How much information do you think we have on the animals in our collections? 🤔
Quite a lot more than you might think, and here to help us show you, we have a small snail from the shore. Meet specimen #ZMBN 130407, a Littorina saxatilis 🐌 (rough periwinkle/spiss strandsnegl).
Here’s a short video of the habitat: notice how the sea urchins dominate once we get below the intertidal zone!
To be able to use the Invertebrate Collections for research, we need to know quite a lot about each animal (“specimen”). Standard information would be where, when and how it was collected, who collected it, who identified it (and revisions), notes about the habitat, images if any, and the museum number that it is registered within our database.
If there is genetic data – like here, a DNA barcode as part of NorBOL – we also need the genetic information. This information is stored in the international barcode library BOLD (BOLDSystems.org), where it is organised in projects containing information linked to the physical specimen, and to the DNA.
If you look at the lower right corner, you will find information about specimens that have identical DNA sequences, and who are therefore grouped together in what is called a BIN in BOLD (/OTU). Most of the other specimens with identical DNA barcode have also been identified to Littorina saxatilis, but not all…that’s one reason to keep the animals in museum collections, so that identifications can be re-checked if needed 🔬.
Through our project (hardbunnsfauna) on shallow water hard bottom fauna from Norway, we are helping build a good DNA barcode library of species that occur in Norway – with reference (“voucher”) specimens in the scientific collections of the University Museum of Bergen, and with our partner, NTNU University Museum.