12 May 2010

SAIAB and Albany Museum collaborate

AFTER years of working separately , the South African Institute of Aquatic Biodiversity ( SAIAB) and Albany Museum have agreed to link collections for the benefit of science.

A memorandum of understanding was signed last month which SAIAB managing director , Prof Skelton as " coming together for the common good".

Under the agreement SAIAB will house and curate genetic material of freshwater aquatic invertebrates that are lodged in the Albany Museum. Albany Museum Curator Scientists , Helen James felt there was a neeed for this agreement because " the storage of material for genetic studies is becoming important part of natural history museum's function. The Albany Museum does not have facilities for this, but SAIAB does".

SAIAB senior aquatic biologists , Roger Mills finds this agreement particularly significantbecause , speaking from expereience , " we catch with nets and when we do , often find various invertebrates , we used to fish the invertebrates other than fish out to Albany Museum and the frogs to Bayworld". Now genetic tissues and samples of invertebrates will be lodged in the SAIAB tissue biobank and the voucher specimens sent to the Albany Msueum 's invertebrate collection. The Musuem will donate the genetic tissue of allinvertebrate vouchers lodged in its collection to SAIAB. These tissue samples will be linked through the database managemetn systems of each institution. Researchers working on tissues linked to the msueum's collection will be able to use molecular preparation laboratory at SAIAB.

For Albany Museum , Bills said that the agreement allows SAIAB to provide the msueum with material they are not able to collect themselves , especially broadening their collection range to Zambia , Angola and Mozambique . Further more , " they can link their collections to a biobank without developing that biobank themselves", added Skelton.

The relationship between the two scientific research institutes is nothing new said SAIAB's database specialsit Willem Coetzer." Albany Museum approached us in 2005 to develop a database for their natural history collections". Albany Museum , like SAIAB is now using a database specifically designed for natural history collections.

SOURCE: Grocott's Mail, Tuesday , 11 May 2010

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