FAQ - What is the future of collections?

What of the future? There seems little question that the collections will continue to grow, for they will continue to solve scientific problems.

There are immense areas of the environment that are unsampled. Almost half of the nine million square kilometres of the Australian Fishing Zone has depths over 2000m, but surprisingly few fishes have been collected below 1500m.

Collection size will increase as voucher specimens from other studies are added and additional frozen tissue and alcohol fixed tissues are registered. In recent years these latter specimens have been in great demand for use in genetic studies which are regularly contributing to our knowledge and understanding of fishes.

Advances in computer hardware and software over the last twenty years have seen spectacular advances in the methods of registering specimens, processing loans and utilising the collection and its associated data. We now can easily answer questions about which species occur at a particular locality or habitat. As the collections continue to be used to deal with the problems of biodiversity, endangered species and human impact on the environment, they will continue to grow, in both size and value.

Further reading

  1. Paxton, J.R. & M. McGrouther. 1991. Why so many specimens? Muse (Australian Museum News & Events) Aug -Sept. 1991:4, 11, 2 figs.

Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
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