The Institute’s research primarily focuses on the taxonomy, ecology and conservation of mammals and birds, although staff also collaborate with others studying a range of different fauna and flora.
Geographically, most of the Institute’s research takes place in the tropics and subtropics of Southeast and southern Asia, Arabia and Africa.
The Institute has an extensive zoological collection of 42,000 mammal specimens (fossil and extant). It specialises in small mammals and bats from Europe, Arabia, tropical Asia and Africa. There are also nearly 19,000 bird specimens of almost 900 species, which have been collected in 95 different countries, although most are from the Palaearctic region. The collection is a fine resource for biodiversity researchers and is recognised as being of national and international importance.
Based on their research, Harrison Institute staff, with international colleagues and students, have published more than 350 scientific papers, reports, and action plans on the world’s biodiversity.
Institute staff have jointly described 23 mammal species new to science (bats and rodents) from Asia, Arabia and Africa (see map type of localities above). Despite a generally held belief that there are no more 'new mammals' to be discovered, seventeen of these descriptions have been since 2004. In addition, they have described three new genera and twelve new subspecies of mammal.
Staff have also published monographs on 'The Mammals of Arabia', 'Bats of the Indian Subcontinent' and 'Small Mammals of Nepal'.