Natural History Museum (UK): Natural History Museum allocated £180 million in Budget to create state-of-the art research centre at Harwell Science and Innovation Campus

Natural History Museum (UK): Natural History Museum allocated £180 million in Budget to create state-of-the art research centre at Harwell Science and Innovation Campus. “The collection of 80 million specimens, spanning 4.5 billion years from the formation of the solar system to the present day, is globally unique and scientifically invaluable. It plays a key role in the UK’s international reputation as a scientific leader. The development of new world-class accommodation will allow the Museum to move collections currently at risk of deterioration and irreparable damage from being housed in functionally and physically obsolete 20th century buildings to facilities which meet international collection standards.”

EurekAlert: DNA extracted in museum samples can reveal genetic secrets

EurekAlert: DNA extracted in museum samples can reveal genetic secrets. “Researchers have used a vortex fluidic device (VFD) to speed up DNA extraction from an American lobster preserved in formaldehyde – with the results providing a roadmap for exploring DNA from millions of valuable and even extinct species in museums worldwide.”

Florida Museum: Digital records of preserved plants and animals change how scientists explore the world

Florida Museum: Digital records of preserved plants and animals change how scientists explore the world. “There’s a whole world behind the scenes at natural history museums that most people never see. Museum collections house millions upon millions of dinosaur bones, pickled sharks, dried leaves, and every other part of the natural world you can think of–more than could ever be put on display. Instead, these specimens are used in research by scientists trying to understand how different kinds of life evolved and how we can protect them. And a new study in Plos One delves into how scientists are using digital records of all these specimens.”

California State University Long Beach: University’s Plant Collection Now Part Of National Database

California State University Long Beach: University’s Plant Collection Now Part Of National Database. “Up until recently, [Dr. Amanda] Fisher has had to rely largely on Cal State Long Beach’s collection of 18,00 physical specimens to conduct her research, dried local plants pressed onto 13×18 sheets on low-acid paper. If she wanted to view others from outside the Long Beach area, she would have to navigate the freeways. Today, however, with a few clicks of her computer mouse, Fisher, a professor in the biological sciences department, can study hundreds of thousands of digitized specimens from around the country online from a data base that now includes those collected by Cal State Long Beach researchers and students.”

Quartz: Historians are starting to explore the dark side of science

Quartz: Historians are starting to explore the dark side of science. ” Increasingly, scientific historians are coming to terms with the fact that science thrived in part because of the transatlantic slave trade of the 1500s to 1800s, which enabled naturalists to discover and ship new flora and fauna specimens around the world. To this day, museums contain these specimens that excited and inspired early scientists but were obtained only thanks to an inhumane business.”

University of Helsinki: Bring­ing nature on­line – all 13 mil­lion samples of it

University of Helsinki: Bring­ing nature on­line – all 13 mil­lion samples of it. “In downtown Helsinki, the remains of millions of animals and plants rest in cabinets in the long hallways of the Finnish Museum of Natural History. They’ve been collected over 300 years, and in the era of climate change and biodiversity loss they are more important than ever. But how will one transfer more than 13 million specimens from the cabinets to the Internet?”

Harvard Gazette: Critical collections

Harvard Gazette: Critical collections. “More than a century ago, when botanists and naturalists were in the field collecting plant and animal specimens, they couldn’t have imagined that scientists would one day be able to extract DNA from samples to understand how plants and animals are related to one another. They couldn’t have imagined that their collections could one day shed light on the effects of global climate change, or the emergence and spread of pathogens, the spread of fungal-driven amphibian extinction, or the effectiveness of policies aimed at reducing pollution in the U.S.”