SAIAB Features » Collections Development and Diversification – specifically the growing Amphibian Collection

Hemisus marmoratus male, Maun, Botswana   Hyperolius marmoratus male calling, Port Alfred, Eastern Cape, South Africa  Arthroleptis xenochirus male left, female right,    Zambia

Many SAIAB scientists have made non-fish collections during their research work and, previously, these animals and plants were sent to appropriate museums around South Africa. Freshwater scientists have usually caught aquatic frogs and tadpoles as a by-catch of fishing efforts and so retaining by-catches was a simple way to start a new SAIAB collection. Other factors for starting an amphibian collection at SAIAB are:

 Freshwater expeditionary work provides the opportunity to visit many remote areas of southern Africa with the opportunity

 to make valuable collections of amphibia;

 there is a similar diversity in amphibians in southern Africa to freshwater fishes so it is not too daunting a task;

 there are a number of amphibian researchers based in the country, so a collection would be of value;

the future custodianship of certain existing collections in South Africa is uncertain due to funding constraints.

In 2007 the SAIAB fish collection was moved into a purpose-built Collections Facility, and in 2010 a dedicated Collection Management Centre was constructed. Further developments have included the purchasing of a digital x-ray machine in 2010 and the up-grading of large specimen storage tanks in 2011. These infrastructural changes and the moving of the National Fish Collection precipitated a reassessment of collection aims and procedures at SAIAB. This result has been improvements in all aspects of procedures and care of the collections, providing improved research services to the scientific community and enabling us to broaden the scope and taxonomic coverage of aquatic organisms within SAIAB’s collections.

Research Team:

The SAIAB collection division

Dr Michael Cunningham - SAIAB Research Associate at the University of Pretoria

Werner Conradie - SAIAB Research Associate at the University of Pretoria

 



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