Department of Biological Sciences

Learning, Research, Teaching Facilities & Equipment

The Department of Biological Sciences has a wide variety of laboratory equipment such as spectrophotometers, a scanning electron microscope, and a DNA sequencer. The department’s computer teaching lab has 16 laptop computers along with a large-scale plotter. Waggoner Hall, which houses the Department of Biological Sciences, has complete wireless Internet access. Waggoner Hall also has a large greenhouse and several climate-controlled rooms. There are many collections such as a plants, reptiles, an amphibians collection, and a fish, mammals, and birds collection.

The department also has access to several large natural areas for ecological research such as the LaMoine River (which runs right through campus) and the Fink Farm natural area.

The research station borders the Mississippi River and has a wide variety of sampling equipment and boats, including a 28-foot pontoon style vessel and an electrofishing boat. The Biological Sciences department has a relationship with the Niabi Zoo in Moline, Illinois, which allows for unique classroom and research experiences.

Alice L. Kibbe Life Science Station

The Alice L. Kibbe Life Science Station is a scientific research and instructional unit of Western Illinois University near Warsaw, Illinois, with 1,700 acres of natural area, which is a mix of restored prairie and woodlands. Designed and operated to offer opportunities for special study to qualified scientists, the facility has inspired and enriched the education and research opportunities for many students and persons interested in all branches of science. The University also operates the Station as a nature preserve to protect the unique natural features from unnecessary human disturbance. It is directed by Dr. Sean Jenkins.

R.M. Myers Herbarium

The R. M. Myers Herbarium (MWI) was founded in 1945 by Dr. Myers. We are the sixth-largest herbarium in the state of Illinois, with about 75,000 specimens, mostly collected from Illinois. Our oldest specimens were collected by Albert Eads in 1860; other important collections include specimens from Alice Kibbe, a large collection of west-central Illinois specimens from Mr. R.T. Rexroat, and the extensive collections of Western Illinois University faculty and students interested in botany, including R.M. Myers, R.D. Henry, and R.L. Hartman. We also have received the herbarium collection of about 2500 specimens from Rosary Forest College, which is being curated and merged with the collection.

These collections serve different purposes, including teaching, research, and public service. More than 48,700 specimens have been databased, and the MWI database is being converted to an NSF-funded program called Specify, which will provide public access to herbarium specimen information.

The mission of the R.M. Myers Herbarium is to A) be the best collection of western Illinois plants, and B) provide a comprehensive teaching collection.

Walter Natural Area

Walter Natural Area is a natural area on the WIU campus between Waggoner Hall and the Recreational Center. It is a mixture of wetlands, woods, and prairie. For more information or other details concerning the Walter Natural Area, please contact: Adrea Craft, caretaker and WIU Botany Greenhouse manager.


The WIU Department of Biological Sciences greenhouse grows plants used for teaching and for research by Biology faculty, and contains more than 4,500 square feet of space.