University of Connecticut University of UC Title Fallback Connecticut

Collection course (EEB 5500)


Fall Semester 2018

Instructors: Jane O’Donnell, Janine Caira, Bernard Goffinet & Sarah Taylor.

Location of Lectures: Torrey Life Sciences Room 181

Location of Practical Sessions: BPB Room 115 (EEB Biodiversity Research Collections)


The objectives of this course include: 1) To provide an introduction to Natural History Collections, their value, and utility, 2) To introduce students to the circumstances and issues that present threats to Natural History Collections, 3) To familiarize students with the collections and facilities available in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology’s Biodiversity Research Collections, 4) To provide an overview of the databases employed in the collections, 5) To familiarize students with the policies which govern the use of these collections.

Note: This course is required for anyone wishing to use or work in the EEB Biodiversity Research Collections Facility.


      Tu Sept. 11

  • 6:00-6:15 pm:  Introduction to course (O’Donnell) and collections (Goffinet)
  • 6:15–7:00 pm  History of the EEB Biodiversity Research Collections (BRCF) (Caira)
  • 7:00–7:45 pm  Importance of Natural History Collections (Wagner)
  • 7.45–9:15 pm  In-depth tour of the Biodiversity Research Collections, with facility procedures and specimen handling protocols (O’Donnell & Taylor) 

      Th Sept. 13

  • 6:00–6:20 pm  Voucher and type specimens (O’Donnell)
  • 620–6:35 pm  Overview of specimen databases; zoological databases (O’Donnell)
  • 6:35-7:15 pm  Botanical database (BG-BASE) (Taylor); uses for specimen data (Assignment 1 – preparation required for Group Discussion)
  • 7:15-9:15 pm  Specimen preparation and labeling (Vertebrates and Insects)

      Tu Sept. 18

  • 6:00–6:50 pm  Threats to Natural History Collections (O’Donnell)
  • 6:50–7:50 pm  Organization of Collections (Group Exercise)
  • 7:50–9:15 pm  Specimen preparation and labeling (Parasites and Plants)

      Th Sept. 21

  • 6:00–6:30 pm  Basic legal issues, including permits, transactions and shipping (O’Donnell)
  • 6:30–7:00 pm  Societies and organizations; training; careers; resources (Taylor & O’Donnell)
  • 7:00–8:00 pm  Collection policies (Assignment 2 – preparation required for Group Discussion)
  • 8:00–9:00 pm  Collecting and collections: ethical issues (Assignment 3 – preparation required for Group Discussion)
  • 9:00–9:15 pm  Course Evaluations

Grading is on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis; attendance at, and participation in, all four sessions is mandatory for Satisfactory.

All of the applicable university policies referenced at this url: should be considered part of this syllabus.