Yesterday we completed our first media workshop. Three of the ARTS principle investigators spent 10 days working with videographer Ana Endara and illustrator Meghan Rock. We now have hours of footage for our how-to videos (stay tuned for their release in 2016). Meghan's plates and illustrations will be integrated into taxonomic publications, posters and presentations and our illustrated glossary, which will be released in 2016. Next year our other 3 PIs will repeat the process.
This week the ARTS team is making movies in Bocas del Toro.
Taxonomists can't identify contracted pickled blobs - For many groups of invertebrates it is impossible to identify animals that have not been prepared and preserved correctly. Each group is different and has it's own idiosyncrasies in how animals respond to relaxants and preservatives. For some MgCl2 is a great relaxant; for some menthol is the way to go. Some have to be preserved in formalin; for some drying or ethanol are preferred. For some living color is vital; for others it's misleading.
One of the major products of our ARTS grant will be a series of how-to videos showing the tricks and techniques used for collecting, preserving and identifying marine organisms.