SPNHC conference 2011

3,504 views

Published on

a presentation I gave at the SPNHC conference in San Francisco, with my notes

Published in: Technology
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
3,504
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
2
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
0
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • Today I’ll talk about different approaches to acquiring collections material. I’ll contrast the traditional way museums acquire large collections of specimens with a new approach we have implemented at the NHMLAC that is much more efficient and streamlined.\n
  • this picture shows part of a collection from Puget Sound, Washington of 240 moldy and cracked 5-gallon buckets of important and valuable survey material that was housed in a storage shed for over 2 decades, before being rescued and taken back to the NHM for curation\n
  • Specimens had been stored in plastic bread bags floating in buckets of alcohol. When the material was finally brought back to the museum, it was switched into new, better quality buckets and the condition was assessed. \n
  • It took 4 collections staff members 3 years from start to finish to curate and rehouse the entire collection into museum-grade glassware that is now shelved in our collection rooms. In addition, there were 50 3-ring binders of data and 10 published reports associated with the specimens that took months to sort through to pull out the data for labels\n
  • Fairy shrimp provide another example of the traditional way we acquire survey material. Agencies conducting biological monitoring surveys are usually required by the federal govt. to deposit voucher specimens in permanent institutions; many of these surveys monitor fairy shrimp, a terrestrial crustacean that is found in vernal pools like ponds or puddles and some of which are endangered; as getting rid of the material is a low priority for these agencies once their reports are turned in, they often wait until the material has been sitting on shelves for years and drying out, until they need the shelf space; they then have to re-curate the specimens before they can even give them to a museum, and often they can’t find the data; it is a big waste of time for them to re-create the data and re-curate, and takes a lot of our time because it’s still not up to our standards when we get the material, so then we have to re-format the data and re-curate the specimens \n
  • often survey material arrives in bulk samples that could have 20 diff. phyla and hundreds of taxa, unsorted, all in one jar (may have even been initially identified and sorted, then poured back into one jar); in order for it to be useful to us (for research), it has to be sorted by taxa and curated; we have to provide the staff time and supplies to achieve this\n
  • All of this is to highlight the problems with the traditional, standard approach to specimen acquisition for most museums, which is passive, where we wait to be contacted by agencies/institutions that have material, almost always after the survey is already done. Having had little or no involvement up to that point, we accept the material in whatever form it’s in, curated to various standards from multiple agencies; it may lack cohesiveness, standardization, and quality control; we spend a lot of time formatting the data, dealing with the labels, and curating the material to our specifications; in addition, the material may not be very high quality; some donations are made where the bulk of the material has to be thrown out because of inadequate data and specimens in poor condition, which is a huge waste of time\n
  • A case study of a transitional stage between the old way and our new approach is our recent acquisition of the Southern California Bight 2003 Regional Marine Monitoring Program material. We arranged for the material from this survey to be deposited with us, as it is a high-quality collection of samples identified by taxonomic experts. However, the survey had taken place years before, so all of the data and specimens had been formatted and curated without our input. A tremendous amount of time is required to curate the data and the specimens. \nIt is important to note that this is a very high value collection due to the extremely well-trained taxonomists who are experts at identifying these animals according to standard protocols; also, these are surveys that are regularly repeated in the same area over time, resulting in a large quantity of material. So it is a high value collection, but without our involvement in the planning stages, it proves difficult and time-consuming for us to curate the material once we receive it from the agencies.\n
  • to explain in more detail why this is so time-consuming: we received the data for locality, habitat, collecting method, agencies, and IDs in a massive table consisting of over 3,000 rows, formatted without our input;\n
  • this data had to be manipulated and formatted so that it could be imported into our databse, \n\nthen we made labels for all of the approximately 10,000 lots and sorted the labels to match with the specimens\n
  • this data had to be manipulated and formatted so that it could be imported into our databse, \n\nthen we made labels for all of the approximately 10,000 lots and sorted the labels to match with the specimens\n
  • the majority of the collection came to us in jars of vials that were totally mixed by taxa, and each vial, or lot, must be individually curated, after matching our labels with the specimens \n\nthis means sorting the specimens under the microscope; \n\ninserting the labels into a vial, and inserting the specimens into a smaller vial that goes inside the vial with the label, thus keeping the specimens separate from the labels which can damage them; \n\nand then sorting the curated, double-vialed specimens into separate jars by taxa and shelving \n
  • the majority of the collection came to us in jars of vials that were totally mixed by taxa, and each vial, or lot, must be individually curated, after matching our labels with the specimens \n\nthis means sorting the specimens under the microscope; \n\ninserting the labels into a vial, and inserting the specimens into a smaller vial that goes inside the vial with the label, thus keeping the specimens separate from the labels which can damage them; \n\nand then sorting the curated, double-vialed specimens into separate jars by taxa and shelving \n
  • the majority of the collection came to us in jars of vials that were totally mixed by taxa, and each vial, or lot, must be individually curated, after matching our labels with the specimens \n\nthis means sorting the specimens under the microscope; \n\ninserting the labels into a vial, and inserting the specimens into a smaller vial that goes inside the vial with the label, thus keeping the specimens separate from the labels which can damage them; \n\nand then sorting the curated, double-vialed specimens into separate jars by taxa and shelving \n
  • the majority of the collection came to us in jars of vials that were totally mixed by taxa, and each vial, or lot, must be individually curated, after matching our labels with the specimens \n\nthis means sorting the specimens under the microscope; \n\ninserting the labels into a vial, and inserting the specimens into a smaller vial that goes inside the vial with the label, thus keeping the specimens separate from the labels which can damage them; \n\nand then sorting the curated, double-vialed specimens into separate jars by taxa and shelving \n
  • the majority of the collection came to us in jars of vials that were totally mixed by taxa, and each vial, or lot, must be individually curated, after matching our labels with the specimens \n\nthis means sorting the specimens under the microscope; \n\ninserting the labels into a vial, and inserting the specimens into a smaller vial that goes inside the vial with the label, thus keeping the specimens separate from the labels which can damage them; \n\nand then sorting the curated, double-vialed specimens into separate jars by taxa and shelving \n
  • the majority of the collection came to us in jars of vials that were totally mixed by taxa, and each vial, or lot, must be individually curated, after matching our labels with the specimens \n\nthis means sorting the specimens under the microscope; \n\ninserting the labels into a vial, and inserting the specimens into a smaller vial that goes inside the vial with the label, thus keeping the specimens separate from the labels which can damage them; \n\nand then sorting the curated, double-vialed specimens into separate jars by taxa and shelving \n
  • The key element in our new and future method of specimen acquisition is collaboration, where we play a much more proactive role in the process. We use our contacts to seek out and choose high-value collections, then we contact the agencies involved and collaborate with them from the beginning, in the planning stages of the survey. This way everything from the collection to the data management to the curation can be done to our specifications and standards.\n\nA recent example is our acquisition of the survey material from the California Invasive Species Study conducted from 2004 to 2007. It was overseen by the Department of Fish and Game, who contracted with the Moss Landing Marine Pollution Studies Laboratory to coordinate and oversee the surveys. It was agreed that the voucher specimens from the survey would be deposited at NHMLA, and that we would provide input on how the specimens and data were handled.\n
  • The key element in our new and future method of specimen acquisition is collaboration, where we play a much more proactive role in the process. We use our contacts to seek out and choose high-value collections, then we contact the agencies involved and collaborate with them from the beginning, in the planning stages of the survey. This way everything from the collection to the data management to the curation can be done to our specifications and standards.\n\nA recent example is our acquisition of the survey material from the California Invasive Species Study conducted from 2004 to 2007. It was overseen by the Department of Fish and Game, who contracted with the Moss Landing Marine Pollution Studies Laboratory to coordinate and oversee the surveys. It was agreed that the voucher specimens from the survey would be deposited at NHMLA, and that we would provide input on how the specimens and data were handled.\n
  • The key element in our new and future method of specimen acquisition is collaboration, where we play a much more proactive role in the process. We use our contacts to seek out and choose high-value collections, then we contact the agencies involved and collaborate with them from the beginning, in the planning stages of the survey. This way everything from the collection to the data management to the curation can be done to our specifications and standards.\n\nA recent example is our acquisition of the survey material from the California Invasive Species Study conducted from 2004 to 2007. It was overseen by the Department of Fish and Game, who contracted with the Moss Landing Marine Pollution Studies Laboratory to coordinate and oversee the surveys. It was agreed that the voucher specimens from the survey would be deposited at NHMLA, and that we would provide input on how the specimens and data were handled.\n
  • The key element in our new and future method of specimen acquisition is collaboration, where we play a much more proactive role in the process. We use our contacts to seek out and choose high-value collections, then we contact the agencies involved and collaborate with them from the beginning, in the planning stages of the survey. This way everything from the collection to the data management to the curation can be done to our specifications and standards.\n\nA recent example is our acquisition of the survey material from the California Invasive Species Study conducted from 2004 to 2007. It was overseen by the Department of Fish and Game, who contracted with the Moss Landing Marine Pollution Studies Laboratory to coordinate and oversee the surveys. It was agreed that the voucher specimens from the survey would be deposited at NHMLA, and that we would provide input on how the specimens and data were handled.\n
  • The key element in our new and future method of specimen acquisition is collaboration, where we play a much more proactive role in the process. We use our contacts to seek out and choose high-value collections, then we contact the agencies involved and collaborate with them from the beginning, in the planning stages of the survey. This way everything from the collection to the data management to the curation can be done to our specifications and standards.\n\nA recent example is our acquisition of the survey material from the California Invasive Species Study conducted from 2004 to 2007. It was overseen by the Department of Fish and Game, who contracted with the Moss Landing Marine Pollution Studies Laboratory to coordinate and oversee the surveys. It was agreed that the voucher specimens from the survey would be deposited at NHMLA, and that we would provide input on how the specimens and data were handled.\n
  • The key element in our new and future method of specimen acquisition is collaboration, where we play a much more proactive role in the process. We use our contacts to seek out and choose high-value collections, then we contact the agencies involved and collaborate with them from the beginning, in the planning stages of the survey. This way everything from the collection to the data management to the curation can be done to our specifications and standards.\n\nA recent example is our acquisition of the survey material from the California Invasive Species Study conducted from 2004 to 2007. It was overseen by the Department of Fish and Game, who contracted with the Moss Landing Marine Pollution Studies Laboratory to coordinate and oversee the surveys. It was agreed that the voucher specimens from the survey would be deposited at NHMLA, and that we would provide input on how the specimens and data were handled.\n
  • Moss Landing conducted the surveys; these pictures show some of the collecting methods they used\n
  • a large diversity of marine invertebrates were collected, as listed here\n\n
  • Moss Landing hired independent consultant taxonomists with a high degree of expertise and experience; it was stipulated that the taxonomists had to adhere to certain protocols and nomenclatural standards, and most of them were members of SCAMIT.\nThis played a big part in why we chose to receive this particular collection\n
  • After we detailed our specifications, the taxonomists at Moss Landing entered the names and collecting information into an Excel file, and sent that to us; they formatted the data to our specifications so that it was easy to import directly into our database\nwe printed labels from the database and sent the labels back to Moss Landing, where they curated the specimens with our labels after we trained them in our curation techniques\n--we even have a link on our website to our curation protocols with pictures illustrating each step, so that any agencies planning on donating material to us can familiarize themselves with our curation techniques and standards beforehand--\nMoss Landing then delivered the specimens to us, fully curated, \nwith labels...like magic!\n
  • After we detailed our specifications, the taxonomists at Moss Landing entered the names and collecting information into an Excel file, and sent that to us; they formatted the data to our specifications so that it was easy to import directly into our database\nwe printed labels from the database and sent the labels back to Moss Landing, where they curated the specimens with our labels after we trained them in our curation techniques\n--we even have a link on our website to our curation protocols with pictures illustrating each step, so that any agencies planning on donating material to us can familiarize themselves with our curation techniques and standards beforehand--\nMoss Landing then delivered the specimens to us, fully curated, \nwith labels...like magic!\n
  • this is how the material looked when it arrived at NHMLA, curated to our specifications.\nAll we had to do was group the vials by taxa and put them on the shelves\n
  • all of this represents a tremendous amount of time saved in curating the data and the specimens, \nespecially for large acquisitions like the Bight 2003 material of 10,000 lots\n
  • all of this represents a tremendous amount of time saved in curating the data and the specimens, \nespecially for large acquisitions like the Bight 2003 material of 10,000 lots\n
  • all of this represents a tremendous amount of time saved in curating the data and the specimens, \nespecially for large acquisitions like the Bight 2003 material of 10,000 lots\n
  • all of this represents a tremendous amount of time saved in curating the data and the specimens, \nespecially for large acquisitions like the Bight 2003 material of 10,000 lots\n
  • the results of this new, collaborative approach to building collections are beautifully curated specimens on the shelves in less time, ready for researchers to study, at a much reduced cost for salaries, glassware, alcohol, cotton, and time;\nwe can also get written into grants and benefit from outside money for collections support as a result of this collaborative approach;\nThis process is also beneficial to agencies, streamlining the process for them; taking a more active role saves time and space, and is a more efficient use of resources; it allows them to get the material off the shelves and to us quickly when the specimens are still in good condition and they have all the data readily available, and they can feel good about getting the material out and available to researchers\n\n
  • Thank you!\n
  • SPNHC conference 2011

    1. 1. Collaboration: a Novel Approach to Building Collections Emma Freeman Marine Biodiversity Center Leslie Harris Polychaete SectionNATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY
    2. 2. Specimen acquisition: the traditional way
    3. 3. waiting for handouts
    4. 4. Southern California Bight 2003 Regional Marine Monitoring Survey• conducted every 5 years• 58 agencies participating• 1,664 taxa collected, representing 13 phyla
    5. 5. data received in large, unformatted Excel file
    6. 6. formatted and entered into database
    7. 7. formatted and entered into database made into labels
    8. 8. lengthy, time-consuming curation process
    9. 9. lengthy, time-consuming curation process
    10. 10. lengthy, time-consuming curation process
    11. 11. lengthy, time-consuming curation process
    12. 12. Specimen acquisition: the new way
    13. 13. Specimen acquisition: the new way COLLABORATION
    14. 14. Specimen acquisition: the new way COLLABORATIONCalifornia Invasive Species Study, 2004-2007
    15. 15. collecting specimens
    16. 16. Number of taxa collected:263 Polychaeta &Oligochaeta103 Crustacea27 Bryozoa14 Cnidaria9 Ophiuroidea130 Mollusca29 Platyhelminthes &Nemertea45 Porifera60 Urochordata
    17. 17. taxonomic identification
    18. 18. NHMLAC MLMLspecifications datalabels curationspecimens arriveat NHM . . .
    19. 19. like magic!
    20. 20. Time savings? 30 minutes per lot …times 10,000?!
    21. 21. Time savings? 30 minutes per lot …times 10,000?!5,000 hours or 625 work days vs. less than 10 minutes per lot! 1,165 hours or 146 work days
    22. 22. ResultsEveryone benefits: •valuable specimens •time savings •money savings •higher collections usage •outside money
    23. 23. Acknowledgements:Kathy Omura, Regina Wetzer, Dean Pentcheff, & Adam Wall, NHMLAC Ashleigh Lyman & Zea Walton, MLML

    ×