Every Specimen (sample or observation) collected is unique in some way compared to others of its kind and the situation in which it is collected. Much of this information is only available at the time of collection. However, the exigencies of field work limit the means to record information and the time to do so.

Obviously, the ProvenanceOfASpecimen (or a series observations) is crucial for the determination of its identity and any subsequent analysis on it - as well as the reliability of these conclusions. The context in which the collection is made can help correct errors in the database and adds nuance.

Timely and accurate collation (and databasing) of information is essential and difficult. While a lot of useful information could be collected in the field at or prior to the time of acquisition there are some practical impediments to data entry in the field. If these can be overcome then collectors can make richer and more detailed observations e.g. on affiliated species, on the environment, on the specimens disposition in situ.

Specimens are collected in a number of contexts.

Collection and presevation techniques are different in important ways :-
  • across organism (see CollectionTechniques? & PresevationTechniques? )
  • the reason and context for the collection (e.g. CollectionCompliance? )
  • the intended use for the specimens and samples (see CollectionTechniques? & PresevationTechniques? ) The context in which a collection occurs plays a dominant role in determining the opportunities for Process Driven Enhancements? and TechnologicallyDrivenEnhancements? :-

  • OpportunisticCollecting?
  • OnExpeditions?
  • OnSurveys?
  • DepositsFromThirdParties?
  • CollectingEvents?
    • CollectingLocality?
    • FieldDetermination? (provisional identification)


Field Collection


What might be done at time of collection:-
  • Documentation of the Locality (standardize locality names Gazetteer?)
    • GIS
    • Description of locality
      • images (where appropiate)

  • Specimen Specific
    • bagging it.
      • initial id ( maybe FieldKeys? )
      • capture
      • compliance
    • processing
      • narcosis (when appropiate)
      • preservation (drying, fixation, preservation)
      • sorting
      • field id ( FieldKeys? )
      • packing
      • (field) labelling specimens, samples, data (when appropiate & possible)
      • details of release (when appropiate)

Pinch Points

Possible Solutions

Opportunities for TechnologicallyDrivenEnhancements? include
  • Ways to DocumentCollectionSites? (see Main.HubRISLinks#Georeferencing_standards )
    • GIS
    • MapsIntheField?
    • GPS
    • GPSLinkedPhotography?
  • Pull data from FieldBooksAutomatically? both paper and electronic forms
  • Assist FieldIdentification?
  • AutomaticallyTag? Specimens for subsequent accession







Add your Comments here:

Collection ANWC style

Field stage 1: Identify it -> collect it ->bag it -> put it on ice

Field stage 2: fill out field notebook with minimum dataset: registration number (= accession number) location details including GPS, species identification, sex, life stage, taxonomic info which you would otherwise lose e.g. eye colour? Not sure of others -> label it -> extract tissues, label them and freeze them -> freeze the specimen.

-- MargaretC - 06 Jul 2008


  1. One locality (= site), one time, one GPS coordinate, 1 photo, 1 substrate, flowing yes/no, flow speed fast/slow, 1 netful from which desired taxa picked out and put into a jar of ethanol (i.e. only keep taxa of interest.
  2. Take the jar back to the lab.
  3. Sort the jar into taxa - which can take days.
      1. Sort first into morphological groups
      2. each group gets an accession number
      3. DNA samples taken from each group to see whether they've got single or mixes of species.

-- GarryJolleyRogers - 23 Sep 2008


  1. One locality, one malaise trap, left out for a week with ethanol.
  2. Take the jar back to the lab.
  3. Sort the taxa of interest and leave the rest of the bycatch in the jar, which is stored. At this time, data are lost because the permit and other constraints pertaining to the capture are not linked to the jar in any way.
  4. Unsure how the jar is documented. David Y. knows where it is. I think the information is in a database. I also think that this information is not readily available to others so the valuable resource i.e. the bycatch might be, to all intents and purposes, lost.
  5. Conclusion: Collection events should be documented on the web so people are generally aware of the availability of valuable bycatches which might contain taxa in which they are interested.
  6. However, David Y. suggests that experts in different taxa manage to collect more of their speciality taxa in traps than others (due to placement for example), so the bycatches are likely to be less valuable for other taxa than the sample was for flies.
  7. David Y. would have to be convinced of the value of using PDAs to collect field data.

-- GarryJolleyRogers - 23 Sep 2008


2013-11-27 - 02:59


-- GarryJolleyRogers - 22 Jul 2008