August 16, 2010

Every Specimen is a Snapshot of Time and Place

 

 

Jonathan Coddington is the head of research and collections at the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History. He recently told National Public Radio's Guy Raz that the  thousands of jars of specimens held by the museum -- including marine specimens from the Gulf -- are an invaluable resource for scientists. In the case of the Gulf oil spill disaster, they provide a comparison point: if a scientist needs to know how oil have affected crab larve after the spill, it helps to know the characteristics of crab larve before the spill, for example. Each specimen is a recording of the animal, its characteristics, its environment and other details at a particular moment in time. At the KU Biodiversity Institute, we have more than 8 million such research specimens and tissue samples preserved in jars, freezers and cabinets.


Add comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Use <bib>citekey</bib> or [bib]citekey[/bib] to insert automatically numbered references.
  • Insert Google Map macro.
  • [[nid:123]] - insert a node content

More information about formatting options

About the Science Life

Sometimes it's the work of other scientists that catches our eye at the Biodiversity Institute. The Science Life is a blog that distills a few of these observations from other science blogs, magazines, newspapers and our colleagues at other institutions. Join us as we highlight research discoveries in not only ecology and evolutionary biology, but also areas as diverse as archaeology, medicine, technology and climate change.

Go to the Science Life home page.

Recent Posts