Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois


About INHS

Since 1858, the Illinois Natural History Survey has been the guardian and recorder of the biological resources of Illinois—the state’s biological memory. With a staff of over 200 scientists and technicians, it is recognized as the premier natural history survey in the nation. Over the years, its mission has remained fairly constant: to investigate the diversity, life histories, and ecology of the plants and animals of the state; to publish research results so that those resources can be managed wisely; and to provide information to the public in order to foster an understanding and appreciation of our natural heritage.


Our Director

Dr. Eric Schauber, Director of INHS

Eric Schauber, an animal ecologist formerly at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, is the director of the Prairie Research Institute’s Illinois Natural History Survey. Schauber began his appointment on July 1, 2018.

At Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Schauber was a wildlife ecologist in the Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory and a professor and the director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Zoology. He earned a PhD in ecology from the University of Connecticut, a master’s degree in wildlife science from Oregon State University, and a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology from the University of Massachusetts.

Schauber’s research tackles a broad suite of questions mainly centered around populations of mammals. Topics range from documenting factors that influence where foxes, coyotes, and other carnivores are found across southern Illinois to understanding how marsh rice rats move between wetlands. One main focus of Schauber’s research has been studying contacts within and between social groups of white-tailed deer, and using that information to understand and manage how diseases spread in the deer population.


Our Mission

The mission of the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) is to investigate and document the biological resources of Illinois and other areas, and to acquire and provide natural history information that can be used to promote the common understanding, conservation, and management of these resources.

“The first indispensable requisite is a thorough knowledge of the natural order—an intelligently conducted natural history survey. Without the general knowledge which such a survey would give us, all our measures must be empirical, temporary, uncertain, and often dangerous.”
—Stephen A. Forbes


Our Vision

The Illinois Natural History Survey will remain at the forefront of efforts to understand the biological processes and components that shape the Illinois environment. It also will serve as the primary source of information on the state’s biological resources. In support of these functions, INHS will maintain scientifically rigorous research programs in basic and applied ecology, systematics, and biogeography that not only enhance traditional research strengths but are also capable of addressing emerging issues relevant to the conservation, management, and sustainable use of biotic resources. INHS also will act as a stable, long-term repository of biological collections and ecological data, promote cross-disciplinary collaboration to address complex ecological issues, incorporate new and more powerful analytical methods, and disseminate information on the ecology and biodiversity of Illinois to the scientific community, state government, and the general public.

Illinois Natural History Survey

1816 South Oak Street, MC 652
Champaign, IL 61820

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