Museum Techniques
in the 21st Century

6-9 June · Vairão, Portugal

2022 edition

Welcome to the 4th edition of an intensive course on innovative uses of museum’s resources for vertebrate’s research. By the end of this course students will have an updated overview of the potential of museum collections for biodiversity research


The host instructors, from CIBIO-InBIO and the Museum of Natural History and Science of the University of Porto (MHNCUP) and foreign instructors from Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates (CUMV) and the Finnish Museum of Natural History (LUOMUS) will share their knowledge and experience on preparing, curating, and using museum specimens. This will be complemented by online lectures of several invited researchers. In addition, students will practice how to prepare bird and mammal specimens and how tissues can be obtained and preserved for a variety of uses.


CIBIO-InBIO is located at the Vairão Campus, just north of Porto city (how to get there). The Museum of Natural History and Science of the University of Porto (MHNCUP) is located right in the centre of Porto city. 


beyond the specimen

present the "extend specimen" concept, and the potentially limitless use of Biological collections


consider how museum specimens provide genetic and genomic resources and how to retrieve genomic data from historical specimens


present other non-genetic molecular methods, such as stable isotopes, toxicology and quantification of coloration

whole specimen

discuss state-of-the-art ‘whole specimen’ techniques including CT scanning and 3D models


understand the potential of the spatial and temporal data, available in global repositories, such as GBIF


practice the ways that vouchers of vertebrates can be prepared to ensure that quality data is available for generations to come

time (GMT +1)

6 Jun


7 Jun


8 Jun


9 Jun

09:00 – 10:15

Value of museums in the 21st century and current methods for preparing specimens

Museum specimens as a genetic and genomic resource

Museum specimens as a resource for non-genetic molecular analysis

Museum specimen’s data as a resource for biodiversity analysis

10.30 – 12.45

Invited lectures – the principle of the “extended specimen” & “whole specimen” examples

Invited lectures – retrieval of genetic data from ancient specimens

Invited lectures – retrieval of non-genetic molecular analysis data from ancient specimens

Invited lectures – use of museum data for biodiversity analysis





14.15 – 17:30

Practical session – preparing voucher specimens (birds)

Practical session – preparing voucher specimens (mammals)

Practical session – preparing voucher specimens (birds & mammals)

Visit to MHNCUP Collections – types of specimens and storage

Visit to a taxidermist office – preparation of mounted specimens for exhibition


22 May


75% of student slots

BIODIV PhD Students



Other PhD Students



Other post-graduate Students

150 €

( CIBIO-InBIO members 20% discount)


organizers & instructors

  • Ricardo Jorge Lopes (CIBIO/UP & MHNCUP, Portugal).
  • Paulo Célio Alves (CIBIO/UP & FCUP, Portugal). 
  • Jeremy Searle, Cornell University & Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates (CUMV)
  • Vanya Gregor Rohwer, Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates (CUMV). Curator of Birds and Mammals.

foreign instructors

  • Mary Margaret Ferraro Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates (CUMV). Bird Collections Manager.
  • Alexandre Aleixo Finnish Museum of Natural History (LUOMUS)
    Curator of the ornithological, osteological, and vertebrate tissue collections.

invited speakers

  • Jan Lijfeld (UIO, Norway) – Will talk about curation of Sperm Collection, a clear example of the “extended specimen” concept.
  • Jen Wright (University of Hull, UK) – Will talk about a citizen science project that involves 3D Scans and morphometrics of bill shapes.
  • Ana Leitão (CIBIO-InBIO, University of Porto, Portugal) – Will talk on the use of bird printed models based on 3D photogrammetry of museum specimens.
  • Joel Alves (University of Oxford, UK) – Will share its experience on the retrieval of genetic resources from ancient periods to the present. 
  • Raquel Godinho, Diana Lobo and Carolina Freitas (CIBIO-InBIO, University of Porto, Portugal) – Will talk about their experience with retrieving genetic resources from different tissues of museum specimens. 
  • Christopher R. Cooney (University of Sheffield, UK) – Will share its experience with a citizen science project that combined photographies of Museum specimens using colour and UV filters, and the help of thousands of volunteers to extract the colour information needed to answer key questions about bird colour evolution.
  • Paola Novalli (Naturalis Biodiversity Center, The Netherlands) – Will talk about the importance of archive specimens for monitoring contaminants in the environment and the implications for wildlife and human health at the European level. 
  • Rui Figueira (ISA, University of Lisbon, Portugal) – As the Portuguese Node Manager of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), he will talk about the interaction between biological specimens and the availability of data.