Brazilian bird collections: a decade after Aleixo & Straube (2007)
We compiled the main results of a second diagnosis of Brazilian ornithological collections. Our starting point was the survey by A. Aleixo and F. Straube, with data up to 2005 and published in 2007. Ten years later, in 2015, curators or managers from 35 collections of birds (out of 59) answered 12 questions related to the status of the collection they curate. These collections cover all regions of the country, and many have grown in number of specimens, especially in northeastern Brazil. As verified by Aleixo & Straube, most ornithological Brazilian collections are concentrated in southeastern and southern Brazil (66%). Also, some basic shortcomings persist, such as the lack of specialized curators, taxidermists, and access to digitalized information. The three oldest and biggest collections (Museu Nacional da Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro - MN, Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi - MPEG and Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo - MZUSP) together continue to hold more than half of all Brazilian ornithological specimens and 83% of all type specimen. Some collections, (especially new ones) have been actively collecting and preparing specimens in a much-diversified way, saving different body parts of a single individual as distinct types of materials. Government and other online data information systems (e.g., Brazilian Biodiversity Information System - SiBBr and Center for Reference in Environmental Information - CRIA) have been developed, and now provide digital data from some relevant collections. Brazilian ornithological collections are completely or partially digitized (85%), although for most specimens and collections, data are not freely available and is mostly accessed between researchers. Despite the efforts of some researchers and institutions, improvements in the maintenance and protection of the collections are still necessary. Nevertheless, we conclude that the situation of Brazilian ornithological collections has improved in the past 10 years. Finally, herein we propose a rank for Brazilian ornithological collections classifying them according their role for both research and education activities, which are considered in the current bibliography as key roles of natural history collections.
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