Recovery and maintenance of MHN biological collections

In the framework of the “Biodiversity Network of Mozambique” initiative, and in collaboration with the Natural History Museum of Maputo, SECOSUD II has started an on-the-job training aimed at recovering the historical herpetology collection of the Museum, and digitize the related data.

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Dr. Stefano De Felici, museum expert from the University of Rome 2 “Tor Vergata”, guided SECOSUD research assistants and NHM staff through the steps required to recover old specimens, verify and clean the associated data, and ensure their long-term conservation. SECOSUD project provided the equipment required for safety when working with the chemicals used for the conservation of specimens. In particular, the specimens were removed from the original formalin and conserved in 70% alcohol solution.

The protocol followed for the training has been applied on biological collections in many Museums across Europe, and together with the renovation of the stands used for exhibition and storage, will ensure the correct conservation of these historical specimens, dating back to the 1950s.

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The information retrieved from the specimens is analysed and updated to be included in the MHN biodiversity data base. The digital data will be included in the national portal for free access to primary biodiversity data (BioNoMo), and be used for the assessment of the conservation status of reptiles and amphibians in Mozambique.

SECOSUD II would like to thank the NHM Director, staff and collaborators for making the start and prosecution of this activity possible.

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