.


The Rubert Anderson Award in Systematics

A great way to learn about organismal diversity is to work with a collection. The Gustavus Biology Department has several opportunities to work with plant and animal collections! In order to share our insect, plant, and vertebrate collections with a larger community we are in the process of organizing and displaying information, including images, about the specimens in our collections on the Biology Department website and other venues to serve as a resource for classes at Gustavus, the St. Peter community, and scientists.

Collections are a vital component of scientific study and education with uses including:

  • cataloguing diversity within a taxon
  • recording species found within a particular geographic range
  • understanding evolutionary change with and between populations

The Rubert Anderson Award in Systematics is an annual award that is granted to faculty-student collaborators to conduct work with one of the department collections. Faculty-student collaborators develop and submit a short proposal in which they outline their plans to curate and present a portion of a collection on-line.

This award is an opportunity for you to contribute to the department’s educational objectives and learn about a particular taxon.

To apply:

1. Contact and meet with one of the following faculty members:

Invertebrates: Reina Nielsen ( or Eric Elias (
Plants: Amy Kocksiek ( or Reina Nielsen (
Vertebrates: Jon Grinnell ( or Eric Elias (

2. With your faculty collaborator, develop a short proposal in which you:

  • clearly state what informational content and how much of the collection will be posted online by the end of the award period
  • describe what archival work needs to be done to support #1 (above) and what you intend to accomplish in one semester
  • Submit an itemized budget for no more than $160 to support your work. Money can be used to: travel to see collections at other institutions, purchase supplies to present or archive specimens, and acquire texts related to the collection subject

3. Three copies of the proposal are due to Eric Elias (NH 2141) by 5:00 PM Monday, September 25, 2023. Successful applicants will be notified the following week.

Students will be expected to present their project at an appropriate venue determined by their faculty sponsor and complete an exit interview. Students successfully completing the proposed work will be recognized at Honors Day.

2022 Award Recipient: Georgia Zutz; Advancement of the Gustavus Animal Collections and Museum Window Display.
2021 Award Recipient: No applicants.
2020 Award Recipient: No applicants.
2019 Award Recipient: No applicants.
2018 Award Recipient: Signe Jeremiason; Exploring Insecta Through Illustration.
2017 Award Recipients: No applicants. Funds were used in support of macroinvertebrate sampling equipment.
2016 Award Recipients: James Eckhardt and Hannah Merwin; Gustavus Adolphus College Herbarium Sandberg and Swedish Collections.
2015 Award Recipients: Reina Nielsen and Matthew Gullickson; Historic Collections Gustavus Adolphus College Herbarium. Andrew Lindmeier; Gustavus Bird Collection (unsupported).
2014 Award Recipient: No applicants.
2013 Award Recipient: Andrea Gruver; Distribution of Hymenoptera Parasitoids over Time.
2012 Award Recipients: No applicants. Bio 376 Entomolgy students worked in the insect collection in lieu of a winning proposal.
2011 Award Recipient: No applicants.
2010 Award Recipients: Ryan Ortlip and Lucas Youngvorst; Hamrum collection of Odonates.
2009 Award Recipients: Josh Hammer and Carl Stenoien; Gustavus Freshwater and Marine Fish Collection: Enhancement of the collection by additions and replacements of local species and creation of a web-based digital archive.
2008 Award Recipients: Elias Anoszko, Stephanie Erlandson, Kirsten Ruser & Karen Katz; Archiving herbarium specimens of historical value and developing a web-based botanical collection.