Barry M. OConnor bmoc at UMICH.EDU
Mon Jul 29 15:14:49 CDT 1996

At 12:55 PM 7/29/96, Peter Rauch wrote:

>How should society pay for the curation/storage of voucher specimens?
>In these times of difficult financing of the costs of doing (scientific)
>business, shall the researcher creating the voucher be expected to
>pay the bill (for future cost of curation)? Research costs so much
>already-- who would/should seek funding to voucher specimens at the
>true cost of operating that vouchering business?

At present, NSF does support museums through facilities grants, so some
public money is used for this purpose.  NSF, however, is on record as not
providing permanent support (i.e. operating expenses) for museum
collections.  The institutions themselves, be they free standing museums or
university collections have taken that responsibility.   A major
justification for the use of public funds is the need for permanent
collections to house voucher specimens.  As a curator of insects and
parasites, I wouldn't feel the need to accept vouchers of every population
of Drosophila melanogaster, Manduca sexta, or other common lab animal used
in a genetics/physiology/etc. study.  However, we urge our students who are
doing ecological/biodiversity studies to deposit vouchers here (the
systematics students do it as a matter of course).  As a systematist
working with parasites, my biggest frustration has been with prior
generations of parasite taxonomists who described new species from "bat",
"rat", or other such host and never bothered to voucher it.

Barry M. OConnor                phone: (313) 763-4354
Museum of Zoology               FAX: (313) 763-4080
University of Michigan          e-mail: bmoc at umich.edu
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1079  USA

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