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Suggested Citation:"1 The Repository of Life." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"1 The Repository of Life." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"1 The Repository of Life." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"1 The Repository of Life." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"1 The Repository of Life." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"1 The Repository of Life." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"1 The Repository of Life." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"1 The Repository of Life." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"1 The Repository of Life." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"1 The Repository of Life." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"1 The Repository of Life." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"1 The Repository of Life." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"1 The Repository of Life." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"1 The Repository of Life." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"1 The Repository of Life." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"1 The Repository of Life." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"1 The Repository of Life." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"1 The Repository of Life." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"1 The Repository of Life." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Page 30
Suggested Citation:"1 The Repository of Life." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Page 31
Suggested Citation:"1 The Repository of Life." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"1 The Repository of Life." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

1 The Repository of Life Life comes in many forms, sizes, and shapes. The rich diversity of forms, sizes, and shapes of life on Earth, estimated at more than 1 trillion species (Locey et al., 2016), gives rise to wonder and fuels the curiosity that drives scientific discovery, advances, and innovation worldwide. For centuries, scientists have sought and collected different types of organisms to learn more about their forms, functions, origins, distributions, and evolution. Pooling and conserving these organisms into biological collections— systematized repositories of life in all of its many forms—is a cornerstone of quality research and education in many areas of science and innovation (Dunnum et al., 2017; Jarrett and McCluskey, 2019; Koornneef and Meineke, 2010; McCluskey, 2017; Meineke et al., 2018; Schindel, 2018). Scientists and educators who study and teach about life on Earth rely on biological collections as an important underlying scientific infrastructure upon which their knowledge and learning builds and grows. Biological collections typically consist of organisms (specimens) and their associated biological material, such as preserved tissue and DNA, along with data—digital and analog (such as handwritten field notes)—that are linked to each specimen. Non-living specimens include organisms preserved by scientists and naturally preserved remains, such as fossils. Such collections of non-living specimens are commonly referred to as natural history collections. Living specimens include research and model organisms that are grown and maintained in genetic stock centers, germplasm repositories, or living biodiversity collections. The defining trait of these different types of collections is that they capture aspects of the living world in such a way that it can be intensively studied and understood through time. Biological collections provide a wide range of benefits to science and society. For one, biological collections are at the core of dynamic research on globally relevant societal issues by serving as archives of our natural heritage and preventing loss of knowledge about life on Earth. They support research on basic biological structures and processes (e.g., Lister, 2011; Shaffer et al., 1998) and deepen our understanding of evolution, biodiversity, and global environmental change (Lang et al., 2019; Meineke et al., 2018). Herbarium1 specimens, for example, can be used to study atmospheric conditions in the past and inform scientific understanding of global change over time (see Box 1-1). Biological collections advance science in ways unanticipated from when a specimen was first collected. One renowned example is the development of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique for replicating DNA, which was among the most influential discoveries of the 20th century (see Box 1-2). Biological collections also underpin and enrich the knowledge of students of all ages about biology and biodiversity (Antunes et al., 2016; Beckmann et al., 2015; Lacey et al., 2017). Schools, universities, and research laboratories use biological collections to teach concepts of evolution, ecology, taxonomy, physiology, biogeography, conservation, and more (see Box 1-3). Finally, many biological collections connect the public to nature and science, bolstering lifelong learning (Graham et al., 2004; Hill et al., 2012; MacFadden, 2019; Suarez and Tsutsui, 2004). Unfortunately, the sustainability of the nation’s biological collections is under threat. The causes are many, ranging from a general lack of understanding of their value and their contributions to research and education and a lack of appreciation for what is required to maintain them effectively, to inadequate coordination and interconnection among the collections that make up the critical infrastructure. Without necessary changes in support and leadership, the prior and current investments in time, money, and staff resources for building the nation’s biological collections will be diminished, and their immense potential in supporting science, innovation, and education in the United States and elsewhere will be severely limited. 1 Natural history collections of plants. 12 Prepublication Copy

The Repository of Life BOX 1-1 Stomata: Hints of Atmospheric Conditions in Past Times A natural history collection can serve as a “snapshot” of biodiversity at the time that the collection was made. Multiple collections of similar material over a long timeframe create a veritable photo album that can chart important ecosystem changes over past decades, centuries, or millennia. For example, plants contain structures that can tell scientists about historical atmospheric conditions. These structures, known as stomata, are small holes on the underside of leaves that permit the exchange of gases, including carbon dioxide, associated Image by toeytoey2530 on iStockphoto.com with the process of photosynthesis. F. Ian Woodward hypothesized that the higher the atmospheric carbon dioxide, the lower the number of stomata. He conducted controlled experiments to demonstrate the effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide on the density of stomata on plant leaves. As carbon dioxide levels increased, fewer stomata were needed for gas exchange to fuel photosynthesis. Earth’s history since life began is characterized by wide swings in atmospheric carbon dioxide, and scientists note that increasing levels of carbon dioxide from human activities are leading to global warming and other changes. If one could examine leaves from 100 or 200 years ago, scientists reason, the relative abundance of stomata would be a good proxy for how much carbon dioxide was in the atmosphere when the plant was alive. So Woodward turned to herbarium specimens held by the Department of Botany at the University of Cambridge. Using selected tree species, he examined the density of stomata over the past several hundred years. He found that that the average density of the stomata had dropped by 40 percent over the past 200 years, adapting to the increased availability of atmospheric carbon dioxide (Woodward, 1987). Given the long record of plants on Earth, though, it would be desirable to be able to go back before herbarium collections existed. Fortunately, collections can help there, too—fossil collections. Later studies expanded on Woodward’s work and continued with a project to examine stomatal density in fossil plants, which provided evidence about how changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels may have affected biodiversity in prehistoric times (Soul et al., 2018). PURPOSE OF THE STUDY Recognizing the importance and the vulnerabilities of the nation’s biological collections, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has endeavored to provide broad financial support through its Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI) within the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) (see Box 1-4). However, the breadth of needs for maintaining biological collections exceeds the capabilities of any one federal agency. Many U.S. government agencies, including NSF, the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of the Interior, and the Department of Energy support research that uses and creates biological collections, but agency support for maintenance of those collections, if any, is not proportional to their use in agency-funded research. NSF is continuing to provide support, but it welcomes guidance on a wide range of questions. What operational structures, policies, and cultures could provide momentum to maintain and grow biological collections? What options are adaptable, transferable, or scalable for different types of collections? What is needed to ensure the long-term sustainability of the nation’s biological collections? For these reasons, NSF asked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies) to address the following: • explore the contributions of biological collections of all sizes and institutional types to research and education; Prepublication Copy 13

Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century • envision future innovative ways in which biological collections can be used to further advance science; • outline the critical challenges to and needs for their use and maintenance, including the quality control challenges faced by living stock collections, to enable their continued use to benefit science and society; and • suggest a range of long-term strategies that could be used for their sustained support. BOX 1-2 Thermus aquaticus: Breaking Biological Barriers In the mid-1960s, Thomas Brock, a microbiologist, and his undergraduate student Hudson Freeze made an unanticipated discovery. With support from the National Science Foundation, Brock was collecting and studying heat-loving microorganisms from hot springs and geysers in Yellowstone National Park. He was interested in the influence of extreme heat on photosynthesis and primary production in cyanobacteria (Brock, 1967; Brock and Brock, 1967, 1968). During this time, it was believed that bacteria could not live at temperatures above 55oC and that the Image by lorcel on iStockphoto.com upper temperature threshold for life in general was 73oC. However, Brock discovered microorganisms thriving at temperatures hotter than ever known to be possible. In 1966, Brock and Freeze isolated and cultured one of these heat-loving bacteria, which they named Thermus aquaticus (Brock and Freeze, 1969; Freeze and Brock, 1970). Later, Brock and another student, Gregory Zeikus, demonstrated that enzymes from this microbe could also tolerate extremely high temperatures (Zeikus and Brock, 1971). Unbeknownst to Brock and his students, in addition to upending assumptions about the conditions in which life could thrive, their findings also would become the bedrock of modern biotechnology. More than 20 years after the discovery of T. aquaticus, another scientist, Kerry Mullis, had a great idea but could not figure out how to make it work at a larger scale. In the early 1980s, Mullis, a biochemist, wanted a fast and efficient way to make copies—lots of them—of specific bits of DNA, often bits where the original sample was very small. “Amplifying” genes of interest would give scientists a way to identify, study, or manipulate them, and to share them in quantity with colleagues. Mullis was working with Escherichia coli, but the process in use at the time required cycle after cycle of heating to break apart the original DNA strands to amplify them, and every time he heated the E. coli, its DNA polymerase fell apart. Mullis realized that he needed a particular type of enzyme that could survive and function at high temperatures (Mullis, 1990). He knew that some bacteria could withstand much higher temperatures than E. coli: The problem was how to find some without going to a thermal vent or a hot spring and hunting for a suitable microbe. Fortunately, Brock and Freeze had already done the legwork. And crucially for Mullis, Brock had also sent live samples of the heat-loving T. aquaticus to the American Type Culture Collection (Innis et al., 1988), where it is still housed today. The technique Mullis perfected using T. aquaticus from a living biological collection—which we now know as the polymerase chain reaction (PCR)—is the foundation of modern biotechnology and biomedicine, used in routine lab tests in doctors’ offices, in DNA fingerprinting to solve crimes, in re- creating DNA from extinct plants and animals, and in performing rapid diagnoses of infectious diseases. The Nobel Prize for this breakthrough went to Mullis in 1993. 14 Prepublication Copy

The Repository of Life BOX 1-3 Biological Collections as Educational Resources: The Marine Resources Center Left: Image by Dodds, S. Gideon; Right: Image by Megan Costello Biological collections are a powerful resource for both formal and informal education. At many U.S. universities, natural history collections expose students to the diversity of life and form the foundation for teaching concepts of evolution, ecology, taxonomy, and more. But biological collections have an even greater reach through museums, field stations, and research laboratories where learners of all ages can explore specimens both physically and virtually. And some research facilities house living collections, with unique opportunities for research training in a host of basic and applied disciplines. The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL; https://www.mbl.edu) at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, has offered formal and informal educational programs since 1888. Today these programs are supported by the living collections of the Marine Resources Center (MRC; https://www.mbl.edu/mrc), which maintains, cultures and provides aquatic and marine organisms for both research and education. Although a key source of research materials for science laboratories worldwide, the MRC collections of fish, frogs, mollusks, and more play a complementary role in formal and informal education. Courses at the MRC use both living stocks of model organisms such as zebrafish or frogs and locally collected samples of marine life to provide interdisciplinary research training for students from high school through graduate school. Field courses—from summer camps to tours to university programs—introduce students of all ages to marine biodiversity through collecting, observation, and hands-on research. Together, these formal and informal activities at MBL, as at other institutions nationwide, can be important catalysts for attracting students to careers in science (Elkins and Elkins, 2007; Pawson and Teather, 2002). BOX 1-4 NSF Support for Biological Collections Infrastructure For many decades NSF has been a vital source of support for biological collections. Currently, NSF/BIO has two ongoing support programs: (1) Collections in Support of Biological Research (CSBR) and (2) Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections (ADBC). The goal of the CSBR program is to strengthen the infrastructure essential to carrying out research in the areas of interest to the NSF Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO)—the principles and mechanisms governing life across all scales of biological organization, from molecules to ecosystems to the global biosphere. CSBR provides funds for three general infrastructure needs: (1) improvements to secure and organize collections that are significant to the NSF/BIO-funded research community; (2) securing collections-related data for sustained, accurate, and efficient accessibility to the biological research community; and (3) transferring ownership of collections. ADBC provides support for expanding and enhancing digital natural history collections data and improving access to digitized information. The NSF Directorate of Earth Sciences also contributes funding to CSBR when there is a relevant proposal and pending available funding. Until 2011, infrastructure for living collections and natural history collections were supported through separate solicitations. In 2017, NSF suspended its collections infrastructure support program, which sparked an outcry from the scientific community (Nowogrodski, 2016a; Rogers, 2016) and led to the infrastructure support program being merged and reinstated in 2018, but at a lower funding level than it had been earlier (Nowogrodzki, 2016b). In 2019, NSF BIO initiated a program, Sustained Availability of Biological Infrastructure, which includes provisions for supporting biological living stocks that face ongoing operational costs that exceed those available from their host institutions. Prepublication Copy 15

Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century The full Statement of Task for the study is provided in Appendix A. NSF asked that these tasks be addressed in the context of the “living stocks (organisms) and preserved repositories of biodiversity specimens and materials” (i.e., natural history collections) that receive, or are eligible to receive, support for infrastructure or digitization from NSF–DBI. As a result, this report does not explicitly address living collections in zoos, aquaria, or botanical gardens; biobanks or repositories of human tissues; or anthropological and geological collections (excluding fossils). This report does not cover biological collections owned by federal agencies. Although these types of collections may be housed in the same institutions as NSF-supported biological collections or be used in research supported by NSF (e.g., USDA germplasm collections), DBI does not provide support for their infrastructure. The committee, however, recognizes that many of the “excluded” collections share the same challenges and opportunities. Thus, examples used in the report may be drawn from collections outside the domain of NSF-DBI supported research. The Committee’s Approach To fulfill the Statement of Task, the National Academies convened a committee of 13 distinguished experts whose collective experience included a diversity of biological collections, K–12 and informal education, and science communication. The committee held four in-person meetings, including a public workshop, and five webinars as part of its information-gathering process (see Appendix B for the public meeting agendas and list of invited speakers). The public meetings, workshop, and webinars featured a total of 25 speakers who covered a range of topics needed to address the Statement of Task, including the history, philosophy, and role of biological collections; emerging and novel applications of biological collections in research and education; and advances in cyberinfrastructure and digitization. As befits an issue of great concern to the life and Earth sciences communities, a number of experts have issued reports describing the challenges facing both federal and non-federal collections in the United States and identifying opportunities for integration, innovation, and tracking long-term impacts (see Box 1-5). These reports address specific categories of biological collections: a total of 6 reports on federal biological collections, geological collections, living stock collections, genetic collections, and natural history collections. The committee’s analyses and deliberations led to this final consensus report, which draws on the presentations the committee heard, its review of scientific and other literature, and the expertise of its members. In responding to the Statement of Task, the committee considered two broad categories of biological collections: (1) non-living organisms, also referred to as natural history collections; and (2) living organisms, including research and model organisms. The scope of the study is broad, encompassing the contributions of “biological collections of all sizes and across institution types to research and education.” The committee identified areas of tension that stem from the scope of the study and that are inherent within the biological collections community. Biological collections are diverse—taxonomically, organizationally, and in their missions and needs. There is also tension that arises from differences between living stock collections and natural history collections. With the exception of a few biodiversity- focused living collections, 2 living and natural history collections communities (e.g., directors, managers, curators, and users) operate largely independently of one another. This report is the first of its kind to address the challenges and promise of both living stock collections and natural history collections. The committee acknowledges that living stock collections and natural history collections have distinct purposes and needs, but the committee also found that there are many opportunities for these communities to learn from one another and collaborate. Throughout the report, the committee highlights some of these potential synergies and intersections (e.g., digital genetic data, extended specimen information) as well as key distinctions (e.g., business strategies, quality control). The report is not an exhaustive compendium of The Duke Lemur Center, Durham, North Carolina (fossil collections), or the Montgomery Botanical Center, 2 Coral Gables, Florida (herbarium), are examples of living biodiversity collections that interact with in-house natural history collections. 16 Prepublication Copy

The Repository of Life every issue, but is intended to launch a national conversation about strategic collaboration between the living stock and natural history collection communities. THE PROMISE OF BIOLOGICAL COLLECTIONS Biological collections are an invaluable, and often irreplaceable, component of the nation’s scientific enterprise. They are a rich and diverse data source providing the research and education communities with keys to decoding the living world—past, present, and future. For hundreds of years biological collections have inspired and informed science, but their promise has never been greater than it is today. Part of that increase in scientific value can be attributed simply to the steady growth in the collections over time, but other factors have played major roles in their value: the growing diversity of biological collections, the development of new technologies to study collections, and the explosion of digitization of collections over the past few decades. BOX 1-5 Selected Reports on Importance and Needs of Biological Collections in the United States The Biological Resources of Model Organisms (Jarrett and McCluskey, 2019) This book provides a brief look at the individual organisms, how they came to be accepted as model organisms, the history of the individual collections, examples of how the organisms have been and are being used in scientific research, and a description of the facilities and procedures used to maintain them. Extending U.S. Biodiversity Collections (Thiers et al., 2019) This report is the result of a consensus discussion, led by the Biodiversity Collections Network, on the future of biodiversity data held in U.S. biological collections. The report recommends building a network of extended specimens to facilitate research across taxonomic, temporal, and geospatial scales. Scientific Collections: Mission-Critical Infrastructure for Federal Science Agencies (National Science and Technology Council, Interagency Working Group on Scientific Collections, 2009) This report focuses on U.S. federal object-based scientific collections, including biological collections. Written by the Interagency Working Group on Scientific Collections, this report describes the diversity and purpose of federal scientific collections and makes recommendations for ongoing responsible stewardship. Geoscience Data and Collections: National Resources in Peril (NRC, 2002) This consensus report of the National Research Council outlines a comprehensive strategy for managing geoscience data and collections (including fossils of all types) in the United States. The U.S. National Plant Germplasm System (NRC, 1991) and Managing Global Genetic Resources: Agricultural Crop Issues and Policies (NRC, 1993a) This consensus report series examines needs and approaches in preserving genetic material for agriculture, including the worldwide network of genetic collections, the role of biotechnology, and a host of issues that surround management and use. Prepublication Copy 17

Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century Diversity of Biological Collections Today’s biological collections are highly diverse—they exist in distributed physical locations and vary in size, taxonomic diversity, origin, the kinds of specimens and data generated, and how they are maintained and used (see Figure 1-1). Typically, a collection consists of physical groupings of living or preserved organisms and selected and curated parts of those organisms, such as tissue, blood, or DNA (Ankeny, 2019), together with the comprehensive data associated with the specimens. Many institutions house biological collections from multiple taxonomic groups from around the world and across multiple geological time scales. Other biological collections consist of genetically modified microbes, plants, vertebrates, or invertebrates used for their diversity in genotypes, phenotypes, and physiological functions, regardless of where they originated. Variety in collections and how they are used is a recurring theme throughout this report. While this report covers only certain kinds of collections (see section on the scope of the report), collections can range in size from millions of specimens in large collections to smaller, project-based 3 collections. They are housed in natural history or science museums, botanical gardens, universities, biological resource or stock centers, private or even small collections of the sort that result from the efforts of one or a few investigators working on a single project. The scientific literature is replete with research made possible only, or primarily, because of biological collections and their unique combination of biological material and associated data. Examples of specific ways in which biological collections contribute to research and education can be found throughout this report, with unique contributions highlighted in this chapter and in Boxes 2-1, 2-2, 3-1, 3-2, 4-1, 4-5, and 5-1. FIGURE 1-1 Examples of biological collections in the United States. (A) spider in amber, University of Colorado Museum of Natural History Paleontology Section; (B) bats, Museum of Southwestern Biology, University of New Mexico; (C) Fusarium graminearum, Fungal Genetics Stock Center, Kansas State University; (D) Xenopus, National Xenopus Resource, Marine Biological Laboratory; (E) various herbarium specimens, New York Botanical Garden Virtual Herbarium; (F) Charles Doe egg collection, Florida Museum of Natural History; (G) Ichthyology Cleared and Stained specimens in jars, University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute; (H) bacterial strain on petri dishes, American Type Culture Collection. Project-based biological collections (sometimes called ad hoc collections) are those generated for a specific 3 research study. They usually do not continue to grow once the research concludes, and they typically lack funding for long-term maintenance or dedicated facilities to house them if the principal investigator retires or moves to a new institution, leaving the collection behind. Depending on quality and funding, some project-based collections may be maintained by their host institutions for new research purposes or transferred to a more comprehensive long- term repository. 18 Prepublication Copy

The Repository of Life This tremendous diversity is both the single greatest asset of collections and the single biggest challenge they face. There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for the myriad kinds of, and management approaches to, biological collections. Even the term “biological collection” often eludes a succinct description. For this report, the committee focused on collections developed for research, although many research collections are used for formal and informal science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. 4 Digitization of Biological Collections Digitization, or the conversion of specimen information to digital formats, including high- resolution images and genetic sequence data, has improved the value and usability of biological collections in a number of ways. For instance, it provides quick, easy, and inexpensive access to millions of specimens as well as to myriad associated data for any users with an Internet connection (Soltis, 2017). As observed with living stock collections, such as the microbe collections listed in the Global Catalogue of Microorganisms (GCM),5 the surge of available digital information for natural history collections is resulting in an increase of users of these collections and will undoubtedly spur research innovations in all disciplines of science (see Chapter 5). The countless available databases linked to specimens extend the concept of biological collections and enable novel specimen-based and new data-driven lines of scientific inquiry. The accessibility of databases of biological information mobilizes both basic and applied research (Nelson and Ellis, 2018) and has led to Nobel Prize-winning discoveries (see Box 2-1 and McCluskey, 2017). The digitization of biological collections has also revolutionized the ability to distribute and share information from these collections. For centuries, scientists wanting to study a particular specimen from a natural history collection had to visit the place where it was held or have the specimen sent to them, leaving the item susceptible to loss or damage (Olsen, 2015). Today, the coordinated worldwide efforts to digitize biological collections and associated data—e.g., Integrated Digitized Biocollections 6 (iDigBio) funded through the NSF Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections 7 (ADBC) program, and the European Distributed System of Scientific Collections 8 and Innovation and Consolidation for Large Scale Digitisation of Natural Heritage 9 program—provide access to rich sources of site- and species-specific data through data aggregators (e.g., Global Biodiversity Information Facility [GBIF], 10 iDigBio, and GCM) which fuel innovative thinking (see Chapter 5). The advent of advanced technologies and computerized methods augments the physical specimens in biological collections with a wealth of digitized data as well as derived resources and metadata, both physical and digital. These new approaches to generating, storing, and sharing specimens and their associated data not only enable specimen-based research but also make possible new approaches to solving complex global problems. Researchers have spoken of this as the “holistic” (Cook et al., 2016) or “extended specimen” concept (Webster, 2017) (see Figure 1-2). For users of living collections, genetic stocks act as repositories and distributors of biological specimens and their derived genotypic and phenotypic data and serve as a central hub for wide-ranging research communities. A specimen’s aggregated data can be combined “to form an information-rich network for exploring Earth’s biota across taxonomic, temporal and spatial scales” as recently noted in a report from the Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN) (Thiers et al., 2019, p. 2). 4 In this report the committee adopts the NSF definition of STEM which includes mathematics, natural sciences, engineering, computer and information sciences, and the social and behavioral sciences—psychology, economics, sociology, and political science (NSF, 2018). 5 See http://gcm.wfcc.info. 6 See https://www.idigbio.org. 7 See https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503559. 8 See https://www.dissco.eu. 9 See https://icedig.eu. 10 See https://www.gbif.org. Prepublication Copy 19

Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century FIGURE 1-2 The Extended Specimen Concept. Extended specimens are collected and preserved in ways that encourage the use of different sets of analyses and questions. As detailed by Thiers et al. (2019), the extended specimen concept includes four components that in concert enable scientists to “capitalize on the depth and breadth of biodiversity held and digitally accessible in U.S. collections”: (1) the physical specimen; (2) a primary extension that includes a digital record that brings together specimen-associated genotypic, phenotypic, and environmental data, including various media (e.g. images, sounds, video recordings); a secondary extension that includes specimen- associated data that may held in repositories or collections that are physically and digitally distinct and disconnected from the physical specimen such as isotype samples, gene sequences, or parasites found on the specimen; and (4) a third extension that includes data from other sources that may link to the physical specimen, such as descriptions and distribution of the species. Images courtesy of Physical specimen (frog) courtesy of Dr Kamal Khidas, Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Canada, digital specimen record icon by Jing.fm, specimen media icon byGregor Cresnar, Flaticon.com, MicroCT-scan courtesy of by David C. Blackburn and Edward L. Stanley, Florida Museum of Natural History, field notes picture by Mary Lewandowski, Ecto and Endo parasites image and the georeferences map from the United States Geological Survey. The types of data that can be collected and their potential uses are beyond current imagination in terms of size, quality, complexity, and value. The “extended specimen” concept opens the way to more opportunities, but implementing this concept requires both connecting with the research that uses the specimens and surmounting both technical and sociological issues of enabling and maintaining the linkage and inclusivity of the extended information through digital connections. Given the immense number of sources of digitized biological information from all kinds of biological collections, mechanisms to inventory and evaluate the capabilities of biological collections in the United States and abroad are needed. This is a daunting challenge in a historically siloed world. Garnering, organizing, and aggregating this essential information is key to realizing a digital revolution. Harnessing the expansion of digital tools and technologies—online through accessible databases—empowers researchers to forge new links and open new avenues of inquiry, broadens education opportunities at all levels, and gives us the tools to embrace globalization. The Value of Today’s—and Tomorrow’s—Biological Collections The wealth and diversity of biological collections and their extended networks make it possible to approach issues of global importance holistically, bridging cultural and knowledge gaps. But biological collections also have catalyzed scientific discovery across a wide variety of fields, from medicine and public health to agriculture, ecology, evolutionary biology, and global change. For example, genetic stock collections of plants, insects, and microorganisms played a central role in advances in the field of genetics and applications to plant and animal agriculture (NRC, 1993b). 20 Prepublication Copy

The Repository of Life Biological collections provide a fundamental underpinning for a tremendous amount of basic research in the biological sciences (see Chapter 2). Consider, for instance, the revolutionary genome- editing technique known as CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats). CRISPR has vastly expanded the genetic resources available in living collections and advanced the applications of biotechnology in medicine, agriculture, and conservation. Furthermore, the development of CRISPR was in part the result of research on materials sourced from living microbe collections (Ishino et al., 1987; Jinek et al., 2012). More generally, decades of groundbreaking life sciences research were only made possible because of the availability of high-quality living stocks and model organisms (McKie, 2017; see also Box 2-1). Biological collections also help scientists predict and respond to a rapidly changing world. They have the unique capacity to validate existing research endeavors, reveal large-scale temporal patterns, and allow the retracing of environmental disturbances over time. For example, recent important insights into the effects of climate change on the distribution of mountain and desert organisms have been the result of comparisons of biological collections sampled and compared across a century of environmental change (Grinnell Resurvey Project, 11 Shaffer et al., 1998). Sometimes the connection between the biological collection and an outcome is reasonably straightforward, as when paleontologists study the fossils in a collection to gain insight into the evolution of a species or biologists use historical collections of plants or animals to understand how the geographic distribution of a species has changed over time. A recent example of the latter was research on the endangered Poweshiek skipperling (see Box 1-6). The ability to collect vital, invaluable clues on disease patterns in humans, animals, and crops also depends on well-documented archived or reference biological collections (Ristaino et al., 2002). In many cases, analyses of both living stock and natural history collections are essential for public health officials to identify emerging pathogens and develop preparedness strategies to mitigate the spread of disease around the world (Shrivastava et al., 2018; Yanagihara et al., 2014). This report was produced in the middle of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic, which provides a timely example of how living and natural history collections infrastructure can be integrated to detect, describe, and mitigate emerging infectious diseases. During outbreaks and pandemics, living stock collections, such as the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) and some of the government contracts they manage, 12 maintain and distribute virus strains and associated materials for basic research and development of diagnostic tests, therapeutics, vaccines, and detection methods. What is less obvious is the value of continuously using natural history collections infrastructure to better understand pathogen emergence on a global scale (Cook et al., 2020; DiEuliis et al., 2016; Dunnum et al., 2017). Natural history collections are an essential resource for studying pathogen hosts and their spatial and temporal distribution (Harmon et al., 2019). Many applications of biological collections also rely on making connections that are less than obvious, such as the use of pollen collections to help identify “Baby Doe,” a young girl whose body was found in a plastic bag washed up on a Massachusetts shore (see Box 1-7). BOX 1-6 Building a Database from Scratch—Poweshiek Skipperling The Poweshiek skipperling is an orange-brown prairie butterfly not much larger than a quarter, whose population crashed between 2005 and 2015. Saving the butterfly required learning more about its ecological niche, so a group of naturalists and ecologists set out to map its presence over time, from the second half of the 19th century to modern times—an effort that required poring through dozens of natural history collections and records. Today ecologists are using the assembled Image courtesy of Vince Cavalieri, data to develop plans for bringing the Poweshiek skipperling back from the brink of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service extinction (Belitz et al., 2018; Clint et al., 2016). 11 See http://mvz.berkeley.edu/Grinnell/pubs.html. 12 The Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Resources (BEI Resources) and the International Reagent Resources (IRR). Prepublication Copy 21

Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century Biological collections can inspire wonder, curiosity, and connectivity to nature in young and old, scientists and non-scientists alike, through formal and informal learning (see Chapter 3). Without biological collections, educators would lose an exceptional resource for training generations of scientists as well as enhancing both scientific and STEM literacy (Cook et al., 2014; Lacey et al., 2017; NASEM, 2016, 2018). Integrating the use of biological collections into formal and informal education builds competencies in applied and pure research, data collection and analysis (data literacy), and core biological principles. Moreover, collections introduce students and early-career scientists to extensive and readily available resources that they can explore and use to innovate and develop new lines of inquiry. One way to understand the value and promise of biological collections is to envision what could happen if there were not a renewed and expanded commitment to maintain the diversity of biological collections and promote their use. Significant domains of basic and applied research would certainly be hindered. Living collections, because of the nature of their maintenance, are particularly vulnerable to inconsistent preservation and, as such, would be irreparably damaged. The loss of genetic stock collections, each a centralized source of materials for a global research community, would irreparably sever the connection between past, present, and future research needs of thousands of research labs that rely on them. Researchers would have to revert to peer-to-peer exchanges, which would greatly hamper long-term availability and quality control. And many advances that cannot even be imagined today would never be made. Connecting Biological Collections to Create Broad Impacts There is a growing recognition that integrated global initiatives that apply diverse perspectives, institutions, and resources to prevent and respond to issues of high international priority such as emerging infectious disease, biodiversity loss, food security, invasive species, or climate change are a key approach to achieving an effective and lasting response (Cunningham et al., 2017; Johnson et al., 2011; Machalaba et al., 2015; Myers, 2018). If they were more fully connected across diverse disciplines, biological collections could play a much larger role in these initiatives (Dunnum et al., 2017). Biological collections can provide a platform with which to examine facts, deepen knowledge, and generate innovative solutions to these emerging challenges. More than ever, the community of users could take advantage of the biological collections infrastructure to develop a flexible, distributed, and coordinated network of biological and informatics resources to address research and educational mandates. For instance, biological collections could provide valuable, irreplaceable resources that could contribute to at least six of NSF’s 10 Big Ideas (see Box 1-8). 13 BOX 1-7 Pollen Forensics: Identification of “Baby Doe” A microscopic cedar pollen grain found on Baby Doe’s clothing was one of the indicators that pinpointed the unidentified little girl was from the Boston area. Image courtesy of Andrew Laurence, U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In an episode that seemed straight out of a television show, forensic scientists were able to determine that “Baby Doe” had lived in the Boston area by examining traces of pollen on her clothes (Laurence and Bryant, 2019), which allowed the police to focus on that city and eventually identify her. It turns out that every area has its own unique “pollen fingerprint,” allowing scientists who study pollen—palynologists—to deduce where clothing or drugs or even explosive devices have originated. This is only possible because of the existence of pollen collections from many different areas across the country and around the world, against which pollen samples can be compared. 13 See https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/big_ideas. 22 Prepublication Copy

The Repository of Life BOX 1-8 Examples of How Collections Contribute to NSF’s Big Ideas Six of NSF’s 10 Big Ideas (with brief descriptions from the NSF website in italic) are linked to the chapters in this report that describe how collections contribute to the Big Ideas. • Growing Convergence Research: The grand challenges of today—protecting human health; understanding the food, energy, water nexus; exploring the universe at all scales—will not be solved by one discipline alone. They require convergence: the merging of ideas, approaches and technologies from widely diverse fields of knowledge to stimulate innovation and discovery. Chapter 2 of this report presents a range of opportunities that garner the power of convergence through transdisciplinary research using specimens and their extended data. • Understanding the Rules of Life: Predicting Phenotypes: Elucidating the sets of rules that predict an organism’s observable characteristics, its phenotype. Life on our planet is arranged in levels of organization ranging from the molecular scale through to the biosphere. There exists a remarkable amount of complexity in the interactions within and between these levels of organization and across scales of time and space. Chapter 2 of this report provides the past, present, and future contributions of living and non-living collections to fulfill this goal. • Mid-Scale Research Infrastructure: Developing an agile process for funding experimental research capabilities in the mid-scale range. The National Science Foundation’s science and engineering activities rely increasingly on infrastructure that is diverse in space, cost and implementation time— everything from major observatories to nationwide sensor networks to smaller experiments. There are many important potential experiments and facilities that fall between these; this gap results in missed opportunities that leave essential science undone. The long-term consequences of that neglect will be profound for science as well as for our nation’s economy, security and competitiveness. We need a new approach to research infrastructure, one more dynamic and flexible in response to this new reality. This report as a whole describes how biological collections are an essential element of the life science research infrastructure (see Chapter 4). • Harnessing the Data Revolution: Engaging NSF’s research community in the pursuit of fundamental research in data science and engineering, the development of a cohesive, federated, national-scale approach to research data infrastructure, and the development of a 21st-century data-capable workforce. Chapter 5 of this report describes the important ways digital data are used to benefit research in yet unimaginable ways. • Navigating the New Arctic: Establishing an observing network of mobile and fixed platforms and tools across the Arctic to document and understand the Arctic’s rapid biological, physical, chemical, and social changes. Current Arctic observations are sparse and inadequate for enabling discovery or simulation of the processes underlying Arctic system change or to assess their environmental and economic impacts on the broader Earth system. Chapters 2 (innovative and transformative specimen- based research) and 8 (community collaboration) lay the foundation for understanding the critical role that collections play in understanding and documenting changing conditions in the Arctic (e.g., Colella et al., 2020; Hobern et al., 2013). NSF Includes: Transforming education and career pathways to help broaden participation in science and engineering. The program's structure will provide a networked testbed for research on STEM inclusion. This will enable participants to determine the key components and approaches that lead to progress in STEM inclusion as well as the elements that allow successful local alliances to be scaled up for broader use. Chapter 6 of this report focuses on workforce and includes diversity and inclusion. A critical component of this effort is the value of biological collections research to a range of demographic and psychographic groups, including tribal peoples, as well as citizen/community scientists contributing to the body of knowledge. Chapter 6 also recognizes within its diversity mandate that STEM education is supported by an ecosystem that includes not only schools and universities, but also museums, community organizations, and afterschool/summer activities. Prepublication Copy 23

Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century CHALLENGES Despite their important role as critical infrastructure for research and education and the promise detailed above, biological collections are in jeopardy. They are consistently undervalued and often underfunded. Each year brings new reports of large and small collections threatened with budget cuts or closure (Deng, 2015; Lambert, 2019a). The frequency of such reports provides evidence of a growing issue that needs the immediate attention of scientific decision-makers and funders alike. In spite of the broad and varied nature of biological collections, the committee identified many common issues, opportunities, and challenges faced by all. Several of these challenges are related to funding in one way or another. But if one looks beyond this basic issue and asks why funding is such a problem, other challenges emerge. Many of these fall under two broad categories: a lack of recognition of the value of collections, and issues with coordination, integration, and accessibility. Challenge: Lack of Recognition of the Value of Collections A consistent challenge facing biological collections is a lack of awareness of the value of these collections to scientific research, innovation, and education and missed opportunities to take advantage of this key infrastructure. Despite the rich history of research, discovery, learning, and innovation built on biological collections, they remain a treasure trove of untapped knowledge because both their contribution and importance are often not widely appreciated or fully comprehended. Natural history collections have been falsely regarded as drawers full of quaint but irrelevant old specimens by some, but well-curated collections contain a temporal record of specimens that have been studied and annotated by generations of scientists. Such collections need to be actively growing, embracing new kinds of specimens, and adopting new technologies to extend their value. There may also be a misconception that the use of “classical” or living model organisms is waning (Hunter, 2008; Jarrett and McCluskey, 2019). In fact, in the last decade, there has been a surge in the distribution of model organisms by living stock collections, which are now offering new materials such as genomic DNA, arrayed strains, and insertion or disruption mutant strains or libraries generated using targeted mutation techniques such as CRISPR. The value of biological collections could be made clearer through targeted initiatives with experts in education, policy, and communication. Ultimately, the collections community needs to improve its ability to communicate the importance of specimens in research and education to a wider audience, especially to funders and decision-makers. Challenge: Biological Collections Infrastructure Taken for Granted Like all scientific advances produced by the research enterprise, the nation’s biological collections require robust resources and infrastructure to maintain them. The physical, digital, and intellectual capital of this infrastructure underlies every aspect of management of, and access to, collections. However, the overall infrastructure that supports biological collections and makes them accessible to the research and education communities is, at best, underappreciated and, at worst, ignored—often at their collective peril. Many funders simply fail to recognize the importance of making a long-term commitment to the infrastructure that is needed to maintain, grow, and make biological collections available, in much the same way that oceanographic research vessels support ocean science. Combined with a scarcity of funding, the lack of a long-term commitment or plan for this infrastructure (see Chapter 4) creates a situation where funding for biological collections is often insufficient and unpredictable. As discussed in detail in Chapter 4, priceless and irreplaceable research materials and records of the world’s biodiversity are at great risk from everything from outright disaster and federally mandated shutdown to the simple failure of environmental control systems. Changing institutional priorities can be equally devastating, sometimes resulting in collections being slowly shuttered or even discarded (see Box 1-9). Every collection that is lost means losing years of work and invested resources as well as a skilled workforce, which could in turn lead to major missed opportunities and a decrease in 24 Prepublication Copy

The Repository of Life scientific competitiveness for U.S. researchers (Boundy-Mills et al., 2016). Perhaps the worst loss of all, however, is the lost connection to Earth’s rich history of life and the knowledge necessary to address pressing societal challenges. If biological collections are to maintain—and increase—their value to science and society in the coming years, careful attention will need to be paid to enhancing collections for future research needs and preparing for the loss of infrastructure or expert workforces through retirements or staff attrition. Challenge: Clear Metrics to Evaluate Biological Collections Interest and demand for the clear and robust evaluation of research institutions are rising nationally and globally. However, measuring the impact of the nation’s biological collections on research and education is difficult because it requires the same stringent standards expected to produce credible, robust scientific research in general. Biological collections lack the resources—financial support, time, and expertise—to develop and implement evaluation plans and to collect and monitor data and information. In addition, there is no consensus on community-wide standards for evaluation and metrics. BOX 1-9 Biological Collections Around the World in Peril In the overnight hours of September 2, 2018, a fire rapidly escalated into an inferno in Brazil’s Museu Nacional in Rio de Janeiro. In just a few hours, millions of irreplaceable specimens and the research careers of dozens of scientists were destroyed. Writing in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times days after the Rio fire, John McCormack (2018), a professor of biology at Occidental College, cited decrepit infrastructure, poor record-keeping, and skeleton staffs produced by years of budget cuts as among the growing concerns facing museums in the United States. The fire at Museo Nacional is just the latest in a string of high- visibility disasters. From 2010 to 2020, Brazil’s biological collections were particularly prone to fire damage (Rodríguez Mega, 2020), but there have been problems in multiple other countries as well, such as the 2016 fire at the National Museum of Natural History, New Delhi.a Some of the world’s most important biological collections have been struck, underlining the precariousness of their infrastructure. Besides such physical destruction, loss of funding or personnel have been equally devastating for biological collections. After a series of reorganizations in the past few decades, the New Zealand National Museum Te Papa Tongarewa lost almost half its collection managers and curators, jeopardizing the fate of this collection.b In 2019, the governor of Alaska proposed to completely cut the state appropriation to the University of Alaska’s Museum of the North in addition to imposing severe cuts on the university’s annual investments in research (Lambert, 2019b). In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced nearly all museums in the United States to close their doors.c For example, the American Museum of Natural History in New York City had to cut its staff by 20 percent, furlough an additional 250 staff members, and restrict access to the museum to the remaining staff. The long-term impact of this pandemic was unknown at the time this report was published, but will undoubtedly have consequences. A surveyd released by the American Alliance of Museums in July 2020 indicated that possibly one-third of museums will not reopen. a See https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/27/world/asia/museum-fire-new-delhi.html. b See https://www.stuff.co.nz/science/105511593/scientests-urge-te-papa-to-invest-in-collections-research- rather-than-strip-them-of-staff. c See https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/05/shuttered-natural-history-museums-fight-survival-amid- covid-19-heartbreak. d See https://www.aam-us.org/2020/07/22/a-snapshot-of-us-museums-response-to-the-covid-19-pandemic. Challenge: Coordination, Integration, and Accessibility Another category of challenges relates to various coordination, integration, and accessibility issues. Historically, biological collections were developed independently of one another, and they have Prepublication Copy 25

Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century traditionally operated as independent collections, with relatively little coordination or integration among them. This fragmented nature limits the usefulness of the national system of biological collections, leaving potential users of the system often uncertain about what is available and where they can find materials of interest. A lack of coordination and integration both within and across different collections also hinders research involving multiple collections. Challenge: Incomplete Inventory of Existing Living Stock and Natural History Collections The precise number and extent of biological collections in the United States are unknown, in part because there is no system-wide process for identifying and cataloging these collections. The number of biological collections is in flux, as new collections are created and existing ones are transferred, combined, and discarded. In addition, there is no mechanism to track either the large number of project- based collections that are housed in individual research labs or privately owned collections (which are not covered in this report) which may be eventually accessioned into larger repositories. The extent or value of those collections is not known. A related challenge is that the data associated with those collections, including images and genetic sequence data (see Chapter 5), will require new bioinformatic resources to digitize (if necessary) and publish the acquired data onto online repositories that are available to the research community. Recent estimates suggest that there are about 1,800 natural history collections in the United States, representing about one-third of all global collections (Kemp, 2015). The most comprehensive list of natural history collections in the United States, the iDigBio Collections Catalog that lists ~1600 collections, 14 is an advance over previous efforts, but it is static and not yet complete. Certain living stock collections have self-organized into federations, networks, and consortia, such as the World Federation for Culture Collections, the U.S. Culture Collection Network 15 (USCCN), Crop Germplasm Committees, and the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER), 16 with a growing number of registered collections. When researching the number of living stock collections for which information is available online, experts on the committee estimated that there is a minimum of 2,855 living stock collections in the United States. However, the number of living stock collections is likely grossly underestimated (e.g., McCluskey, 2017), in part because of the diversity of these collections and the different research communities they serve. For example, there is no central registry of genetic stock collections or biological resource centers, 17 which harbor untapped resources for basic research as well as medical, agricultural, and biotechnological applications (Wang et al., 2009). To start closing the gaps, the taxonomy group at the National Center for Biotechnology Information has created a platform to connect genetic sequence records to specimens of living organisms preserved in living stock collections and to vouchers—representative specimens stored for later examination—held in natural history collections (Sharma et al., 2018). However, without a comprehensive, systematic, and continuously updated inventory of all biological collections, the ability to effectively address the needs of these collections as a community is severely hindered. Challenge: Limited Community-Wide Coordinating Mechanisms Many biological collections in the United States and around the world remain largely disconnected. Often, because of geographic or institutional divisions and a lack of funding or awareness about the value of their research materials, project-based collections are in temporary or even permanent storage, usually in the care of the principal investigator funded for the original research. Under such See https://www.idigbio.org/portal/collections. 14 See http://www.usccn.org/Pages/default.aspx. 15 16 See https://www.isber.org. 17 Institutions that store and maintain the subject materials of biological research, and provide services related to these materials. They also collect and store data and information relevant to their holdings (Wang et al., 2009). 26 Prepublication Copy

The Repository of Life conditions, these resources are not available to inform the wider research community. On a larger scale, creating a coordinating network, developing a common vision, and communicating the value of a network of biological collections to the scientific community, funders, and society as a whole is hampered by the fact that researchers, curators, collection managers, and users are spread across many institutions and often balance multiple responsibilities. This lack of a common vision directly affects their ability to develop a strategy for preserving, growing, cataloging, digitizing, and using collections. Recent support by NSF’s ADBC program has helped to unite the U.S. natural history collections community, across taxa and geography, in unprecedented ways; however, more can be accomplished. VISION FOR THE NEXT DECADE Many publications and contributions of individual experts were invaluable in guiding the work of the committee, particularly in regard to the distinct, perhaps unique, needs of different types of biological collections. The committee’s conclusions and recommendations represent the deliberations of its members, who recognize both the challenges and power of a diverse national system of biological collections and the reality that budget issues necessitate trade-offs in programmatic priorities. The committee also recognizes the importance of the historical roles of biological collections while envisioning and expanding new functionalities and capabilities to meet 21st-century needs. The significance of biological collections as research infrastructure continues to grow in ways that were unanticipated 20 or even 10 years ago. With strategic thinking and steady resource investments, biological collections could continue to be at the heart of scientific advances and education for the foreseeable future. Looking ahead, the committee developed a common vision for how best to support, promote, and utilize the biological collections community over the next decade: Provide long-term support for collections-based scientific research, instill a culture of stewardship for and access to biological specimens, build and grow biological collections to better represent global biodiversity in space and time, promote access to biological collections as important educational resources for the general public, and encourage the exchange of biological resources and knowledge. With this vision, the major aim of this report is to stimulate a national discussion regarding the goals and strategies needed to ensure that U.S. biological collections not only thrive, but continue to grow throughout the 21st century and beyond. This expansive endeavor requires creative leadership that encompasses a wide range of perspectives and expertise to identify the needs of collections infrastructure and ensure the collections’ sustainability and growth. How can this vision be realized? In this report, the committee first explores the ways that biological collections have contributed to society by advancing scientific discovery and innovation, enriching education, connecting nonprofessional communities to nature and science, and preserving Earth’s natural science heritage (see Chapters 2 and 3). Then the committee addresses how the biological collections community is working toward a common vision in light of today’s challenges, recognizing that the future success of the biological collections community—curators, collection managers, directors, and users of biological collections—depends on addressing four interrelated issues: 1. the upgrading and maintenance of the physical infrastructure and the growth of collections (see Chapter 4); 2. the development and maintenance of the tools and processes needed to transform digital data into an easily accessible, integrated platform as cyberinfrastructure increases in complexity (see Chapter 5); 3. the recruiting, training, and supporting of the workforce of the future (see Chapter 6); and 4. the ensuring of long-term financial sustainability (see Chapter 7). Prepublication Copy 27

Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century Realizing this vision will require enhanced communication and collaboration within the biological collections community and beyond (see Chapter 8). The committee recognizes the lack of a common place where issues that span the collections community can be addressed. For curators, there is no single association or professional society dedicated to creating opportunities for networking, collaborating, recognizing, supporting, and promoting the collective research enterprise that is supported by biological collections. Until recently, convening opportunities have been limited to either particular research disciplines that the collections serve (often taxonomically bounded) or to particular regional settings, which is not conducive to the dissemination of information and resources pertinent to the advancement of specimen-based research and curatorial best practices. In contrast, the biological collections community has various networks to address concerns about the management, care, and distribution of biological collections. These networks can ease the way to establishing strong guidelines, providing training, developing best practices, and facilitating the use of collections in collaborative research as well as in formal and informal education. Networks also provide a platform for strategic thinking and developing solutions to problems of broad societal importance. For instance, the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC) has made tremendous progress over the past three decades in building a community-driven organization with a common voice. Certain living stock collections have also been successful in establishing national and global networks, such as USCCN (McCluskey et al., 2016; Wu et al., 2017) and could serve as a model for other biological collections. Collections for which the data are digitized and published as part of such national and international networks can also benefit from services that allow these collections not only to gauge the accuracy and completeness of their data but also to comply with relevant legal requirements such as the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization 18 (Nagoya Protocol) (see Box 1-10). BOX 1-10 Navigating International Requirements for Sharing and Exchanging Biological Materials and Data Adding to the complexity of bridging international endeavors, new domestic and international regulations have set out a strong legal framework on access to and use of genetic resources preserved in both natural history and living stock collections. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) recognizes the importance of preserving global biodiversity and sharing benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS), a supplementary international agreement under the CBD, is an emerging challenge affecting researchers and biological collections globally (McCluskey et al., 2017, 2018). Although the United States is not a signatory to the CBD, U.S. researchers need to follow the Nagoya Protocol regulations if the biological specimens they use originated in signatory countries. Each provider country is establishing its own laws and regulations that detail its rules for accessing specimens and their genetic resources and its requirements for sharing benefits arising from their use. Country-specific legislation guided by the Nagoya Protocol may require that collections users keep all usage records for acquired collections, including derived publications, patents, and products, and to report these uses to the countries of origin. In addition, collections managers need to confirm that deposited specimens were collected with proper permits and make associated documents available to users. While essential to promoting transparency, this places enormous additional responsibilities on collections managers with little or no extra funding to support the increased cost of implementation. (Continued) 18 See https://www.cbd.int/abs. 28 Prepublication Copy

The Repository of Life BOX 1-10 Continued Benefit sharing can be monetary or in-kind, such as training, capacity building, and collaborative research activities. Penalties for noncompliance, such as fines and the confiscation of research equipment, vary by country (Rochmyaningsih, 2019). Digital sequence information is also under consideration for inclusion in the Nagoya Protocol requirements, although this is currently an unsettled issue. Researchers are having difficulties complying with the Nagoya Protocol requirements (Watanabe, 2017), which is a challenge to access and use of materials and intensifies the need to strengthen both U.S. and international collections. These are compelling arguments for the creation of a common place to develop a unified vision, exchange ideas, pool resources, and in other ways cultivate a thriving biological collections community. To facilitate the realization of this vision, this report explores and offers recommendations for community-wide, collaborative mechanisms, such as the creation of an Action Center for Biological Collections and the development of a Decadal Plan to guide major investments in the nation’s biological collections (see Chapter 8). While collaboration is essential in research, evidence suggests that collaboration dynamics and outcomes vary greatly across institutions, fields, and missions and even in the motives among members of individual research teams in ways that could create barriers to innovation (Bozeman et al., 2013; Katz and Martin, 1997). Along with the biological collections community, professional societies and funding agencies will play a critical role in providing leadership to achieve this vision, which will also require sensitivity to inclusivity to engage the community in ways that ensure all voices are heard. REFERENCES Ankeny, R. A. 2019. A philosophical perspective on biological collections. 2019. Presentation to Committee on Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century by Webinar on February 15, 2019. Antunes, A., E. Stackebrandt, and N. Lima. 2016. Fueling the bio-economy: European culture collections and microbiology education and training. Trends in Microbiology 24(2):77–79. Beckmann, E., G. Estavillo, U. Mathesius, M. Djordjevic, and A. Nicotra. 2015. The plant detectives: Innovative undergraduate teaching to inspire the next generation of plant biologists. Perspective. Frontiers in Plant Science 6:729. Belitz, M. W., L. K. Hendrick, M. J. Monfils, D. L. Cuthrell, C. J. Marshall, A. Y. Kawahara, N. S. Cobb, J. M. Zaspel, A. M. Horton, S. L. Huber, A. D. Warren, G. A. Forthaus, and A. K. Monfils. 2018. Aggregated occurrence records of the federally endangered poweshiek skipperling (oarisma poweshiek). Biodiversity Data Journal 6. Boundy-Mills, K. L., E. Glantschnig, I. N. Roberts, A. Yurkov, S. Casaregola, H.-M. Daniel, M. Groenewald, and B. Turchetti. 2016. Yeast culture collections in the twenty-first century: New opportunities and challenges. Yeast 33(7):243–260. Bozeman, B., D. Fay, and C. P. Slade. 2013. Research collaboration in universities and academic entrepreneurship: The state of the art. Journal of Technology Transfer 38(1):1–67. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10961-012-9281-8. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10961-012-9281-8. Brock, T. D. 1967. Life at high temperatures. Science 158(3804):1012–1019. Brock, T. D., and M. L. Brock. 1967. The measurement of chlorophyll, primary productivity, photophosphorylation, and macromolecules in benthic algal mats. Limnology and Oceanography 12(4):600–605. Brock, T. D., and M. L. Brock. 1968. Measurement of steady-state growth rates of a thermophilic alga directly in nature. Journal of Bacteriology 95(3):811–815. Prepublication Copy 29

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Biological collections are a critical part of the nation's science and innovation infrastructure and a fundamental resource for understanding the natural world. Biological collections underpin basic science discoveries as well as deepen our understanding of many challenges such as global change, biodiversity loss, sustainable food production, ecosystem conservation, and improving human health and security. They are important resources for education, both in formal training for the science and technology workforce, and in informal learning through schools, citizen science programs, and adult learning. However, the sustainability of biological collections is under threat. Without enhanced strategic leadership and investments in their infrastructure and growth many biological collections could be lost.

Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century recommends approaches for biological collections to develop long-term financial sustainability, advance digitization, recruit and support a diverse workforce, and upgrade and maintain a robust physical infrastructure in order to continue serving science and society. The aim of the report is to stimulate a national discussion regarding the goals and strategies needed to ensure that U.S. biological collections not only thrive but continue to grow throughout the 21st century and beyond.

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