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Ruminations on the importance of vouchering, bycatch and accessibility

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CSEE 2017 - talk in the symposium on Natural History Collections - a source and sink for ecological and evolutionary research

CSEE 2017 - talk in the symposium on Natural History Collections - a source and sink for ecological and evolutionary research

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Ruminations on the importance of vouchering, bycatch and accessibility

  1. 1. Natural History Collections - a source and sink for ecological and evolutionary research Museum collections symposium MONDAY Newcombe RBCM Welcome, Kelly Sendall 08:00 - 08:15 Working together to mobilise biodiversity collections data in Canada, Anne Bruneau 08:15 - 08:45 A student's-eye view of taxonomy and collections research in Canada, Jamie Fenneman and Jeanette Whitton 08:45 - 09:00 Discovering and archiving the tree of life, Wayne Maddison 09:00 - 09:30 Climate change, phenology and species interactions: Opportunities and challenges of natural history collections, Heather Kharouba 09:30 - 10:00 Museum collections symposium MONDAY Newcombe RBCM Elevation, crypsis, and community structure of neotropical arthropods, Sarah Dolson & M. Alex Smith 10:30 - 10:45 Reconciling phenological observations with flowering records in herbaria, T. Jonathan Davies 10:45 -11:15 Using museum specimens and other best available data to assess insect conservation status: A lesson from the IUCN Red List bumblebees, Sheila Colla 11:15 - 11:45 The dead keep talking, Leah R. Ramsay 11:45 - 12:00 Discussion 12:00 - 12:15
  2. 2. Sarah Dolson and M. Alex Smith Department of Integrative Biology University of Guelph Natural History Collections - a source and sink for ecological and evolutionary research Monday May 9, 10:30 am Newcombe RBCM @Alex_Smith_Ants ELEVATION, CRYPSIS AND PHYLOGENETIC COMMUNITY STRUCTURE OF NEOTROPICAL ARTHROPODS OR RUMINATIONS ON THE IMPORTANCE OF BYCATCH AND ACCESSIBILITY @sarahdolson
  3. 3. Dry forest Rain forest Cloud forest Collection Localities Área de Conservación Guanacaste Costa Rica In a space ~10x the area of Vancouver, we estimate there to be nearly 3% of the world’s biodiversity
  4. 4. 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 DailyMax:Temp(°C) Naranjo Santa Rosa Gongorra RanchoHarold Arenales Circular Derrumbe LaCima y = -0.0103x + 33.299 R² = 0.9585 17 22 27 32 37 0 500 1000 1500 AverageDailyMax:Temp(°C) Lapse rate of 1 °C for every 100m
  5. 5. DNA Barcode Data – DNA sequences – DNA trace files DNA Barcode MetaData – Lat/Long – Specimen photographs – Specimen collection information – Associations
  6. 6. Accessibility http://janzen.sas.upenn.edu/
  7. 7. Accessibility
  8. 8. Bycatch – not a dirty word Inventory of “bycatch’ in an ant diversity project • >20,000 collection lots in Guelph and Costa Rica including >25 orders • 5 years of temperature and precipitation on a neotropical elevation gradient • 100’s videos • TB of GigaPans (#) • Camera traps • 1000’s DNA extracts • METADATA! Ecologists! Consider your Collection “event”/”location” as “JUST IN CASE” for the unanticipated (e.g. temperature), not simply “JUST IN TIME” for the question you or your students think is appropriate now. Something NHC’s have done forever. 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 Coleoptera Collembola Diptera Staphylinidae Acari Araneae Hymenoptera Isopoda Hemiptera Orthoptera Blattodea Thysanoptera Aleocharinae Miscellaneous Amphipoda Lepidoptera Diplopoda Opiliones Psocoptera Formicidae Chilopoda Isoptera Dermaptera Oxytelinae Larva Gastropoda Pseudoscorpiones Phthiraptera Neuroptera Crustacea Oligochaeta Arachnida Pselaphinae Paederinae Staphylininae Thysanura Archaeognatha Diplura Mantodea Scorpiones Eucharitidae Trichoptera Hirudinea Nematoda Achatinoidea Embioptera Frog Myriapoda Protura Solifugae Steninae Tachyporinae Freqeuency
  9. 9. McGugan, J.R., Byrd, G.D., Roland, A.B. et al. (2016) J Chem Ecol 42: 537. doi:10.1007/s10886-016-0715-x Bycatch provides critical Nat Hist info on non-target organisms
  10. 10. McGugan, J.R., Byrd, G.D., Roland, A.B. et al. (2016) J Chem Ecol 42: 537. doi:10.1007/s10886-016-0715-x Bycatch provides critical Nat Hist info on non-target organisms Donoso, David A (2012) Additions to the taxonomy of the armadillo ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Tatuidris). Zootaxa 3503: 61-81. Bycatch provides critical material for future taxonomic revisions
  11. 11. Moffat, C., & Smith, MA. (2015). Pre-release detection of a biocontrol agent: Combining independent and public DNA sequences to identify the first North American record of Aulacidea pilosellae (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae). The Canadian Entomologist, 147(4), 390-395. doi:10.4039/tce.2014.48 Bycatch provides critical data for future inventories
  12. 12. Moffat, C., & Smith, MA. (2015). Pre-release detection of a biocontrol agent: Combining independent and public DNA sequences to identify the first North American record of Aulacidea pilosellae (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae). The Canadian Entomologist, 147(4), 390-395. doi:10.4039/tce.2014.48 Bycatch provides critical data for future inventories Bycatch provides critical data for range extensions Henri Goulet, David R. Smith, M. Alex Smith and José Fernández-Triana (2015) New Country Records for Teredon cubensis (Cresson) (Hymenoptera: Siricidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 117(4):522-524.
  13. 13. 1. The goal of any collection ought to be greater use • True of ecological & natural history collections • “Species names” are moving targets. Accurate vouchering of events and specimens, and eventually, depositing them in public collections, is the only way to make verifiable evidence through time. • Accurate specimen vouchering is key! 2. Opportunity and Obligation - Accessibility • Not just post-publication! Consider pre-pub! • Increase use(r)s & Unintended use(r)s 3. Opportunity and Obligation - Bycatch • Reveals natural history of non-target organism, enables future taxonomic revisions, is the data for future inventories & range extensions • Just in Case rather than Just in Time 4. Best practices for production of/use of accessible bycatch. A Fort Lauderdale-esque statement of principles for bycatch. • Producer: Publish a “Project Description” • User: Contact the primary data generator. • User: Consider including them in the manuscript. Messages
  14. 14. Acknowledgements • The ACG for protecting it all! • Dan Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs • The ACG parataxonomists for collecting, rearing and databasing ACG insects. • ALL the graduate and undergraduate students and volunteers in the Smith Lab for their enthusiasm, questions, dedication and love for the little things. • NSERC DG & RTI grants • Canada Foundation for Innovation @Alex_Smith_Antssalex@uoguelph.ca
  15. 15. 1. Voucher collections and specimens (only way to make them verifiable through time) 2. Make them accessible post AND pre-publication 3. The value of bycatch 4. In general, move from Just in Time to Just in Case

Notas

  • Vouchering collections and specimens – making them accessible pre and post publication – and considering your bycatch. Moving from JIT to JIC

    Welcome the opportunity to speak with you about how our lab group, that studies Elevation, crypsis and phylogenetic community structure of Neotropical arthropods is affected by, and contributes to, natural history collections.


    ABSTRACT

    Our lab group is interested in how arthropod communities are assembled along gradients of elevation and disturbance. We incorporate both phylogenetic and functional measures of diversity to track how ecological communities change in response to the changing abiotic conditions associated with climate change. We use standardized collections and DNA barcodes across an elevation gradient in the neotropics to quantify diversity and community structure for some of the most abundant terrestrial arthropods (ants, beetles, spiders, springtails, and isopods). It is only through the creation and maintenance of standardised and accessible natural history collections that we can explore these concepts in multiple taxa. Furthermore, making data (specimens, DNA sequences, images and localities) available prior to publication allows our lab group and others to ask and answer questions in the future regarding how these systems are changing. This transparency in what we are studying is of critical importance when many of the taxa in question are not named. Since scientific names provide access to our understanding of a species and a framework to predict the functional elements of that species, lacking names critically impedes conducting predictive and process-oriented biodiversity science in the neotropics amongst arthropods. Our work is often then to catalyse our collections via DNA barcodes so that we can rapidly document the species that live in this hyperdiverse area. We aim to measure phylogenetic diversity and measures of functional diversity by gathering/offering/extending data on the ecology, life history traits, and morphological variables linked to species survival in particular abiotic conditions.

    Dear  Alex,
     
    As a part of the upcoming Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution Annual Meeting in Victoria BC, May 7-11, we are organizing a very special symposium. Thanks in part to sponsorship from the Royal BC Museum, we are organizing a session to be held at the museum (across the street from the main venue). This symposium will focus on the impact, usage, and value of Natural History Collections to ecology and evolutionary biology research. Please find below the title and summary of the symposium to be included in the program. We feel that your ongoing work puts you in a unique position to provide insight and perspective on this topic. We would like to invite you to present as a part of this symposium. Like all symposia at this meeting, we will not have a budget to cover your travel expenses or registration. However, if you are planning to attend the meeting, we would greatly appreciate your participation in our symposium. Please let us know as soon as possible if you will be able to participate.
     
    We look forward to hearing from you,
     
    Thanks,
     
    Joel Gibson, Curator of Entomology, Royal BC Museum
    Michelle Tseng, Assistant Professor, Departments of Zoology and Botany, University of British Columbia
     
    _________________________________________________________________________
     
    Natural History Collections - a source and sink for ecological and evolutionary research
     
     
    Natural history collections (NHCs) are essential to ecological and evolutionary research, especially in light of rapid environmental change. They are a rich ‘source’ of data about local, regional, and global biodiversity. Specimens are available for morphological, genealogical, and chemical study. Metadata associated with specimens provide crucial spatial and temporal context to research. NHCs also offer long-term storage and curation (the ‘sink’) of biological specimens that physically document ecological and evolutionary research. Traditionally the home of ‘alpha’ and ‘beta’ taxonomy, NHCs play an increasing role in ‘gamma’ taxonomic research aimed at understanding the physical and biological processes that give rise to biodiversity. This symposium will explore some key questions facing current and future users of natural history collections, especially at the interface with ecological and evolutionary research. How are data from these biodiversity storehouses currently being used and what are the limits of these data? How do we best capture the breadth and the depth of ecological and evolutionary research with representative specimens deposited in NHCs? What is the public and scientific obligation to maintain, support, and use Natural History collections? This symposium is sponsored by the Royal British Columbia Museum.

  • ACG
    The Area de Conservacion Guanacaste (ACG) – is a 165K UNESCO world heritage preserve in NW Costa Rica
    It contains a large marine area, tropical dry forest, rain forest and cloud forest
    In a space ~10x the area of Vancouver, we estimate there to be nearly 3% of the world’s biodiversity














    Vancouver BC = 11,500 ha – 14x = ACG
    Victoria BC = 1, 947 ha
    Lansing Michigan = 9,500 ha.
    Detroit Michigan = 34,6320 ha = ~4.5x
    Toronto = 712,400 ha (Toronto + Durham, Halton, Peel, and York.)
    City of Toronto = 63020 ha
    Algonquin Provincial Park – 736,000 ha
    St. John’s is 44,600

    ACG is 163,000 hectares

    Therefore, in an area 3.5x the area of the city of St. John’s there are estimated to reside 3% of the world’s biodiversity

    163000/44600
  • Abiotic gradients
    We are interested in the evolution and maintence of alpha and beta diversity across this gradient for it’s own sake
    But also in a comparative sense – as we know that the changes we experience as canadians across 100’s and 1000’s of km are mimiced here across 100’s of m.
    Here, a 100m change in elevation approximately equal to 100km of latitudinal change.
    So our ACG gradient is ~ to New Orleans to Detroit.
  • Abiotic gradients
    We are interested in the evolution and maintence of alpha and beta diversity across this gradient for it’s own sake
    But also in a comparative sense – as we know that the changes we experience as canadians across 100’s and 1000’s of km are mimiced here across 100’s of m.
    Here, a 100m change in elevation approximately equal to 100km of latitudinal change.
    So our ACG gradient is ~ to New Orleans to Detroit.
  • Abiotic gradients
    Simple data, relatively inexpensive – but rare and increasingly important
    Here, we know for example, that the lapse rate of the daily maximum temperature declines 1C for every 100m you rise in elevation
    Accessible to researchers within the park pre-publication









    C:\Users\Alex\Dropbox\ACG temperature data\Cacao & Rincon Cummulative Plot - Dec 2012 - Dec 2015.xlsx

    Latitudinal lapse rate - Latitudinal lapse rate from 8points.xlsx
    100m is about the same as 100km in North America

    C:\Users\Alex\Dropbox\ACG temperature data

    1000 days

    96,000 measurements at each site
    768,000 measurements
  • Collections and Collaboration
    Since 2008, we have been working with other researchers and parataxonomists in the ACG
    Using a standardised collection routine that involves multiple collection types ….
    To collect and document the diversity of leaf-litter arthropods of the ACG. These are stored at -20C either in the ACG or in Guelph
    Where they are sorted to order before individual taxa of interest (initial interest) are selected. Historically, this has started with the ants – and then extends into other taxa.
  • Habitat via GigaPans
    We augment our “Victorian” field notes with…
    An high-resolution GigaPan panoramic photographs
    In a GigaPan, a large (700-1200) photographs are stitched together into a single
    Stitched image where extreme detail can be uncovered (animate – or touch hyperlink to engage the GigaPan)
  • Accessibility (access and species proxies)
    We work with what Ed Wilson has called the little things that run the world
    Most of them are less than a cm, less than a gram and in most cases – without a formalised name.
    In this morass of diversity, we use DNA barcodes to to suggest interm species proxies (BINS)
    All the details for the collections (list) are uploaded and shared on BOLD – prior to publication.

    Perhaps note that we use barcoding (or COI) never as a final analysis (or ceiling) – but a rather as a shared doorway to a building where you want to collaborate
  • Whatever your collection is – greater use (intended and 2ndry) ought to be the goal
    Ensuring that your data (vouchered specimens and metadata) are publically accessible will ensure greater use.
    Here, we aspire to the example of an Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs and their eminently accessible database of plants, herbivores, parastioids and hyperparasitoids from ACG.
    Here are a sampling of databases where we have provided data. (not exhaustive, but an example).

  • Here are a sample of the databases where we have provided data. (not exhaustive).
    Sequences and much more
    BOLD (sequences, GPS, field notes, specimen photographs)
    GenBank (sequences)
    Habitat and behaviour
    GigaPan (high-resolution habitat inventories)
    Youtube (behavioural videos from the field)
    Specific databases within a predefined area
    Investigadores ACG (time series data for a specific region (ie share with others where you work in the same area).
    ACG website (increasingly the park website is becoming a repository of species level data itself).
  • Collaborative and open = productive!
    Since 2008, this endeavour has proved very fruitful due to the inherently collaborative nature.
    More than 40 papers ranging from ecological analyses, natural history notes and species descriptions





    C:\Users\Alex\Desktop\ACG papers\ACG article word cloud.docx
    C:\Users\Alex\Desktop\ACG papers\ACG paper.ai
  • Bycatch & Inventory
    We initiated this to specifically look at ants – but recognising the value in the bycatch – has diversified our approach and questions and collaborators.
    What kind of bycatch? What else in the inventory?
    How do you deal with the bycatch? Student model
    Ordinal sorting (family in some cases) is an extremely first step – and one that most interested UG can be easily trained to complete.
    Have to consider what they get/want in return
    Shift the mindset from “just in time” to one that includes more “Just in Case” (http://www.acumenfl.com/blog/just-in-time-versus-just-in-case-parts-inventory-management/ ) make ecologists more JIC rather than JIT
    The later is likely to be inconsequential, the later may be invaluable.
    But bycatch also for tweeks your understanding of the questions you know you want to ask now. For example….
    Examples informed by some of the thinking in a 2011 Methods in Ecol and Evol article by Sascha Buchholz and friends (Sascha Buchholz et al Methods in Ecology and Evolution 2011, 2, 99–102)






    C:\Users\Alex\Dropbox (Smith Lab)\Costa Rica Master and Staphylinidae Organization\ACG_Curation_Mastersheet.xlsx
  • Lessons to us from our own bycatch – don’t blindly extend across arthropod groups
    Can see here with the ants that the general trend that more distant communities are more dissimilar. Some variability up to 200m apart (remember these are pairwise).
    HOWEVER the range of dissimilarities at short distances varies largely (compare collembola to parsitoids or spiders to ants)
    Dissimilarity measure = inter-community mean nearest taxon distance
    Comparison in this case is strengthened by the equivalence of collection methods
    A small example of how examining our own bycatch has changed our approach. There are other, more distributed and collaborative ways that bycatch can increase the impact of your collection.

    C:\Users\Alex\Desktop\2015 Talks\Barcode Conference abstracts\ASSPI – 150804.xlsx, sheet phylobetadiversity

    R comdistnt elevation protocol.docx
    parform multi-plot R protocol.docx
    phylobetadiversity and elevation.ai
  • Lessons to us from our own bycatch – don’t blindly extend across arthropod groups
    Can see here with the ants that the general trend that more distant communities are more dissimilar. Some variability up to 200m apart (remember these are pairwise).
    HOWEVER the range of dissimilarities at short distances varies largely (compare collembola to parsitoids or spiders to ants)
    Dissimilarity measure = inter-community mean nearest taxon distance
    Comparison in this case is strengthened by the equivalence of collection methods
    A small example of how examining our own bycatch has changed our approach. There are other, more distributed and collaborative ways that bycatch can increase the impact of your collection.

    C:\Users\Alex\Desktop\2015 Talks\Barcode Conference abstracts\ASSPI – 150804.xlsx, sheet phylobetadiversity

    R comdistnt elevation protocol.docx
    parform multi-plot R protocol.docx
    phylobetadiversity and elevation.ai
  • Bycatch provides invaluable returns in unintended ways (non-target taxa or questions)
    German amphibian researchers were interested in determining the diet of various Ecuadorian dendrobatid poison dart frogs. Their analysis of gut contents via COI ran into post publication and pre-release COI sequences from our research program on BOLD and GenBank. They used these to identify the species of ants these frogs preyed upon. (no communication)
    When conducting a regional update to the biology of a cryptic and little studied ant genus in the Neotropics, David Donoso expanded his regional and species coverage when he ran into pre-publication COI sequences that were on BOLD and GenBank. (communication and acknowledgement)





    C:\Users\Alex\Dropbox (Personal)\Ant diversity and alkaloids - response

    D:\data\sratnasi\desktop\2011 Posters\Cacao and ACG\Working Copies\Black ant images for scale\New Folder
  • Bycatch provides invaluable returns in unintended ways (non-target taxa or questions)
    German amphibian researchers were interested in determining the diet of various Ecuadorian dendrobatid poison dart frogs. Their analysis of gut contents via COI ran into post publication and pre-release COI sequences from our research program on BOLD and GenBank. They used these to identify the species of ants these frogs preyed upon. (no communication)
    When conducting a regional update to the biology of a cryptic and little studied ant genus in the Neotropics, David Donoso expanded his regional and species coverage when he ran into pre-publication COI sequences that were on BOLD and GenBank. (communication and acknowledgement)





    C:\Users\Alex\Dropbox (Personal)\Ant diversity and alkaloids - response

    D:\data\sratnasi\desktop\2011 Posters\Cacao and ACG\Working Copies\Black ant images for scale\New Folder
  • Bycatch provides invaluable returns in unintended ways (future change (arrivals and range extensions))
    First example is a Canadian one where early release pre-publication data of a Malaise trap inventory (designed to be part of a larger student driven study on the effects of forestry on arthropod diversity) demonstrated the existence in Canada of a parasitoid that was under CFIA consideration for import and use as a biocontrol agent. We learned it was already here via the larger community being able to see the pre-publication release of bycatch data.
    Second example is from Belize. Here, natural history information in the photo, placed on the web, was found to contain only the second recorded observation of a species previously known to be restricted to Cuba – in the interior forests of Belize. Again – public release, communication -> collaboration and publication of an unintended taxon (to me, the photo is the ant – the story is the sawfly).


    Recent publications have responsibilities for the primary user regarding bycatches. There are also good faith practices for the secondary.
    Contact the primary data generator.
    Consider including them in the manuscript.

    Reveals natural history of non-target organism, enables future taxonomic revisions, source of future inventories & range extensions
  • Bycatch provides invaluable returns in unintended ways (future change (arrivals and range extensions))
    First example is a Canadian one where early release pre-publication data of a Malaise trap inventory (designed to be part of a larger student driven study on the effects of forestry on arthropod diversity) demonstrated the existence in Canada of a parasitoid that was under CFIA consideration for import and use as a biocontrol agent. We learned it was already here via the larger community being able to see the pre-publication release of bycatch data.
    Second example is from Belize. Here, natural history information in the photo, placed on the web, was found to contain only the second recorded observation of a species previously known to be restricted to Cuba – in the interior forests of Belize. Again – public release, communication -> collaboration and publication of an unintended taxon (to me, the photo is the ant – the story is the sawfly).


    Recent publications have responsibilities for the primary user regarding bycatches. There are also good faith practices for the secondary.
    Contact the primary data generator.
    Consider including them in the manuscript.

    Reveals natural history of non-target organism, enables future taxonomic revisions, source of future inventories & range extensions
  • Integrate (and contribute to) undergraduate researchers into your collection

    Accessibility and productive and impact
    Get students, graduate and undergraduate, into your collection.
    Enthusiastic catalysts, prostelysers,
    Important and capable workforce – particularly as it pertains to bycatch
  • Welcome the opportunity to speak with you about how our lab group, that studies Elevation, crypsis and phylogenetic community structure of Neotropical arthropods is affected by, and contributes to, natural history collections.


    ABSTRACT

    Our lab group is interested in how arthropod communities are assembled along gradients of elevation and disturbance. We incorporate both phylogenetic and functional measures of diversity to track how ecological communities change in response to the changing abiotic conditions associated with climate change. We use standardized collections and DNA barcodes across an elevation gradient in the neotropics to quantify diversity and community structure for some of the most abundant terrestrial arthropods (ants, beetles, spiders, springtails, and isopods). It is only through the creation and maintenance of standardised and accessible natural history collections that we can explore these concepts in multiple taxa. Furthermore, making data (specimens, DNA sequences, images and localities) available prior to publication allows our lab group and others to ask and answer questions in the future regarding how these systems are changing. This transparency in what we are studying is of critical importance when many of the taxa in question are not named. Since scientific names provide access to our understanding of a species and a framework to predict the functional elements of that species, lacking names critically impedes conducting predictive and process-oriented biodiversity science in the neotropics amongst arthropods. Our work is often then to catalyse our collections via DNA barcodes so that we can rapidly document the species that live in this hyperdiverse area. We aim to measure phylogenetic diversity and measures of functional diversity by gathering/offering/extending data on the ecology, life history traits, and morphological variables linked to species survival in particular abiotic conditions.

    Dear  Alex,
     
    As a part of the upcoming Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution Annual Meeting in Victoria BC, May 7-11, we are organizing a very special symposium. Thanks in part to sponsorship from the Royal BC Museum, we are organizing a session to be held at the museum (across the street from the main venue). This symposium will focus on the impact, usage, and value of Natural History Collections to ecology and evolutionary biology research. Please find below the title and summary of the symposium to be included in the program. We feel that your ongoing work puts you in a unique position to provide insight and perspective on this topic. We would like to invite you to present as a part of this symposium. Like all symposia at this meeting, we will not have a budget to cover your travel expenses or registration. However, if you are planning to attend the meeting, we would greatly appreciate your participation in our symposium. Please let us know as soon as possible if you will be able to participate.
     
    We look forward to hearing from you,
     
    Thanks,
     
    Joel Gibson, Curator of Entomology, Royal BC Museum
    Michelle Tseng, Assistant Professor, Departments of Zoology and Botany, University of British Columbia
     
    _________________________________________________________________________
     
    Natural History Collections - a source and sink for ecological and evolutionary research
     
     
    Natural history collections (NHCs) are essential to ecological and evolutionary research, especially in light of rapid environmental change. They are a rich ‘source’ of data about local, regional, and global biodiversity. Specimens are available for morphological, genealogical, and chemical study. Metadata associated with specimens provide crucial spatial and temporal context to research. NHCs also offer long-term storage and curation (the ‘sink’) of biological specimens that physically document ecological and evolutionary research. Traditionally the home of ‘alpha’ and ‘beta’ taxonomy, NHCs play an increasing role in ‘gamma’ taxonomic research aimed at understanding the physical and biological processes that give rise to biodiversity. This symposium will explore some key questions facing current and future users of natural history collections, especially at the interface with ecological and evolutionary research. How are data from these biodiversity storehouses currently being used and what are the limits of these data? How do we best capture the breadth and the depth of ecological and evolutionary research with representative specimens deposited in NHCs? What is the public and scientific obligation to maintain, support, and use Natural History collections? This symposium is sponsored by the Royal British Columbia Museum.


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