Biological Collections: set of organisms, or parts thereof, organized in order to provide information on the provenance, collection and identification of each of their specimens. It refers to the custody of dissimilar objects of natural origin separated from their environment and to different types of living collections, be they Botanical Gardens, Zoos, Aquariums and Ceparios and even biotic reserves of different categories. Therefore, biological collections are of many types, with multiple functions and uses, directly related to the institution they represent and the community it is aimed at. They constitute the basic source of biosystematic research. The funds deposited in them form the cornerstone of taxonomic, biogeographic, evolutionary, autoecological and biodiversity studies., in addition to being a mandatory consultation in inventories, area evaluations and design of strategies for the protection and management of natural ecosystems.
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- 1 Training and classification
- 2 Functions
- 3 Automation
- 4 Biological Collections in Cuba
- 1 Botanical collections
- 2 Zoological collections
- 3 Marine collections
- 5 Sources
Training and classification
The collections are mainly formed and enriched through collection expeditions. It is also possible to purchase copies by donations made by individuals or institutions, exchange or purchase. The collector must ensure that the collection method used does not inflict any damage on the natural environment or injure more individuals than is due, it must not violate established closures or contribute to aggravate the situation of threatened species. Among the types of biological or natural history collections are considered those of paleontology , anthropology , geology , botany and zoology; as well as collections of interest for the conservation of other natural values of a country or region.
The functions of biological collections are diverse, the following stand out: They document the heritage of the diversity of a country or region for generations, through their specimens and associated data, and in this sense they assume functions of museums. They are sources that provide popular scientific information for research in different branches of nature, and others related to it (conservation, medicine, agriculture, toxicology, food, economics, ethnobiology, ethnology, marine archeology, fish farming, biochemistry, ecology, biogeography, evolution, ontogeny, taxonomy). They function as a teaching unit for different levels of education and even for training specialists interested in botany, zoology, biological diversityand other topics related to the environment and sustainable development. They are testimonies of the conservationist history of the social culture of the peoples. They allow a transmission of knowledge across generations. The specimens in the collection also serve to validate biological research, ensuring that the result can be repeated or compared with future research. They are a must for inventories and evaluations of areas that are made not only for scientific purposes, but also for economic and social purposes.
Databases are closely linked to technological advances in computing in the modern world; but also with the need to order systematic information to put it at the service of society and science for current and future generations, not only of scientists but also of decision makers of different categories at different social and state levels. The automation of the collections through a unique program facilitates communication and support between them, streamlines the extraction and exchange of the information contained in them, contributes to their conservation, since it reduces the direct handling of the specimens and prevents damage Physical, it allows to relieve the curator or assistant in certain routine operations, such as the printing of labels,
Biological Collections in Cuba
Composed of herbal specimens (desiccated plants in the proper conditions to preserve the best shape the position that their organs had in a living state) that are deposited in the herbaria. They can also have attached collections: carpoper sperm library (of fruits and / or seeds), xylo library (wood samples), palinoteca (pollen samples), photo library (photo collection), reports files and field trips, etc. The specificities of each require their own form of organization, management and conservation. According to its conception and projection, there are several types of herbaria: national, provincial or local, etc. There are also special collections that gather specimens from specific botanical groups such as: medicinal, timber, fern, grass and forage species, …, there are also educational and exhibition collections. The amount of specimens that a herbarium is hoarding is only manageable, productive and can be better preserved, to the extent that an adequate system of organization is applied; by groups in phylogenetic order, (evolutionary), alphabetically or others. It is also divided into sections (historical and types, research and reference or consultation) to further facilitate the work of all those responsible for its increase, development and conservation. Herbariums with their annexed and other specialized collections are well manifested in the Cuban territory, hoarding around 100,000 copies that include a representation of the majority of possible provinces and institutions, as well as samples of the greatest wealth and diversity of the totality of ecosystems and Cuban biota. 12 herbaria work in Cuba, recognized by the Index Herbariorum and subsequent additions, 5 herbaria in training and 6 specialized collections, distributed throughout the country; There are 6 in the western region, 4 in the central region and 2 in the east of the country. Work is currently underway to consolidate the National Network of Cuban Herbaria.
In the country more than a hundred institutions possessing zoological collections are located. Of these, only ten are internationally recognized for the volume, representativeness and state of conservation of the funds deposited in them. The collection of the Institute of Ecology and Systematics, the largest and best represented in Cuba, houses more than 1 million specimens and about 2,300 types. Among the species deposited in it are some extinct, such as the macaw, or seriously threatened, such as polymitas.
The main collections are in the CITMA Institute of Oceanology with a collection of corals made up of 5 294 specimens of the 44 species, which inhabit the Cuban reefs. The fish collection contains 2,848 lots where Cuban and Caribbean fish and sharks are represented. The Marine Research Center of the University of Havana (UH) is also a repository for other marine samples, some of them used in teaching and others specifically kept as historical, for example the fish from the Atlantis Expedition. In the Felipe Poey MuseumThe set of fish of this eminent Cuban sage and the collection of marine molluscs of Dr. Carlos de la Torre are preserved from the UH. At the Cayo Coco Coastal Research Center, in the northern cays of Cuba, marine collections are being formed to validate the biodiversity studies carried out in this area. The collections contain specimens of species that have already disappeared, so their funds cannot be replaced and their value is incalculable, for this reason, stagnation, deterioration or loss brings with it depriving generations of their biological past, evaluate the present and project the future. In consecuense,