This will help me strengthen what's in my procedure manual. I'm doing a little
work with an undergrad on her senior thesis and have asked for vouchers - I
don't think it occurred to her adviser.
The policy manual for Entomology graduate students at Clemson includes the following:
S. Voucher Specimens from Thesis or Dissertation Research (Form PES/ED-8)
1. Representative vouchers of all subject insects studied for M.S. theses and Ph.D. dissertations are to be deposited in a suitable permanent institution according to its established procedures and are to be referenced in the thesis or dissertation. (The value of this career-long practice has been noted often in the Bulletin of the Entomological Society of America [e.g., 1975, vol. 21, pp. 157-159; 1978, vol. 24, pp. 141-142; 1984, vol. 30, no. 4, pp. 8-11], to which articles the student should refer for details.)
2. The Clemson University Arthropod Collection is prepared to maintain voucher specimens. Students should consult with the Collection's curator or technical staff for labeling and deposition procedures.
3. Reference to the number of voucher specimens, their life history stage(s) or sex(es), and the institutional repository is to appear typically in the "Materials and Methods" section of the thesis or dissertation.
The voucher specimens in the CUAC are each labeled with a green label headed VOUCHER SPECIMEN and provided with the name of the author, date, and “MS thesis” or “PhD dissertation” or an abbreviated journal reference. Historically, they have also been listed manually in a notebook with further details. We are in the process of upgrading our database from our old FileMaker Pro software to SPECIFY and, in doing so, will assign catalogue numbers, capture label data, and record the “voucher” status of each of these specimens.
John C. Morse, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of Entomology and Director Emeritus of
The Clemson University Arthropod Collection (CUAC)
Department of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences
On 9/2/15 11:59 AM, Derek Woller wrote:
Out of curiosity, for those of you who do encourage, and even require, voucher specimens to be deposited in museums, how are such specimens able to be identified later? In other words, is the project lead placing their own unique identifier on each specimen or are they using ones generated by the museum (or even both)? I ask because, while I agree that voucher specimens should be kept, I also think it's equally important that specimens used in a project be able to be identified down to the individual specimen because such data can be invaluable to future projects. However, I have yet to see this, at least with the insect groups I work on. I know part of this issue is being actively worked on by many museums who are databasing and assigning unique I.D.'s to specimens, but unless this is done before the publication of a paper, then, obviously, the unique I.D.'s will not be particularly useful, hence my query about I.D.'s generated by the project participants.
We give GUIDs and then database specimens given to us as vouchers, and the researcher includes those GUIDs in their publication. If they give us vouchers post-facto, they are databased with GUIDs but also given a lot code in the database that identifies them as belonging to a specific researcher's project. The former approach simplifies things (because it pinpoints *exact* specimens where multiple taxa might have been submitted), but isn't absolutely necessary with a properly-designed database and intelligent queries (e.g., if a researcher deposits a specimen, post-publication, that they IDed as species X and it is later IDed as species Y, a query asking for only species X is not going to retrieve the record unless it also checks ID history). Specimens reared in quarantine are often given additional codes to aid in tracking the history of the specimens, such as the origin of the stock.
Doug Yanega Dept. of Entomology Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314 skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
"There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82