Check out our paper “Catalogue of herpetological specimens of the Ewha Womans University Natural History Museum (EWNHM), Republic of Korea”, published today in ZooKeys! The work was in collaboration with Prof. Yikweon Jang from Ewha W. University, and Steven Allain.
The EWNHM opened as the first natural history museum of the Republic of Korea (S. Korea) in 1969. However, a complete catalogue of its herpetological collection has not been available since, although it holds many specimens of great scientific value. This basically means that the collection was unknown and unavailable to many researchers for years. To further complicate the problem, many specimens had degrading labels, or missing voucher numbers altogether – which make things very difficult if you were to navigate the collection to locate a certain specimen. And there’s yet another confusion. The existing voucher system was in direct conflict with another, unrelated voucher system applied to a public natural history research database.
To get around all these issues, we cataloged the entire herpetological collection. This involved changing degraded labels, updating nomenclature, photographing the specimens, and applying consistent voucher system to all specimens. And now this catalogue can serve as a reference point for the collection!
We’ve put in a lot of effort into this project, and there were some difficulties from time to time. But this work was just a lot of fun all the way, and as Yucheol Shin, the first author put it: “Seriously, spending time in the cool and quiet collection storage room and admiring the gems from the past are some of the best times you can have!” The gems in question include among other some very interesting dicephalic Gloydius saxatilis as well as the oldest collection-preserved Asian plethodontid: Karsenia koreana.
Now that basic cataloging process is complete, more collection-based research lies ahead of us! Full-text here:
Shin Y., Jang Y., Allain S. J. R. & Borzée A. (2020).Catalogue of herpetological specimens of the Ewha Womans University Natural History Museum (EWNHM), Republic of Korea. ZooKeys. 965: 103–139. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.965.52976.