The State Museum’s bird collection is always growing as scientists continue to prepare new specimens to document the current New York bird population.
Every time a bird specimen is prepared, State Museum scientists take tiny samples of different types of tissues (heart, liver, muscle, brain) and place them in a plastic vial that is stored in an ultra-cold freezer at -80 degrees Celsius (-112 Fahrenheit).
These samples, and similar ones taken from newly prepared fish and mammal specimens, comprise their Vertebrate Frozen Tissues collection. It is the basis for much of their own research and each year the Frozen Tissues Collection sends out 10-15 tissue loans to researchers who extract DNA from the sample and generate genomic data in their own labs.
You can learn more about the state museum’s ornithology research HERE.
Photo of New York State Museum intern Eric Diaz preparing a Greater Shearwater specimen that was found on a Long Island beach (provided).