Do We Still Need Natural History Collections?

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Phylogeny and Evolution".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2024 | Viewed by 4378

Special Issue Editors

Zoological Department, Croatian Natural History Museum, Demetrova 1, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Interests: taxonomy, systematics and phylogeny of water beetles; ecology and phenology; spring ecosystems; karst freshwater habitats
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, Rooseveltov trg 6, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Interests: ecology and phenology of aquatic insects, taxonomy and systematics of aquatic diptera; empididae; biogeography; phylogeny; insects in springs
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Irena Grbac
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Zoology, Croatian Natural History Museum, Demetrova 1, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Interests: ecology; evolution; conservation; taxonomy; herpetology; island biogeography; natural history collections

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As we witness an accelerated change in our environment today, the importance of natural history collections increases daily. Natural history collections, especially in museums, are special treasure chests that store a wide variety of information that can be used in various scientific fields such as biology, ecology, palaeontology, or geology. Although climate change, habitat loss, and the spread of invasive species have been hot topics in recent years, the information that natural history collections can provide is still overlooked. Specimens from natural history collections, particularly if properly handled and housed, can provide valuable material for distributional, genetic, or environmental analyses at temporal and spatial scales. In addition, such collections are “windows into and through time“ with the possibility of repeated measurements and studies essential to scientific work.

In light of all this, we have decided to guest edit a Special Issue focusing on the use of natural history collections in science today. We invite biologists, taxonomists, ecologists, palaeontologists, geologists, and other researchers, as well as collection managers who have worked with natural history collections to contribute to this Special Issue. Our goal and vision is to acknowledge that natural history collections are fundamental to science today.

The following list includes some of the topics covered:

  • history of important natural history collections;
  • significance of specific natural history collections for current research;
  • the future of natural history collections: suggestions on how to improve their usefulness;
  • cases studies of research on natural history collections;
  • curation of natural history collections.

Dr. Vlatka Mičetić Stanković
Dr. Marija Ivković
Dr. Irena Grbac
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diversity is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • biodiversity loss
  • conservation
  • taxonomy
  • ecology
  • fossils
  • minerals

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

15 pages, 3187 KiB  
Article
Urban Beetle Diversity in Natural History Collections—A Hundred-Year Perspective
Diversity 2023, 15(12), 1224; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15121224 - 18 Dec 2023
Viewed by 999
Abstract
Natural history museum collections are essential for understanding biodiversity and environmental changes, especially in large cities with rapid urbanization. While the collaboration between curators and taxonomists with ecologists becomes more frequent, the museum collections still are not used to their full potential. This [...] Read more.
Natural history museum collections are essential for understanding biodiversity and environmental changes, especially in large cities with rapid urbanization. While the collaboration between curators and taxonomists with ecologists becomes more frequent, the museum collections still are not used to their full potential. This study aimed to digitize beetle specimens from Zagreb, which are kept in the Croatian Natural History Museum collections, provide recent nomenclature, analyse the proportion of currently endangered species, georeference, and compare the sampling locations with today’s iNaturalist citizen science records, as well as land cover changes between the time of collection creation and now. Comparing the sampling locations of collection specimens and citizen science records, it is possible to track the city’s expansion. Beetle family composition is more similar in the city centre than on the outskirts of Zagreb, where land cover changes are more pronounced. The districts in the northern part of Zagreb held higher numbers of threatened saproxylic beetles in both museum collections and citizen science records, highlighting the importance of urban parks and forests and providing insights into potential conservation threats. Museum collections have proved to be a valuable source of biodiversity records frozen in time, helping us track the urban beetle fauna decline. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Do We Still Need Natural History Collections?)
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10 pages, 2168 KiB  
Article
The Missing Late Pleistocene Ostrich Femur from Zhoukoudian (China): New Information Provided by a Rediscovered Old Cast
Diversity 2023, 15(2), 265; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15020265 - 13 Feb 2023
Viewed by 2633
Abstract
A complete ostrich femur from the Late Pleistocene deposits of the Upper Cave at Zhoukoudian (China) was referred by Shaw to Struthio anderssoni in the 1930s, but its present whereabouts are unknown. A good quality plaster cast of the missing specimen has been [...] Read more.
A complete ostrich femur from the Late Pleistocene deposits of the Upper Cave at Zhoukoudian (China) was referred by Shaw to Struthio anderssoni in the 1930s, but its present whereabouts are unknown. A good quality plaster cast of the missing specimen has been found in the collections of the Natural History Museum (London). This cast provides interesting information about the morphology of this large ostrich femur, which had previously been only summarily described and not illustrated. Although smaller than the femora of the Early Pleistocene giant ostrich Pachystruthio, the robust femur from Zhoukoudian shows morphological similarities with them, and it is suggested that ‘Struthioanderssoni should be placed in the genus Pachystruthio. The importance of old palaeontological casts is emphasized, as well as the need to preserve and curate them properly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Do We Still Need Natural History Collections?)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Hidden biodiversity: Beetles of the city of Zagreb in the Croatian Natural History Museum
Authors: Lea Ružanović; Vlatka Mičetić Stanković
Affiliation: Zoological Department, Croatian Natural History Museum, Demetrova 1, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia

Title: Curating Bird Collection after Earthquake
Authors: Irena Grbac
Affiliation: Department of Zoology, Croatian Natural History Museum, Demetrova 1, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia

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