June 12, 2014

Rescuing 20,000 Marine Mammal Specimens from Oblivion

Tags: Core Program

One of the 24 projects funded in 2014 under NPRB's annual research program was the Mammal Collection at the University of Alaska Museum of the North's project to rehouse and curate marine mammal specimens at the museum. 

Curator Link Olson says it is an important resource for research and is growing quickly. “Due to Alaska’s vast coastline and the close working relationship among the museum, subsistence users, and both state and federal agencies, our marine mammal collection continues to grow at a rapid pace. Olson is also the primary investigator on the project. "This grant will enable us to properly house a backlog of specimens so that they’re more readily available to researchers." 

The project will help researchers study the museum’s world-class collection of marine mammals, including specimens like a crabeater seal skull from Antarctica. With over 21,000 specimens, UAMN’s marine mammal collection is larger than those of the next three largest U.S. museum collections combined. In the past decade alone, UAMN’s mammal collection has loaned material from more than 4,000 marine mammal specimens to scientists around the world.

Read more about the project on the Unviersity of Alaska Museum of the North's blog or follow the museum's mammal collection on Facebook.