Collections-based Symposium & Round-table Discussion
Date: Tuesday, 16 August 2016.
9:00-11:30am - morning session (note that the web site is incorrect; we will begin at 0900).
11:30-12:30 - lunch
12:30-3:30 - afternoon session
Summary. The morning symposium will be “Integrating Natural History Collections into Undergraduate Education,” and the afternoon roundtable will be “Issues in Collections Management and Museum Science.” Natural history collections offer unique opportunities for students to obtain hands-on training in organismal biology and to get involved in research. Pressing issues in collections management include data quality, complexity, and associated software; social media; destructive sampling; specimen transport; and permitting.
Names and Affiliation of Organizers:
AOU Collections Committee & Smithsonian Institution (contacts: Carla Cicero, Chris Milensky, and Kevin Winker)
MORNING - SYMPOSIUM
Title: “Integrating Natural History Collections into Undergraduate Education”
Duration: 9:00-11:30am - morning session (note that the web site is incorrect; we will begin at 0900).
Description of Objectives and Topics:
Natural history collections offer unique opportunities for students to obtain hands-on training in organismal biology through learning how to collect, prepare, and curate specimens. These experiences also provide students with opportunities to get involved in collections-based research activities. Conversely, students may contribute significantly to natural history collections through their potential involvement in a wide variety of activities.
This symposium will discuss current initiatives to integrate natural history collections into undergraduate education. Each talk will focus on a different museum’s program. Our goal is to convey the relevance of museums for training the next generation of scientists. We also tie in the relevance of museums to conservation through discussions of specific research projects involving undergraduate students. Examples of conservation-focused work include studies on stable isotopes, resurveys, phylogeography, genetic change over time, trophic change, disease ecology, pesticide/toxicity studies, describing cryptic species, and species distribution modeling.
This symposium will be of broad interest to both researchers and educators. We will highlight how students benefit from collections-based research experiences and how institutions benefit from having students work in the collections. Examples of benefits to undergraduates include hands-on learning with specimens in a formal curriculum, mentoring by collections staff and faculty, field experience, and development of a scientific identity. Benefits to institutions include help collecting and processing materials as well as opportunities for outreach and broader impacts. We will also discuss the use of collections in public outreach and educational programs, both university-affiliated and more broadly.
9:00: Very brief (<1 min) Intro and Welcome: Carla Cicero, MVZ
9:00-9:15: Scott Edwards, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard Univ.
AIM-UP! Advancing Integration of Museums into Undergraduate Programs
9:15-9:30: Anna Hiller, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, Univ. California Berkeley
A 10-Year Retrospective on the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology Undergraduate Program
9:30-9:45: Gene Hunt, National Museum of Natural History
Natural History Research Experiences REU at the National Museum of Natural History
9:45-10:00: Peter Wimberger, Slater Museum of Natural History
Research and Beyond! Integrating Natural History Museums into an Undergraduate Liberal Arts Environment
10:00-10:15: John Bates, Field Museum of Natural History
The Future of Collection Databases: Training the Next Generation of Data Curators
10:15-10:30: Elizabeth Beckman, Museum of Southwestern Biology
Approaches to teaching undergraduate evolutionary genetics using museum specimens and databases
10:30-10:45: John McCormack, Moore Lab of Zoology, Occidental College
Molecular Research with Undergraduates Using Museum Specimens
10:45-11:00: Beth Wommack, University of Wyoming Museum of Vertebrates
The Start of a Volunteer Program at the University of Wyoming Museum of Vertebrates
11:00-11:30: General Discussion
LUNCH BREAK 11:30-12:30 - lunch
AFTERNOON – ROUND-TABLE DISCUSSION
Title: “Issues in Collections Management and Museum Science”
Duration: 12:30-3:30 - afternoon session
Description of Objectives and Topics: This round–table discussion complements the morning session, considering some of the most pressing issues in collections management today. It focuses on five or six areas: (1) An overview of data quality issues in this era of increasingly detailed desires and requirements and data management of data-rich collections and database software options. (2) The use of social media for collection-based activities. (3) The growing demands for destructive sampling of traditional specimens, and how and why various responses have evolved (including preserving more samples for destructive research). (4) Navigation of increasingly complex international issues in the movement of specimens and an overview of pressing permitting issues. The session will begin with a 5-minute introduction and end with a 30-minute general discussion. Leaders for each topic TBD; structure to be ~10 minutes of panel/leaders presentations and ~20 minutes of open discussion. We anticipate 2-3 panel leaders per topic.
- Introduction (5 min)
- Data Quality and Collection Digitization, including publication of data to global biodiversity portals. Data management of data-rich collections and database software options (55 min). Panel leaders: Carla Cicero, Craig Ludwig, Keith Barker.
- The challenges of effectively using social media and web-based outreach for collections-based activities (30 min). Panel leaders: Paul Sweet, James Maley, Ildiko Szabo.
- Destructive sampling, including new technologies, sampling requests, preserving multiple samples for destruction, and techniques (30 min). Panel leaders: Helen James, Garth Spellman, Kevin Winker.
- International issues, including loans, disease, specimen treatments, and an overview of pressing permitting issues (30 min).
Panel leaders: Chris Milensky, …
- General discussion (30 min). Panel leaders: Kevin Winker, Carla Cicero, Chris Milensky.