Mammal collections of the Western Hemisphere: A survey and directory of collections
As a periodic assessment of the mammal collection resource, the Systematic Collections Committee (SCC) of the American Society of Mammalogists undertakes decadal surveys of the collections held in the Western Hemisphere. The SCC surveyed 429 collections and compiled a directory of 395 active collections containing 5,275,155 catalogued specimens. Over the past decade, 43 collections have been lost or transferred and 38 new or unsurveyed collections were added. Growth in number of total specimens, expansion of genomic resource collections, and substantial gains in digitization and web accessibility were documented, as well as slight shifts in proportional representation of taxonomic groups owing to increasingly balanced geographic representation of collections relative to previous surveys. While we find the overall health of Western Hemisphere collections to be adequate in some areas, gaps in spatial and temporal coverage and clear threats to long-term growth and vitality of these resources have also been identified. Major expansion of the collective mammal collection resource along with a recommitment to appropriate levels of funding will be required to meet the challenges ahead for mammalogists and other users, and to ensure samples are broad and varied enough that unanticipated future needs can be powerfully addressed.