I have started a project in the Entomology Department of my local museum, sorting through their specimens of crustaceans with the aim of sorting and ordering them, cataloguing them into a database and reviewing and renewing all nomenclature of the specimens to a modern standard.
The project is huge – over 500 specimens which, for a museum, is not monumental (natural history museum have an estimated 4 to 5 million individual specimens of crustaceans) but for me, just one person, it seems like the work I am doing is just a drop in the ocean… Thankfully every single one of these creatures is fascinating. In the entomology department, all the specimens are delicate and beautifully preserved in boxes and jars, and these are contained in draws and cupboards in rows which span an entire room. My crustaceans are tucked away on the end of one of these rows, in a modest cupboard with 60 draws and a pile of red boxes on top. I am a self confessed geek, but honestly it is so exciting to open a plain wooden draw and not know what to expect inside. The sheer diversity of this group is overwhelming.
Over the past couple of weeks I have begun sifting through these specimens, checking whether they are on the museums database and also assigning each one a new number so that I can create an easily accessible system for use by others in the future. I will be learning a lot on the way, going from a zoology student who knows… well …not a lot about crustaceans, through a process of research and self-learning to hopefully become an expert on these cool and often overlooked creatures.
I enjoy taking photos and will no doubt be sharing with you some of my images of cool stuff I stumble upon throughout my journey…