The Research Collection is the “behind-the-scenes” part of the Museum, where specimens and tissue are kept for use by researchers.

The current long-term museum project for the research collection is to get all of the “fluid” specimen records in a computer file and ultimately available online in VertNet. VertNet is a public database of museum records worldwide.  In a fluid collection, specimens are preserved in ethanol. Most fish, amphibians, and reptiles specimens are preserved in fluid. Most birds and mammals are prepared as skins or skeletons and preserved dry, but sometimes they are stored in fluid for anatomical studies. Conner Museum has a bird fluid collection, along with a fluid collection of fish, amphibians, and reptiles.

Early in 2018, we finished the inventory and computerization of the bird fluid collection. Through most of 2018 and the beginning of 2019, we worked on inventory of the amphibians and reptiles (collectively known as “herps”). We have also replaced or replenished fluid if needed and replaced jar lids that were no longer maintaining a good seal.

The big news is that we are nearly finished with the work on the core of the herp collection. The plan is to have the records online in VertNet before the end of summer 2019.

Inventoried herp jars
Jars of lizards in the herp collection of Conner Museum. The contents of the jars have been inventoried, jars have been labeled, and fluid has been replaced if needed.