Climate Change, Collecting, and Future Research


As we increasingly confront the environmental consequences of climate change, it is vitally important that natural science museums continue to collect and preserve specimens and objects to document its effects. Because scientific specimens are a record of the occurrence of a species at a particular time and place and contain clues to what their environment was like, natural science collections allow us to analyze past environmental patterns and predict future changes, but our ability to use collections in this way depends on having specimens collected over a long timespan. Continued collecting should be conducted in accordance with standards for equitable biological fieldwork. Although it is important to continue preparing specimens in traditional ways (e.g., dry specimens, skeletons, fluid-preserved specimens), it is equally important to develop new preservation techniques to meet the needs of future research (such as molecular systematics, isotope studies, microbiome research). To accommodate this increase in collection size, institutions should use the principles of preventive conservation to design more efficient collection storage arrays and facilities with stable, passive environments.

Posted in Uncategorized.