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Federal Programmatic Collections in the National Museum of Natural History The MMS / IZ Partnership – 30 Years and Counting The Geographic Diversity of.

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Presentation on theme: "Federal Programmatic Collections in the National Museum of Natural History The MMS / IZ Partnership – 30 Years and Counting The Geographic Diversity of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Federal Programmatic Collections in the National Museum of Natural History The MMS / IZ Partnership – 30 Years and Counting The Geographic Diversity of the Invertebrate Zoology Collections Cheryl Bright and William Moser, NMNH Department of Invertebrate Zoology

2 History of Federal Programmatic Collections In IZ 20 U.S.C. § 50 Reception and Arrangement of Specimens and Objects of Art Whenever suitable arrangements can be made from time to time for their reception, all objects of art and of foreign and curious research, and all objects of natural history, plants, and geological and mineralogical specimens belonging to the United States, which may be in the city of Washington, in whosever custody they may be, shall be delivered to such persons as may be authorized by the Board of Regents to receive them, and shall be so arranged and classified in the building erected for the institution as best to facilitate the examination and study of them; and whenever new specimens in natural history, geology, or mineralogy are obtained for the museum of the institution, by exchange of duplicate specimens, which the Regents in their discretion make, or by donation, which they may receive, or otherwise, the Regents shall cause such new specimens to be appropriately classed and arranged. (R.S. §5586 derived from Act Aug. 10, 1846, ch. 178, § 6, 9 Stat. 105) 20 U.S.C. § 59 Collections of National Ocean Survey, United States Geological Survey, and Others Deposited in National Museum All collections of rocks, minerals, soils, fossils, and objects of natural history, archaeology, and ethnology, made by the National Ocean Survey, the United States Geological Survey, or by any other parties for the Government of the United States, when no longer needed for investigations in progress shall be deposited in the National Museum. (Mar. 3, 1879, ch. 182, § 1, 20 Stat. 394; 1965 Reorg. Plan No. 2, eff. July 13, 1965, 30 F.R. 8819, 79 Stat. 1318, 1970 Reorg. Plan No. 4, eff. Oct. 3, 1970, 35 F.R , 84 Stat. 2090; Nov. 13, 1991, Pub. L , title I, 105 Stat. 1000).

3 Historical Programmatic Collections Include: US Exploring Expedition “Albatross” Collections US Bureau of Commercial Fisheries US Fish Commission Current Programmatic Collections Include: Present US Antarctic Program (NSF) Present MMS Archiving Program Present NCI Natural Products Vouchers (NIH)

4 Considerations Associated with Acquiring Programmatic Collections From the perspective of the archiving facility: - bulk or volume of the collection - presence and quantity of unprocessed samples - current level of curation - quality of the identifications - waste disposal costs - specimen quality (damage sustained during collecting and subsequent processing)

5 Considerations Associated with Acquiring Programmatic Collections From the perspective of the collector or funding agency: - Long term financial stability of the archive facility - Ability of the archive facility to - store the collection - maintain the collection - lend the collection - accommodate visitor access to the collection. - Archive facility’s ability to insure access to the specimen information (cataloging and WWW) - Regional emphasis of the collection being archived

6 The Current MMS Collection Archiving Project November, 1979 The project began with a team of 6 Museum Technicians working under the direction of Invertebrate Zoology Curator, Dr. Meredith Jones. The first collections to be accessioned into the Invertebrate Zoology collections from this project included: SABP – South Atlantic Benchmark Program CABP – Central Atlantic Benchmark Program MAFLA – Mississippi, Alabama & Florida Survey

7 Today There are 2 full time and 1 half time Museum Technicians funded by MMS who process these collections in collaboration with departmental collection management staff. More than 350,000 lots of specimens from 23 MMS research programs have been accessioned into the Invertebrate Zoology collections. The Current MMS Collection Archiving Project

8 Sites Sampled During Minerals Management Service Environmental Research Studies

9 ASLAR: Atlantic Slope and Rise Program m: BIMP: Georges Bank Benthic Infauna Monitoring Program m: CABP: Central Atlantic Benchmark Program m: CAMP: California Monitoring Program m: CARP: Central and Northern California Reconnaissance Program m: 1987 CASPS: Canyon and Slope Processes Study m: CGPS: Central Gulf Platform Study m: CHEMO: Chemosynthetic Ecosystem Study 500 – 1500 m; DGoMB: Deepwater Program: Northern Gulf of Mexico Continental Slope Habitats and Benthic Ecology m: IXTOC: IXTOC Oil Spill Assessment Study m: LMRS: South Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf Living Marine Resources Study m: LOPH: Deepwater Program: Characterization of Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Hard Bottom Communities with Emphasis on Lophelia coral (Lophelia study) m: 2004 MAFLA: Mississippi, Alabama, Florida Survey m: MAMES: Mississippi-Alabama Marine Ecosystem Study m: MAPTEM: Mississippi/Alabama Pinnacle Trend Ecosystem Monitoring m: NEEB: New England Environmental Benchmark Program m: 1977 NGOMCS: Northern Gulf of Mexico Continental Slope Study m: POSP: Panama Oil Spill Program m: SABP: South Atlantic Benchmark Program m: 1977 SOCAL: Southern California Baseline Study intertidal: SOFLA: Southwest Florida Shelf Ecosystem Study m: STOCS: South Texas Outer Continental Shelf Study m: WRECK: Deepwater Program: Archaeological and Biological Analysis of WWII Shipwrecks in the Gulf of Mexico: A Pilot Study of the Artificial Reef Effect in Deep Water (Deep Wrecks) m: 2004

10 Why Are Programmatic Collections Important? 1 – typically have excellent data 2 – typically result from intensive and extensive collecting 3 – are usually taxonomically and geographically redundant (this provides a large number of specimens of the same species of various age classes and sizes collected at various times, from across the species distribution range) 4 – often support a large body of scientific literature 5 –serve as the basis for environment and resource management decisions

11 Mollusca: Conus spurious Gmelin, USNM , SOFLA, photo by K. Ahlfeld Crustacea: Glyptoxanthus erosus (Stimpson), USNM , LMRS, photo by K. Ahlfeld MMS Specimens are a Significant Component of the Cataloged Invertebrate Zoology Collection Annelida: Hesiocaeca methanicola Desbruyères & Toulmond, photo by NOAA Staff Cnidaria: Javania cailleti (Duchassaing & Michelotti), USNM , MAPTEM, photo by K. Ahlfeld

12 New Species Described Total: Annelida 87 - Arthropoda 2 - Chordata 11 - Cnidaria 6 - Echinodermata 8 - Mollusca 9 - Porifera Almost 300 New Species Have Been Described From MMS Collections


14 -Confirm/re-evaluate previous identifications - Provide evidence in the event of legal challenges to management decisions - Documenting biodiversity - Inferring the possible absence of taxa in a given area at a given time - Identifying and locating ecosystems and ecological associations - Documenting changes in populations (structure, dynamics, size) - Documenting environmental change and degradation - Documenting climatic changes - Pollution analyses - Documenting predator-prey and trophic relationships - Documenting host-parasite relationships - Documenting ecological and geographical distributions of organisms - Inferring the presence of diseases and disease causing organisms through forensic studies - Documenting intraspecific variability - Documenting physiological and morphological adaptations - Documenting evolutionary trends - Documenting the variability of DNA How Are The Collections Used?

15 How are the Collections Used? Albatross MMS s “North Atlantic Ocean” Records in IZ Catalog Database Records - 437,771 of 908,824 = 48% Unique Taxa – 26,144 of 79,000+/- = 33%

16 MMS Lobster Specimens Examined During a Study Funded by the Department of Defense The Research Question Can the biomechanics of the buoyancy mechanism used by the lobster be adapted for a robotic underwater mine detector?

17 A Serendipitous Discovery PhD candidate at the National University of Singapore, Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research discovered a well-preserved specimen of a poorly known xanthid crab (Decapoda: Brachyura) from the SOFLA program in our collection. He expects to designate this MMS specimen as the Neotype of Carpoporus papulosus Stimpson, 1871 to stabilize a species name.

18 Minerals Management Service People Promoting Energy, the Environment, and the Economy News Release Office of Public Affairs News Media Contact: September 21, 2009 Eileen Angelico, (504) Caryl Fagot, (504) MMS Study Positively Identifies Giant Squid Presence in Gulf of Mexico Field Work for MMS Sperm Whale Prey Study Nets Giant Squid Architeuthis dux, USNM #

19 The “ICE WORM” A new species collected in 1997 from gas hydrates in the Gulf of Mexico

20 The Seven Volume Set of Identification Keys, Species Descriptions and Habitat Information Prepared for the Polychaetes of the Northern Gulf of Mexico, A Study Funded by MMS

21 A Few of the MMS Collection-Based Publications Authored by NMNH Department of Invertebrate Zoology Scientists

22 The usefulness of any collection depends on the accessibility of the specimens AND the information about them The Role of IZ Collection Management in Our MMS Collaboration - Physical Access arrangement, level of sorting, level of identification and preservation - Electronic Access digitization of specimens and images - Information Access Availability of inventories, data bases, web access ACCESS is the service we provide to MMS

23 MMS Holding Area in Pod-5 Note the detailed storage unit labels and finding aids

24 Fully Curated MMS Specimens Stored in the IZ General Reference Collection

25 Collection Infrastructure at NMNH The new fluid collection storage facility provides the equipment to safely store, handle and examine very large specimens

26 Electronic Access Digitization of specimen data and images Sample entry screens for multimedia files and text data in our EMu (Electronic Museum) specimen cataloging and data management application

27 The MMS specimen data is accessible to the public through a variety of web-based tools including EMu-Web from Invertebrate Zoology’s home page. IZ’s Collection Data Access via the Web


29 National Museum of Natural History, Department of Invertebrate Zoology (IZ) Home Page

30 Minerals Management Service (MMS) – NMNH, IZ Collaboration page click on grey bar to expand content History of NMNH-IZ and MMS collaboration and other documentation (pdf format)


32 BIMP Technical Report BIMP Station Data BIMP Station Map

33 Download Station Data Drill-down for full station record


35 Basic Search Search IZ Collections Detailed Search OR

36 Download images Download pdfs

37 drill down to specific records Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) – NMNH IZ collection data

38 Smithsonian cataloging software (Emu) – collection mapper

39 Query bounding-box for specific records Drill down to full catalog record

40 Google Earth – CGPS taxon records

41 Google Earth – MMS NEEB stations

42 Google Earth – NMNH-IZ/MMS map layer


44 The Take-Away Message : 1 – Taxpayers have spent tens of millions of dollars collecting these specimens to support the original research effort (environmental baseline surveys), but the value of the collections did not end with the submission of the final technical report; MMS understood the on-going value of these collections, sought a partner in NMNH-IZ to provide the needed long-term curation, and were willing to provide NMNH-IZ with the funds necessary to insure the professional management of these collections for the benefit of the public [I personally am not aware of a similar situation where a government organization responsible for the creation of these large collections at taxpayers expense, also assumed much of the financial burden for ensuring their long-term care and that they remain accessible to the research community; MMS deserves recognition for taking this proactive approach] 2 - The current arrangement is cost effective for MMS because they are able to insure the long-term stability of their vouchers and other specimens without having to duplicate the collection management expertise and collection infrastructure available from NMNH; and it makes access to the specimens easier for researchers since "everything is in one place“

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