Friday, December 30, 2016

Best Of 2016: A year of visual communication


2016 rang in with a new medium for us at SciColl: a video series! This year we jumped feet-first into video profiles of folks working with collections every day. We inquired about how they use collections, who they collaborate with, and how collections-based research is unlike any other. The stories are as diverse as the collections, and we’re looking forward to bringing you more in 2017!
  • Interested in plants and how to study the tallest trees in the forest if you can’t get to canopy? Check out The Ultimate Identifier.
  • Flies are everywhere, but these kinds of flies are often easier to find in collections than the field. Learn more in The Assassin (Flies) of Entomology.
  • What do archaeology, wildlife management and conservation genomics have in common? Check out The Archaeogenomics Equation and learn how this interdisciplinary field got started.
  • We also collaborated with our friends at Biodiversity Heritage Library to revamp one of their 2014 blog posts into a video: Monsters Are Real. Is it just us, or do these monsters seemingly come to life when animated with an appropriate soundtrack?
Looking for more? We always are, and compile the best from around the web on our YouTube Channel. Come see what we have in our playlists:
We look forward to a blog-filled 2017 and hope you’ll continue to join us!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Best Of 2016: Peeking behind the curtain

In 2016, our most popular articles included a profile of David Inouye (left) leading up to our food security workshop; the engineering behind biorepositories; and a piece about the challenge in describing new or undescribed species.

Without further ado, the end of the year “most read” list is here! Looking at the posts that captivated the largest audiences, it seems this year people were particularly intrigued by stories that pulled the curtain back on collections, their operations, and how to apply the information inside.

In Describing the Undescribed, we learned how to describe a new species with the particular challenge of ensuring you’re not re-describing an already named species. When working in small geographic areas or on a group of closely related species, collections can help researchers verify their new species and highlight what makes them unique.

In The Engineering Behind Repositories, we discussed the challenges of operating a repository. In addition to housing specimens in the appropriate containers to planning out the current collection size and its growth potential, repository managers have to worry about maintaining the right environmental conditions. Errors in technology can have a profound impact on sensitive collections and it pays to have a backup system - even if it never gets used.

Lastly, in Climate Change and Phenology, one of the keynote speakers from our Food Security Symposium explained how his work on pollinators and their ecology can be useful when working to reduce their decline and subsequent loss of ecosystem services. The importance of this work - and the work of pollinators - cannot be overstated.

Many folks also stopped by the blog to check out our new video series! We’ll recap that series and some other videos we’re paying attention to next week!