Fluid Preserved Collection
The Fluid Preserved Collection is of particular value to science because the entire specimen is preserved, including all of the internal and external anatomical structures. The morphological integrity of these specimens allows for examination of muscles, organs, and other soft tissues, as well as external features, for studies in the areas of adaptive physiology, comparative anatomy, biomechanics, feeding ecology, parasitology, molecular biology, and more.
Fluid specimens in the NSRL are preserved in ethanol (a superior and safer alternative to formalin). The NSRL utilizes specialized papers and inks for identification tags and labels that do not degrade and thus ensure the long-term integrity of the data associated with each fluid-preserved specimen.In 2015, a local business donated a set of mechanical-assist shelving units (compactors) to the NSRL, and a portion of the shelving units were designated for this collection. The CH Foundation provided funding for the retrofitting and installation of the units. These compacting units have greatly improved the storage capacity of the Fluid Preserved Collection room. The process of removing the jars and existing cabinets from the space to allow for installation of the new compacting units also provided an ideal opportunity to conduct curatorial maintenance of the collection (refilling jars, replacing caps) and to reorganize the collection in current taxonomic order (per Wilson and Reeder 2005) while it was being re-housed on the new shelving units.