University of Connecticut University of UC Title Fallback Connecticut

Collection course (EEB 5500)


Instructors: J. O’Donnell, J. Caira, S. Taylor, B. Goffinet, D. Wagner & E. Quinter

Location: Torrey Life Sciences Room 171B (Bamford Conference Room; lectures) and BPB Rm. 115 (EEB Biodiversity Research Collections)

The objectives of the course include:

  • To provide an introduction to Natural History Collections, their value, and utility,
  • To introduce students to the circumstances and issues that present threats to Natural History Collections,
  • To familiarize students with the collections and facilities available in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology’s Biodiversity Research Collections (BRC),
  • To provide an overview of the databases employed in the BRC, and
  • To familiarize students with the policies which govern the use of the BRC resources and collections.

This course is open to all graduate and undergraduate students in EEB and biology, and is required for anyone wishing to use or work in the EEB Biodiversity Research Collections Facility. Grading is on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis; attendance at, and participation in, all four sessions is mandatory for Satisfactory.


session 1: 

6:15-6:15 pm  Introduction (Goffinet)

6:15-6:45 pm:  History of the EEB Biodiversity Research Collections (BRC) (Caira)

6:45-7:30 pm:  Importance of Natural History Collections (Wagner)

7:30-7:45 pm:  Break

7:45-9:15 pm:  In-depth tour of the BRC, with facility procedures (Capers & O’Donnell)

session 2: 

6:00-6:15 pm:  Voucher and type specimens (O’Donnell)

6:15-6:30 pm:  Overview of specimen databases; zoological databases (O’Donnell)

6:30-7:15 pm:  BRC Botanical database (BG-BASE) and uses for specimen data (Taylor)

7:15-9:15 pm:  Specimen preparation and labeling (O’Donnell, Quinter & Wagner)

session 3: 

6:00-6:45 pm:  Threats to Natural History Collections (O’Donnell)

6:45-8:00 pm:  Organization of Collections (Group Exercise)

8:00-9:15 pm:  Specimen preparation and labeling; imaging (Caira, Taylor & O’Donnell)

session 4: 

6:00-6:30 pm:  Basic legal issues; transaction & shipping issues and protocols (Taylor & O’Donnell

6:30-7:00 pm: Imaging (Taylor & O’Donnell)

7:00-8:45 pm:  Collection policies; collecting and collections: ethical issues (group discussion)

8:45-9.00 pm: Course evaluation