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Evaluation of scientific collections: a model case, the Iberian-Balearic amphibians preserved in the Natural History Collections

Autor González-Fernández, José E.
Fecha de publicación 2011
ResumenABSTRACT We present a museological study of the scientific collections from an analytic perspective, overcoming the classical historical approach underdertaken until now. For this purpose used the group of the Iberian-Balearic amphibians preserved in the Natural History collections. A comprehensive compilation of the information available in our collection of this group has been used as a model case to analyse the collection concept, its utility, reliability and validity. We requested information about Iberian-Balearic amphibians to 260 Institutions which probably housed these specimens into their zoological collections. We obtained positive answer from 65 Institutions. This Information allowed us to make a catalogue of the Iberian-Balearic amphibians preserved in the Natural History collections. Also we have evaluated the validity of the batracological collections and their contents as scientific tools in different research areas such as: (1) Taxonomy and Nomenclature (2) Chorology and Zoogeography (3) Ecological Biogeography (4) Biogeography, Genetics and Conservation (5) Scientific education. (6) History of the collections (7) Anatomy and Morphology (8) Evolution and Development (9) Evolutionary Chorology (10) Phylogeny and Molecular Taxonomy. We used different statistical methods to analyze the information related to collection specimens, and also the information inferred by us (for instance: UTM 10x10 Km coordinates) We made tables of results that we used to make correlations between analysed variables, to know the capacity of each variable to infer others. Finally we made several cluster analysis where the OTUS ???? are each of the different Iberian-Balearic amphibian collections. In conclusion, concerning the evaluation of the zoological collections of Iberian-Balearic amphibians, the total number of the preserved amphibians in each collection is an important factor to determinate its value, but it is not the only relevant one. The collection value is influenced by other factors that aren¿t directly correlated with the total number of specimens, such as randomness in sample origin, incusion of type specimens, presence of samples of tissues or DNA extracts, or the endemism of the preserved species. On the other hand, the total number of specimens is a highly correlated factor with geographic location and potential georeference. This fact is extremely interesting in light of the wide spectrum of possibilities that this geographic information offers in relation with different research disciplines. We also must to into take count other factors that influence collection quality, such as the presence of type specimens, essential for taxonomic revisions, or the preservation of samples of tissues and DNA, or the presence of stained and cleared skeletons that allow evo-devo studies. In short we can affirm that while quantity (number of specimens) is important, other factors are needed to build collection quality.
URI http://hdl.handle.net/10261/83964
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