Isopoda specimens are of great importance to Isopodologists, who are researchers which study the biology of isopods. Isopodologists rely on specimens to accurately identify and classify different species, by examining the physical characteristics of preserved specimens, researchers can compare them to existing descriptions and determine if they belong to known species or represent new ones. This classification is crucial for cataloging and understanding the diversity of isopods. Many older specimens housed in museum collections represent important type specimens, reference material used in species descriptions. Additionally, these historical specimens provide a baseline for understanding changes in isopod distributions, as well as serving as a record of past biodiversity. Losing such specimens due to neglect and inadequate care means losing an irreplaceable window into the past, which can hinder our ability to study the historical biogeography and evolutionary patterns of isopods.
Therefore, the loss of Isopoda specimens in museum collections is a growing concern for Isopodologists around the world. Specifically, in the Americas, many valuable specimens have been lost. To address this issue, the AIMG aims to create a well-organized and cataloged collection of Isopoda specimens. This involves carefully curating and maintaining a repository of preserved specimens, ensuring they are stored in the appropriate conditions to prevent degradation and damage. By organizing this collection, the AIMG can facilitate easy access and retrieval of specimens for research purposes, making them available to the scientific community. To enhance accessibility, we plan to digitize all new additions to the collection, as of 6/20/2023, by creating digital records of each specimen, including detailed information such as species identification, collection locality, and associated data, researchers can access the collection remotely through the Reference Collection page of the AIMG website. This digital database will provide a valuable resource for Isopodologists and anyone else interested in isopods, allowing them to search and study the specimens without physical access to the collection. Additionally, we recognize the need for ongoing research on the preservation and storage of Isopoda specimens; therefore, by conducting such research into this area, we aim to develop best practices for maintaining the integrity of the specimens over time. These studies will explore various preservation methods, storage conditions, and techniques to ensure the long-term viability of Isopoda specimens in museum collections. We hope to raise awareness and encourage other museums and research institutions to adopt improved practices in preserving and caring for Isopoda specimens.
We actively encourage hobbyists to submit specimens for identification or description, we want to ensure accurate classification and expand our knowledge of Isopoda within the hobby. When hobbyists submit their specimens, the AIMG's team of taxonomists will examine them and will strive to identify the species accurately and provide a comprehensive description of the specimen's characteristics. Via engaging with hobbyists in the identification and description process, we aim to foster a mutual exchange of knowledge. We recognize the potential for hobbyists to discover new or rare species within their collections. Specimens that do not align with existing species descriptions may represent previously unknown taxa or distinct populations. We endeavor to document and study these potentially novel isopod species, enriching our understanding of their biodiversity. We hope this collaborative effort will facilitate effective communication and the generation of scientifically valuable data.