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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SYSTEMATICS, GENETIC DIVERSITY ASSESSMENT, AND ACQUISITION OF POTATOES, CARROTS, AND THEIR RELATED WILD RELATIVES Title: Research using biocultural collections

Author
item Spooner, David

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: February 7, 2012
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Citation: Spooner, D.M. 2014. Research using biocultural collections. In: Salick, J., Konchar, K., Nesbitt, M., editors. Curating Biocultural Collections: A Handbook. Chicago, IL:University of Chicago Press. p. 295-312.

Interpretive Summary: Ethnobiology is the scientific study of dynamic relationships among peoples, biota, and environments that make use of biocultural collections. The purpose of this volume, to include other papers covering other aspects of biocultural collections, is to summarize curation procedures for a wide range of collection types, such as herbarium specimens; plant and animal products such as art, clothing, or commercial food products; ethnographic materials and cultural artifacts; unprocessed economically useful plant and animal parts, e.g., seeds, fruits, roots; DNA collections and frozen tissue samples; archaeological plant and animal remains; documentation libraries and archives. This paper is different from the rest in this special volume, documenting how researchers actually use these collections. It summarizes these types of research into 14 classes: 1) folk classification, traditional knowledge, cognition studies, and native uses of plants; 2) archaeology; 3) conservation; 4) cultural anthropology and ethnography; 5) ecology; 6) geography; 7) medicinal plants and natural products research; 8) nutrition; 9) social policy; 10) sustainable development; 11) taxonomy and systematics; 12) crop evolution and domestication, 13) genetic diversity, 14) germplasm collection and access. It also provides a short synopsis of the major societies engaged in ethnobiological research, their mission, and publications.

Technical Abstract: The purpose of this article is to provide a sampling of the wide breadth of research conducted with biocultural collections. Because of its breadth it is clearly not comprehensive, but rather a sampling simply meant to illustrate the variation and depth of the field and to illustrate reasons why it is so hard to provide definitions to the various terms used to describe this research. For the purposes of this review ethnobiological disciplines are grouped into: 1) folk classification, traditional knowledge, cognition studies, and native uses of plants; 2) archaeology; 3) conservation; 4) cultural anthropology and ethnography; 5) ecology; 6) geography; 7) medicinal plants and natural products research; 8) nutrition; 9) social policy; 10) sustainable development; 11) taxonomy and systematics; 12) crop evolution and domestication, 13) genetic diversity, 14) germplasm collection and access. It also provides a short synopsis of the major societies engaged in ethnobiological research, their mission, and publications.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014
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