NHM placement, week 2

For my second week placement at the Natural History Museum, London, I spent time working in the entomology department with Dr. Benjamin Price, curator of small orders.

After meeting with Ben on the Monday and being set up with a desk & login for the week, I was asked to help a researcher who was currently working on a collection of Megaloprepus specimens. I transferred specimens out of the old drawers, into modular acid free trays with plastazote in the bottom, making it easier for images to be taken. Whilst transferring them into their new homes, I also added small barcodes which would eventually be used for when the specimens are digitised. I then helped Ben to move drawers round, as moving the specimens from their old housing to the newexpanded the amount of space the collection needed, increasing from 4 drawers to 6.

Megaloprepus caerulatus

After finishing the above task, I was then given my main one for the week. This would be to work on the Ephemeroptera (mayfly) type collection, mainly labelling and re-housing. The Ephemeroptera types were housed in the same drawers with the Odonata types, so the first thing that needed to be done was to separate the specimens into new drawers. The specimens took 6 drawers in total, with some species different type specimens (holo, lecto, para etc) housed in the same unit tray.

Each individual specimen was then given its own individual barcode, attached to the pin of the specimen. In total, I cut and added 294 individual barcodes to the specimens. As this was being done, each species name, the drawer it was currently located in, barcode number and the original author were added to a spreadsheet.

After this had been done, it was then time to move each individual specimen into its own unit tray. Doing this meant that more storage drawers were needed, as something that previously took up one tray with 3 or 4 specimens, now needed to be moved into 4 individual trays. Due to this, the drawer count increased to 8 in total, as opposed to the original 6. Species were all kept together, for example if there were 2 of a certain species, but only room for one in a drawer, the 2 would be moved together as to not split them between drawers. New species labels were also written for any that were split into individual trays and any specimens which changed drawers also had their drawer numbers updated on the spreadsheet.

Ephemeroptera types

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