ICES Workshop on Scale, Otolith Biochronology Archives (WKBioArc)
The Workshop on Scale, Otolith Biochronology Archives (WKBioArc) met to review and report on issues and solutions for establishing, maintaining, and managing biomineral sample collections to ensure their protection and access for future scientific use. The workshop also examined issues around the management of the data associated with biochronology collections and identified opportunities for international collaboration to support the management of biochronology collections and their use in research. General guidelines for handling, processing and storing samples and metadata to ensure their long term preservation and accessibility were presented, drawing on the expertise that exists within the museum curation community. An open-source database model and collections management system and associated work-flows were presented. The system utilizes the FAIR (Findable Accessible Interoperable and Reusable) open-data principles, and includes a physical repository, sample metadata catalogue, and image library. The system was developed to organize a collection of salmon scales but can be readily adapted to any biological collection. Core principles for the management of access to collections, the design of databases and the sharing of data were agreed. A lack of curatorial expertise within the fisheries science community and limited resources (personnel and space) for collections management were seen as the main barriers to the effective preservation of biochronology collections and their use in research. Increased engagement with the museum curation community, which holds a considerable body of shared experience and expertise, is recommended. International collaboration that connects collections across regions allows for more powerful broad scale analyses and offers a strategy for attracting long term funding to support the management and preservation of the collections. To improve the visibility and accessibility of the collections an inventory of the material held across the participating institutes needs to be established. This workshop is the first step in establishing an international network of biochronology collections.