"The majority of the collection is comprised of specimens from the southern United States, particuarly southern Louisiana. We also have moderately large holdings of specimens from the western United States and the West Indies. In addition to fluid specimens, we have a collection of amphibian and reptile tissue samples for genetic analyses. Most of these tissue samples have corresponding voucher specimens in the fluid collection. We also have a histological (slide) collection for studies of reproductive anatomy in amphibians and reptiles.
The Harold Dundee Herpetological Library, comprised of some 900 books and over 11,000 reprints on amphibians and reptiles, is also housed at the SLU Vertebrate Museum." -Official website
In addition to wet specimens and tissue samples,we began building an osteological collection in the Fall of 2013. Our primary means for skeletonization involves the use of dermestid beetles. 50 herps, over a dozen birds and one alligator gar (Atractosteus osseus) have since been skeletonized and accessioned. Over 6,000 specimens have been accessioned since August 2013. Specimen accession is currently at its peak. In 2014, the number of herpetological specimens accessioned was 360% higher than the previous most productive year (2012). The database software that we use here, is Specify.
The Tulane Collection
In addition to the management of existing SLU specimens and the accession of fresh animals, SLU is well into the process of accessioning our portion of a large and diverse orphan collection of herps from Tulane University (the Harold A. Dundee collection). There are approximately 13,000 specimens. Accessioning the Dundee specimens has been interesting to say the least. About 80% of the caudata jars contained orignal labels that fully matched the jar inventory. Overall, the data in the ledgers, labels, tags are congruent but curveball jars are discovered from time to time. The most commonly encountered discrepency between label and inventory is specimen count (usually inexplicable but easy to revise). Caudata has been accessioned. Anura is close to accessioned. Testudines are coming along. Squamata is more than halfway there (March 2015). Each jar may hold a surprise.
Undergraduate workers are integral to productivity in the collection. Volunteer recruitment and activity was high in the Spring of 2014 . On average, eight undergraduates contributed two hours per week. In the Fall of 2014, the university began awarding academic credit to exceptional students who commit to four hours of work per week. The museum has since facilitated 11 credits. Six undergraduates are currently active in the herpetology collection (Spring 2015). 430 volunteer hours were logged from January 2014 to February 2015.
Extension and Outreach
The museum is active in outreach and education. In addition to the recent increase in the undergraduate volunteer presence, visitor traffic is currently at its peak (March 2015). Prior to August 2013, visitor traffic peaked in 2010. In 2014, the number of visitors increased by 8% from the 2010 count count. Museum personnel and specimens are present at all major campus events, including Rock and Roar and homecoming. March 2015 was a particularly busy month. The museum represented at a campus event, the LA Stem Expo in Baton Rouge, LA. and herp collection manager Danielle Wasserman presented a 60 min talk, "Venomous Snakes of Louisiana" to the Acadia Parish Policy Jury. Crowley, LA.
Massive update of epic proportions
Better hang onto something...
_Author, holding a__ _frozen ball of__ _snakess