The University of Texas at Austin Texas Natural Science Center Non-vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory

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About NPL

Sponsors

Texas Natural Science Center, The University of Texas at Austin (1999-present)

The University of Texas at Austin (1999—present)

Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)(1999-2000)

Geology Foundation, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin (1999—present)

The Susan Vaughan Foundation (2001)

Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin (2004—present)

College of Natural Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin (2004)

The Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections Faber award (2006)

The National Science Foundation (2007-2010: 2011-2014)

If you would like to sponsor our work please contact
Susan Romberg
Director of External Affairs
Texas Natural Science Center
2400 Trinity
Austin, Texas 78705
512-232-5654

Results of Sponsorship

1. Texas Natural Science Center, The University of Texas at Austin (1999-present)
1A. Purchase of archival quality metal cabinets and drawers for relocation of historic “Rio Bravo” collection.
• Ten archival quality metal cabinets and 160 metal drawers
• Transfer specimens
Result:
• Improved housing and security for an irreplaceable collection begun in the late 1880s with the work of E.T. Dumble.
• Specimens were computer inventoried and cataloged.
• Old cabinets and drawers renovated and recycled for use in the Discovery drawer project of the new Museum exhibit.
1B. Paul Seashore Endowment grant for the field collection of specimens through an important section of the Glen Rose Formation at Canyon Lake, Texas, to expand knowledge of diversity and paleoecology.
Result:
• Project is complete
• Graduate and undergraduate student training in field collection and specimen curation
• Two archival cabinets for new specimens.

1C. Matching funds for the NSF grant to upgrade the HVAC system and expand the type room in PRC122
• Funding approved
Result:
• Project is in progress
• Graduate and undergraduate student training in field collection and specimen curation
• Two archival cabinets for new specimens.


2. University of Texas at Austin (1999—present)
Improvements to infrastructure and maintenance of buildings.
• Improvements to PRC33, new paving and drainage
• Fast Ethernet connection to all computers
• Ongoing utility provider, pest control, fire protection and 24 hour security system
• Improved HVAC system in PRC122
Result:
• Improved parking, lighting and switch system, and security
• Rapid access to databases housed on servers in PRC122 and PRC33.
• Research visitor access hubs for laptops.

• Improved HVAC in PRC122 somewhat reduced fluctuations in temperature and humidity

3. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) conservation project (1999-2000)
Removal of specimens from the most inadequate area of the repository, conservation, computer inventory, and rehousing in new cabinets (TNSC Strickland Fund)

• Local area Cretaceous collection (10,000 specimens) cleaned, inventoried, and relocated in 300 metal drawers.
• Physically sensitive or scientifically important specimens moved to HVAC area.
Result:
• Degradation of specimens curtailed.

• Achieved better physical and digital access for this section of the collection.
• Facilitated efficient specimen selection and acquisition for Discovery drawers in the Museum exhibit (2004), by enabling less experienced assistants easier access.


4. Geology Foundation, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin (1999—present)
Support for student assistants (undergraduate and graduate) working in the repository
• Relocation of Mesozoic collection (Young). Conservation and computer catalog and inventory of specimens.
• Relocation of Paleozoic collection (Sprinkle). Ongoing conservation and computer catalog and inventory of specimens.
• Relocation of the microfossil collection. Inventory and imaging of selected microfossils.
Result:
• Access for research and new major museum exhibit
• Development of collaborative projects that are increasing visibility of the collections, improving their content and making more use of the historic collections.
• Selection of Austin as the host site for the 7th International Congress on Rudists
• Heighten awareness amongst students about collections and their importance


5. Susan Vaughan Foundation (2001)
Relocate and make available for research and education the tektite collection of the late Virgil E. Barnes.
• Transfer collection from the Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) to Nonvertebrate Paleontology Laboratory (NPL).
• Computer inventory and catalog specimens
• Develop an educational interactive CDROM.

Result:
• Tektite collection made available online
• Interactive CDROM, ImpactTX, made using Director, Quicktime VR, and involving the collaboration of 17 scientists from the USA and Europe. Freely distributed to teachers for evaluation and comment.
• Presentation of project at research meetings and public events.
• Increased research interest in collection, measured by loans and research visits.
• Collaborative with Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) developed model using historic geological records to produce a virtual Odessa Impact. (Paper )
• Additional funding successfully leveraged from the Barnes family (through the Geology Foundation) to purchase archival cabinets and drawers to house this collection.


6. Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin(2004—present)
6A. Advisory and financial sponsorship of the 7th International Congress on Rudists (2004-2005)
Result:
• Viable financial basis for the international meeting
• Excellent facilities for the meeting.
• Interaction of faculty and students with established international researchers
• Webbased registration and payment system available for future conferences
6B. Matching funds to TNSC Seashore grant for Canyon Lake project digital field mapping equipment (2006)
Result:
• Extension of ArcGIS techniques into field work via ruggedized tablet with integrated GPS system and wireless digital camera.
• Opportunities for both graduate and undergraduates to learn and help refine this field methodology in a paleontological setting.
• Project has been completed.
6C. Matching funds to NSF grant to expand the improvement of cabinets (2006)
•Funding approved.
Result:
• This has enabled the replacement of all cabinets housing the type collection, which is above and beyond drawer replacement and expansion cabinets.

7. College of Natural Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin(2004)
Grant for improvement of equipment for undergraduate science teaching.
• Zeiss AxioImager binocular microscope
Result:
• Improved ability for students to study thin sections of geological materials
• Excellent platform for Zeiss Axiocam imaging system and for the Canon A620 acquired in the NSF project


8. The Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections Faber award (2006)
Grant to enable assessment of conservation needs and patterns of visitor use of the Discovery drawers at the Texas Memorial Museum.
Result:
• Study is complete
• HOBO climate datalogger system tracking conditions, the first such tracking within exhibits
• Physical observations and targeted web-based survey


9. The National Science Foundation (2007-2010: 2011-2014)
NSF BRC 0646468 Conservation, Digitization, and Georeferencing of the Non-Vertebrate Paleontology Type and Figured Collection of the Texas Natural Science Center at the University of Texas
Result:
• Study began on 6/1/2007 and was completed in 2010
• The three year project involved the principal investigators and three students (grad/undergrad)
• Project included development of protocols, and modelling of work flows for extensive imaging of type and figured collection ( 20,000 specimens+) specimens and labels were imaged and are available on line.

• Specimens were conserved and rehoused in a new type room with controlled humdity and temperature.
• A web page was developed and linked to the database, enabling access to records, images and mapping.

NSF BRC 1057396 Open Access: Conservation, Digitization and interoperability of the Historic Non-vertebrate Collections of the Texas Natural Science Center
Result:
• Study began on 4/1/2011 and will be completed in 2014
• The three year project involves the principal investigators, two coPIs, and digital archivist, conservator and students (grad/undergrad)
• Project includes development of new protocols based on those developed for the first project.
• Focus is on the historic collections and incorporates improved
cabinets, selected imaging, georeferencing of collection localities and migration of all data to Specify 6. This project includes mapping in deep time as well as current geographies.
• Additional aspects are mobile applications, using the collection as a resource foreducation in invertebrate paleontology and historical exploration of the state of Texas.

If you would like to sponsor our work please contact
Susan Romberg
Director of External Affairs
Texas Natural Science Center
2400 Trinity
Austin, Texas 78705
512-232-5654

 

 

Frequently used abbreviations: NPL  Non-vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory | TNSC Texas Natural Science Center | UTDGS Department of Geological Sciences | BEG  Bureau of Economic Geology | VPL Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory | JSG  Jackson School of Geosciences | SUPPORT | VOLUNTEER | GLOSSARY


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