Centre for Study of Biological Diversity (CSBD):


Brief history and function

The Centre for Study of Biological Diversity (CSBD) was first conceived by the University of Guyana (UG) and the Smithsonian in 1991. The building was constructed at the Turkeyen Campus through a monetary gift from the Royal Bank of Canada and opened in June 1992. The Centre currently houses the National Herbarium and the Zoological research collections (approximately 50,000 plant specimens and over 29,000 animal specimens; to date there are over 10,000 fish, 700 amphibians, 300 retiles, 350 mammals, 820 birds and over 20,000 insect specimens). Moreover, the Centre serves both the University and the nation in the facilitation of biodiversity research and promotion of biodiversity conservation and management. The collections of the CSBD represent a complete set of all specimens collected through scientific research in Guyana. There are also sister collections that are distributed among many institutions worldwide.


The vision of the Centre is the realization of a state of total awareness of Guyana’s biodiversity and the harmonious integration of human livelihoods with this biodiversity while realizing our ambitions for national development. In keeping with its vision, the Centre’s mission is three-fold:

  1. To engage in and support the documentation of the biodiversity of Guyana through extensive collection and preservation and curation of specimens and the analysis of associated data for a richer understanding of the biodiversity of Guyana.
  2. To promote the conservation of Guyana’s biodiversity at all levels (genes, species and ecosystem) through management, partnerships and policy advocacy.
  3. To educate Guyana and the wider world of Guyana’s rich Biodiversity and the successes of local conservation efforts by supporting undergraduate, graduate and professional education and publications and publicity of various forms.


To accomplish these goals the Centre curates and maintains the national research collection of flora and fauna and collaborates with the institutions and universities such as the Royal Ontario Museum, Smithsonian, University of Michigan, University of Warwick, University of Florida etc., to conduct programs in the sustainable utilization of Guyana’s natural resources. The Centre functions as a vehicle within Guyana for the development of a full range of education, research and training programs consistent with Guyana’s effort to conserve and manage its rich biodiversity on a sustainable basis. The CSBD also works closely with the Guyana EPA, on the verification of specimens/samples that are collected by researchers for export and is responsible for the repatriation of these specimens to Guyana.  In addition, the CSBD facilitates collaboration between many scientists and students from foreign and local research institutions and universities.

Conservation efforts of the CSBD include enhancing environmental awareness, collaboration with environmental organizations and provisions of collections for EIA’s. Some of these collaborations include the following: Conservation International, the Iwokrama International Rainforest Programme, World Wildlife Fund-Guyana and the Smithsonian Institution

The responsibility for the management of the Centre lies with the Dean, Faculty of Natural Sciences and the newly appointed Director, Dr. Gyanpriya Maharaj, Lecturer in the Department of Biology. The Scientific Officers of the Department of Biology, Mrs. K. Holder-Collins, Mr. Mark Ram, Ms. Devya Hemraj and Ms. Christell Chesney, are responsible for the curation and maintenance of the collections in the herbarium and museum, the coordination of the CSBD’s volunteer programme and for organizing training sessions conducted through the CSBD.