As a V Factor volunteer leader I am really looking forward to the start of the new V Factor collaboration, this time we will be working with 300 buckets of scallop shells possibly home to millions of bryozoans. I was myself a volunteer last year when we were databasing and digitising the Diatom slide collection and hand written notes of Thomas Comber, many of which were collected during the 1872-76 Challenger expedition.
The bryozoan collaboration involves the use of recycled scallop shells which were previously part of another experiment lasting 3 years called the Heriot Watt Horse mussel restoration project. Now this is what I call recycling, the scallop shells were;
• previously lived in by scallops which were eaten by restaurant customers,
• the empty shells were then submerged in the sea off Orkney for one, two, and three years to study the Horse Mussel,
• they will then be used by us to study Bryozoans and epi-fauna,
• some of the shells will be kept in the museum, but many will be packaged up and sent to schools and colleges throughout the country for them to study and keep. During this time volunteer leaders will be involving museum visitors outside the specimen preparation area (SPA) and exploring what the volunteers are doing and how they are doing it. So whether you want to volunteer, or just visit, why not come along to the SPA on the 5th floor of the Darwin Centre to see us in action.