Dear algae list members,
I have been following, with interest, the discussions on pressing algae to make herbarium specimens and freezing as a means of herbarium pest control.
First of all I would like to confirm the product we use here at BM to cover specimens in the press (to prevent them sticking to the upper blotter). It is "Nylon Gossamer Fabric" and is available from Picreator Enterprises: [log in to unmask] and their website is: http://www.picreator.co.uk/ Telephone +44 (0)20 8202 8972
They have a useful US contact: Talas, 20, West twentieth street, 5th floor, New York, NY 10011, tel: 212 219 0770, fax: 212 219 0735
This material is a non-woven, inert, archival fabric and, apart from staining, does withstand reuse admirably. It comes in big rolls (one of which may last you a lifetime!).
Secondly, I would like to recommend the use of a piece of perforated zinc as a support for mounting specimens. We buy a sheet of this thin, but strong, flexible metal mesh from a hardware store/builders merchant and cut it to a suitable size with tin-snips. It has the advantage of being rigid yet bendable, so you can flex it if necessary (to inundate a bit of specimen for artistic re-arrangement), knowing that it will retain its original shape and support the mounting paper safely. The water runs off- and through the holes- so you can lift the mount, let it drip to a reasonable dampness and remove the mounting paper with its specimen.
Thirdly, the freezing of incoming specimens as a means of pest control is standard and obligatory here at BM. Algae could not be excluded from this policy and, so far, I have seen no problem with the material arriving here (although I will continue monitoring for any future signs of damage). I think this method of killing insect passengers is here to stay for many institutions, so we may just have to accept it. We do not allow other methods of pest control (i.e. fumigation) to be carried out on our collections when they sent out on loan.
Finally, we are struggling to embrace a new data management system (Ke EMu) which will allow the world to access a percentage of our collections (c. 50,000 algal records so far- about 10% of our algae holdings) and more news will follow when I see a light at the end of the long tunnel. Types are our top priority and some world regions are, hopefully, to be prioritized (e.g. Australia) in the near future.
Kind regards to all, Jenny
Ms Jennifer A. Bryant (formerly Moore)
Curator of Algae
The Botany Department (BM)
The Natural History Museum
London, SW7 5BD
Tel : +44 (0)20 7942 5004
Fax: +44 (0)20 7942 5529
E-Mail: [log in to unmask]