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Advanced Courses on Life Sciences

Online course – 6th Edition

Care and Management of Natural History Collections

September 26th-October 7th, 2022


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This course will be delivered live online

Online live sessions on 26th, 28th, 30th of September, and 3rd, 5th, 7th of October, 2022, from 16:00 to 20:30 (Madrid time zone).

Live sessions will be recorded. Recordings will be made available to participants for a limited period of time. However, attendance to the live sessions is required.

Care and Management of Natural History CollectionsCourse Overview

Using a combination of lectures, discussions, demonstrations, and readings, this course will teach participants how to better care for and manage all natural history collections (including botany, geosciences, and zoology).

The importance of the collections storage environment is emphasized, as well as the identification and selection of inert materials, testing locally available materials, adapting collections care standards to particular environmental conditions, and good management through sound policies and collection planning.

Rather than the traditional discipline-based approach, the course teaches collections care based on collection material and preparation type―dry preparations, wet preparations, and documentation (including paper-based and electronic media).

The course will benefit individuals who already have experience in caring for natural history collections, as well as those who intend to work with natural history collections.


Participants must have a personal computer (Windows, Mac, Linux). The use of a webcam and headphones is strongly recommended, and a good internet connection.




September 26th-October 7th, 2022

Online live sessions on 26th, 28th, 30th of September, and 3rd, 5th, 7th of October, 2022, from 16:00 to 20:30 (Madrid time zone).

Schedule and Course length

Online live sessions on 26th, 28th, 30th of September, and 3rd, 5th, 7th of October, 2022, from 16:00 to 20:30 (Madrid time zone).

The rest of the time will be taught with pre-recorded lectures to watch asynchronously.

40 hours

Live sessions will be recorded. However, attendance to the live sessions is required.

This course is equivalent to 2 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) at the Life Science Zurich Graduate School.

The recognition of ECTS by other institutions depends on each university or school.




Places are limited to 22 participants and will be occupied by strict registration order.

Participants who have completed the course will receive a certificate at the end.

Greg McDonald instructor for Transmitting Science

Dr. Greg McDonald
Bureau of Land Management
United States of America

John E. Simmons instructor for Transmitting Science

John E. Simmons
United States of America

Haris Saslis coordinator for Transmitting Science

Dr. Haris Saslis
Transmitting Science

Sergio Montagud Coordinator Transmitting Science

Dr. Sergio Montagud
Universitat de València

Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno Transmitting Science coordinator

Dr. Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno

Transmitting Science


  • Introduction.
  • History of natural history collections and specimen preservation.
  • Categories of collections.
  • Use and value of collections and impact on research.
  • Importance of collection-based research and specimens as research vouchers.
  • Permits, CITIES, and other laws and regulations.
  • Theoretical and conceptual bases collections management.
  • Preventive conservation in theory and practice.
  • Security issues for natural history collections.
  • Materials used for collections care.
  • Group I—Dry preserved collections and genetic samples.
    • Whole organisms and parts preserved dry or frozen.
    • Tissues.
    • Bones and teeth.
    • Invertebrate shells and exoskeletons.
    • Rocks, fossils, minerals.
    • Health and safety concerns for dry preserved specimens
  • Group II—Wet preserved collections.
    • Whole organisms and parts preserved in fluids.
    • Histological preparations.
    • Minerals, rocks and fossils in fluids.
    • Health and safety concerns for fluid-preserved specimens.
  • Group III—Documentation.
    • Paper based records.
    • Film and tape based records.
    • Electronic records (databases).
    • Molds and casts.
    • Other media.
  • Storage environments and environmental monitoring.
  • Integrated pest management.
  • Professional standards and ethics.
  • Collections management policies.
  • Collection assessment.
  • Conservation assessments.
  • Collection Health Index.
  • Laboratory Sessions:
    • Beilstein test for chlorides in plastics.
    • Detection of glass deterioration.
    • Identifying glass composition with UV light.
    • Marking topping-up levels with grease pencil.
    • Use of pH testing pen on paper.
    • Use of pH indicator strips with fluid preserved specimens.
    • Estimation of lipids in fluids.
    • Smear test for printed documentation.
    • Tape test for printed documentation.
    • Atmospheric pressure demonstration.
    • Surface tension demonstration.
    • Use of visible light meter.
    • Use of ultraviolet light meter.
    • Use of sling psychrometer.
    • Use of dataloggers.
    • Discussions of other important material tests (Oddy test, estimating volatile acids from storage furniture using pH indicator strips; testing inks for lightfastness and solvent resistance).


  • Course Fee
  • Early bird (until July 31st, 2022):
  • 574 €
    (459.20 € for Ambassador Institutions)
  • Regular (after July 31st, 2022):
  • 721 €
    (576.80 € for Ambassador Institutions)
  • The price is VAT included.
    After registration you will receive confirmation of your acceptance in the course. Payment is not required during registration.

You can check the list of Ambassador Institutions. If you want your institution to become a Transmitting Science Ambassador please contact us at communication@transmittingscience.com


Discounts are not cumulative and apply only on the Course Fee. We offer the possibility of paying in two instalments (contact courses@transmittingscience.com).

Former participants will have a 5 % discount on the Course Fee.

20 % discount on the Course Fee is offered for members of some organizations (Ambassador Institutions). If you want to apply to this discount please indicate it in the Registration form (proof will be asked later).

Unemployed scientists living in Spain, as well as PhD students based in Spain without any grant or scholarship to develop their PhD, could benefit from a 40 % discount on the Course Fee. If you want to ask for this discount, please contact the course coordinator. That would apply for a maximum of 2 places and they will be covered by strict inscription order.