The Allegheny Institute of Natural History at the University of Pittsburgh-Bradford dedicates itself to the study of the natural history of living organisms including plants, animals, bacteria, fungi, and protists. Natural history involves an understanding of the anatomy, physiology, behavior, reproductive cycle, habitat, evolutionary history, demography, and ecological status of an organism. Natural history is an interdisciplinary study melding biology, chemistry, physics, geology, mathematics, computer science, and meteorology. In our modern global society, an understanding of natural history is essential in making informed, knowledgeable environmental decisions.
In conjunction with the Environmental Studies program at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, the Allegheny Institute of Natural History helps support education courses and seminars during the year related to natural history and environmental studies. The Allegheny Institute of Natural History also assists in the administration of scholarships for students doing summer research with an environmental or natural history focus.
The Allegheny Institute of Natural History conducts original research on various species and communities. This involves in-resident and visiting scientists and also the Pitt-Bradford's undergraduate students. Research is being conducted on the natural history of amphibians and bryophytes. These indicator organisms are especially sensitive to changes in the environment and may be used to predict environmental health.
We perform biotic surveys and conduct long-term monitoring programs. We study native species and non-native species that are becoming naturalized. We are investigating how invasive plants may affect and/or interact with amphibians and bryophytes.
To fulfill its mission of conveying natural history knowledge to the public, the Allegheny Institute of Natural History offers a variety of educational opportunities. Not only does it offer traditional college classes for undergraduate and graduate credit, but it also offers teacher education workshops, seminars for environmental and field professionals, and a variety of non-credit classes. The Institute offers natural history lectures to the public, continuing education classes, and a variety of field trips and nature outings.