AOU/COS/SCO 2008 Meeting in Portland: Part I

This week was the joint conference of the American Ornithologist's Union, the Cooper Ornithological Society and the Society of Canadian Ornithologists in Portland, Oregon. This meeting celebrated the 125th anniversary of the American Ornithologist's Union(AOU) and ushered in a new president for the AOU, Dr. Edward "Jed" Burt who is a faculty just down the road from Cincinnati in Delaware, OH at Ohio Wesleyan University. It was a great meeting and many important ties were forged between Cincinnati Museum Center and researchers and natural history museums around North America and the world. I meet with friends and colleagues from the University of Windsor, University of Alaska at Fairbanks, the Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute, University of Cincinnati, Auburn University, the Delaware Museum of Natural History, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and many other colleges, universities and museums and promoted greater use of the collection and plotted out new collaborations and research projects.

There were many excellent talks on the latest findings in ornithology and my next blog will provide a survey of some of the highlights, but, perhaps most useful was a nearly day long symposium on avian museum collections that included live demonstrations of the latest preparatory methods from some of the top curators and collections managers in the country. This symposium in particular proved to be invaluable and provided me with a wealth of information from preparation to permits that will greatly improve the collection at Cincinnati Museum Center. Also, meeting with colleagues and forging new ties resulted in several new projects. The plan is have in house research at Cincinnati Museum Center result in at least 10 new publications over the next year. A bold goal but one that can be achieved through the numerous collaborative efforts between Cincinnati Museum Center Zoology Department and top researchers in avian biology from around the globe.

Of course I take every opportunity to increase the collection at Cincinnati Museum Center and collected many digital photos to go into a growing georeferenced digital resources database for birds. The meeting reinfornced the utility of this growing type of natural history collection in several talks regarding the ORNIS distributed database system. I gained new insight during this part of the meeting on how to manage these collection and provide proper georeferencing (location data critical to making a useful digital resources collection). Also I learned of new ways in which digital resources in ornithological collections are being used alongside both traditional material (skins, skeletons, spread wings, etc.) and frozen tissue collections. Shown in this blog entry are three new digital photos to be archived in a growing digital resources database for ornithology (Top, Northern Fulmar; middle, Barred Owl; bottom, Pacific-slope Flycatcher).