Birds Tissue Preparation
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Avian specimens are prepared at the museum almost every day. Shown are David Steadman (Curator of Ornithology) prepping a Golden-breasted starling, Lamprotornis regius, and Natalie Wright (MS student) prepping a purple gallinule, Porphyrio martinica. (c) Photo by Jeff Gage.
A portion of the bird's main flight muscle, the pectoralis major, is usually taken for tissue samples. (c) Photo by Jeff Gage.
Natalie Wright (MS student) carefully removes tissue samples from a purple gallinule, Porphyrio martinica. (c) Photo by Jeff Gage.
Since most soft tissues are removed during specimen preparation, maintaining samples of such tissues is necessary. Natalie Wright (MS student) is shown removing the body cavity of a purple gallinule, Porphyrio martinica. (c) Photo by Jeff Gage.
Tissue vials are labeled with the specimen's unique UF ascension number, species name, and the letters 'MHL' which stand for the tissues saved, the muscle, heart, and liver. (c) Photo by Jeff Gage.
Samples are placed into vials, liver first, heart second, and muscle last. Muscle is the most often used tissue for genetic studies and fluids from the liver may interact with the other tissue. (c) Photo by Jeff Gage.
Tissue vials are placed in a freezer until they can be processed and integrated into the collection at the museum or sent to Louisiana State University. (c) Photo by Jeff Gage.
The Ornithology range collects and receives bird specimens and stores them in a -20 C freezer until they can be processed and integrated in the GRR.
The preparation of specimens consists of obtaining the skin, the skeleton, and the tissues. In this process, additional biological data for the specimen (e.g., approximate age) are obtained and integrated in the database. Normally two sets of tissue samples are prepared from the liver, heart, and muscle; occasionally these samples are preserved in saline solution, but normally no buffer or preservative are used. One tissue sample remains in the GRR at Florida Museum, and the second one is sent to the tissue collection of LSU.
The tissue collection grows by approximately 20 bird specimens per week.