Updating the Gabon National Museum



During our 5 week expedition across Gabon our team increased Gabon’s national amphibian collection by 67%. We contributed specimens from three previously unrepresented provinces in Gabon. In response to this massive influx of specimens, the Smithsonian Institute—who is currently managing Gabon’s national collection—flew us down to Gamba to help catalogue and reorganize the museum with its curator Elie Tobi.

The museum in Gamba was initially created as a teaching collection. Because of this the collection has had a varied history of organization. As a result of various researchers leaving behind specimens of varied types and quality of data, our first task was to centralize all of the existing data. Next we assigned and tied institutional tags to all of our specimens. Next we organized our specimens into jars by species and by province.

We are happy to say we left the national collection in a better state than when we first arrived. Amphibian specimens are catalogued and the collection is now organized taxonomically.  Working closely with the Smithsonian, the next step is to get all of the decentralized data entered into a collection database, like Specify, and to make this data available online.  We look forward to working with Elie and the Smithsonian in the coming years.