Research Facilities & Resources

Harvard has an impressive collection of resources that will be helpful as you conduct your thesis research as a graduate student in OEB. Here is an overview of some of these resources:


The Arnold Arboretum

The Arnold Arboretum consists of 265 acres of botanical gardens, with 6,500 species and varieties of woody plants. The living collections of the Arboretum are supplemented by an herbarium and library for the study of plants under cultivation all over the world. The Arboretum is open to the public, and the administrative building is open Monday through Friday, 9-5. The Arboretum is a great place for a stroll, and is easily accessible on the Orange Line from the Forest Hills T stop. The main research herbarium and library are located at the Harvard University Herbaria.

125 Arborway in Jamaica Plain, Boston


The Botanical Museum

The Botanical Museum comprises the public exhibit of the Ware collection of glass models of plants with almost 800 life-size models and 3,200 enlarged flowers and anatomical sections. The collection represents more than 780 species and varieties in 164 families. The glass flowers are a must-see for all OEB folks. Other exhibits include Precambrian fossils dating back 3.2 billion years.

26 Oxford St.


The Harvard University Herbaria

The Herbaria houses the Farlow reference library and the Farlow Herbarium, a collection of fungi, lichens, algae and bryophytes; the Gray Herbarium, a collection of vascular plants; the Arnold Arboretum Herbarium collection of woody genera, and the Orchid Herbarium of Oakes Ames. These herbaria make the HUH collection one of the largest in the world, with over 5 million specimens. Extensive library collections are associated with each herbarium. The Herbaria is also home to the Bailey-Wetmore wood collection, an extensive collection of extant and fossil woods from around the world.

22 Divinity Ave.


Harvard Musuem of Natural History (HMNH):

The HMNH is the public museum of the combined Museum of Comparative Zoology, Botanical Museum, and the Mineralogical and Geological Museum). This is the only museum in Boston devoted entirely to natural history. Exhibit halls open to the public only show part of the extensive collections, which include 1.2 million fish specimens, 250,000 bird specimens, 6 million insect specimens, and 10 million mollusk specimens. The public exhibits of the museum feature three to four special temporary exhibits during the year, as well as holding symposia and open houses for its "Friends of the MCZ" members. Harvard students and a guest can get in for free with a Harvard ID.

26 Oxford St.


The Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ)

The MCZ was founded in 1859, through the efforts of Louis Agassiz (1807-1873). Agassiz, a zoologist from Neuchatel, Switzerland, served as the Director of the Museum from 1859 until his death in 1873. A brilliant lecturer and scholar, he established the Museum and its collections as a center for research and education.

The Museum has twelve departments - Entomology (Naomi Pierce - Curator of Lepidoptera, Brian Farrell- Curator of Coleoptera), Herpetology (James Hanken), Ichthyology (Karl Liem and George Lauder), Invertebrate Zoology (Gonzalo Giribet), Invertebrate Paleontology (Charles Marshall), Malacology (James McCarthy), Mammology (Andrew Biewener), Ornithology (Scott Edwards), Vertebrate Palentology (Farish Jenkins). Oceanography (James McCarthy), and Population Genetics (Richard Lewontin). Many of these house research collections which house the type specimens of numerous species. Access to these collections is granted by the curators listed above.

26 Oxford Street



The Harvard Forest

The Harvard Forest is a 3000 acre research forest about 70 miles west of Cambridge in Petersham, MA. Shaler Hall contains an extensive library, laboratories, and the Fisher Museum of Forestry. Various houses on site contain dormitory-style housing. The Prospect Hill tract has several pleasant hiking trails that offer a good look at New England transitional hardwood forest.

The Harvard Forest is a fantastic field station with extensive infrastructure, including 4 wheel drive vehicles, computer facilities, telephones, fax and copy machines, wet and dry labs, housing, a woods crew, administrative staff, maintained roads, well documented stand records, and good maps. Graduate students conducting research at the Forest may be able to take advantage of summer undergraduate research assistants sponsored by NSF's REU program. As an NSF Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) site, the Forest is also actively used by researchers outside of Harvard.

324 North Main Street,

Petersham MA 01366


Directions to Harvard Forest:

Concord Field Station (CFS)

The CFS is a 62 acre facility that houses extensive resources for research in animal locomotor mechanics, muscle physiology, ecological physiology and ecological plant research. The current director of the CFS is Professor Andrew Biewener. The main lab building holds offices, primary laboratory facilities, animal quarters and an apartment for visiting faculty and fellows. The second building is a flight research laboratory, containing a large wind tunnel that can fly birds up to the size of a mallard. A large old garage has been converted to a 23 meter experimental runway facility. Three underground bunkers (former Nike missile bunkers) house the skeletons of Cetacea, specimens preserved in alcohol, and preparation facilities for the MCZ's mammal collection.

Adjacent to the CFS property is a section of the Great Meadows National Wildlife Preserve called the Pickman area, with about five miles of trails ideal for beginning cross-country skiing or hiking. It is almost all flood plain and often swampy off-trail. Nearby is Estabrook Woods, another 650 acres owned by Harvard. Various people use these areas for collecting, observing and field work. Maps and field guides are available at CFS.

To get to CFS, take Rt. 2 west to Rt. 95 (128) north to the Bedford exit (Rt. 4/225). Take Rt. 225 west through 3 traffic lights, bear left staying on Rt. 225 toward Carlisle for exactly 1 mile. Turn right on Old Causeway Road. CFS is at the end of this dead end road. A CFS vehicle also makes frequent trips to and from Cambridge. If you wish to hitch a ride to the station on the CFS vehicle, contact the field station administration at

Old Causeway Road

New Bedford, MA



Imaging Center in Biolabs:

The Imaging Center is a state of the art imaging lab located on the second floor (Rm 248) of the Bio Labs. Here you can print posters for conferences, make color printouts and transparencies, scan slides, etc. There are also several advanced microscopes available for use. You will need a student ID coded for after-hours access to the Bio Labs to gain access to the facility. Speak to Building Operations in the basement of the Bio Labs to get your ID coded (you'll need to get an authorization form signed by Dave in the Image Lab first).

Scanning Electron Microscope and Transmission Electron Microscope Facilities:

SEM facilities are available to graduate students through the Scanning Electron Microscopy Laboratory located in the basement of the Harvard University Herbaria. The laboratory houses an FEI Quanta 200, which is capable of regular secondary electron imaging (standard SEM), low-voltage environmental SEM (ESEM) of uncoated "wet" specimens (even living specimens!), and energy-dispersive x-ray analysis (EDAX). For more information contact Richard Schalek ( for training and use.

There are no fees for the use of the microscope and specimen preparation facilities, though all users are responsible for their own consumables (film, SEM stubs, etc.).

Bauer Core, FAS Center for Systems Biology (CGR)

Formerly the Bauer Center for Genomics Research, the Bauer Core facilities provide state-of-the-art instrumentation and expertise in genomic technologies, automation, and bioinformatics to scientists at Harvard. Staff from the Bauer Core run the Sequencing Facility on the 3rd Floor of the Biolabs Building. An extremely helpful contact person at the Bauer is Claire Reardon ( Other staff and resources can be found at The Bauer Core is located in the Bauer Laboratory, a building linking the Naito Laboratory and the Sherman Fairchild Biochemistry Building.

7 Divinity Ave


Broad Institute

The Institute is a research collaboration involving faculty, professional staff and students from throughout the MIT and Harvard academic and medical communities and is governed jointly by the two universities. Many large genome sequencing projects have been conducted at the Broad. The Broad is an exciting place to be if you are interested in genomics research and is very open to graduate students becoming involved with the Insitute. They also have seminars and workshops throughout the year.

7 Cambridge Center
Cambridge, MA 02142


directions to the Broad Institute: