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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory » Research » Research Project #425564

Research Project: Parasitology Research and Long-Term Preservation of the U.S. National Parasite Collection

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-32000-105-02-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 28, 2013
End Date: Sep 19, 2018

The objective of this agreement is to enhance the study of parasite diversity, epidemiology, and systematics by relocating the U.S. National Parasite Collection to the Smithsonian Institution (SI), the world’s premier repository for biological specimens and biodiversity information, where it can be properly situated for long-term maintenance and research applications. This agreement provides funds to facilitate moving these materials to a state-of-the-art, climate-controlled facility with proper safeguards for their physical protection, modern databasing, and enhanced research value. A Materials Transfer Research Agreement will define the material and the terms for mutual benefits to be derived by locating research materials at the Smithsonian Institution.

The U.S. National Parasite Collection, consisting of specimens preserved chemically and/or on microscope slides, and of documents establishing the identity and origins of those specimens, will be prepared for transport and transferred to the Smithsonian Museum Support Center, which includes a building designed for storage and study of such material. The NPC also includes frozen speciments, some of which will be transferred permanently to NMNH. The documents reference in this paragraph may also include reprints. ARS and SI will jointly conduct a needs assessment to determine the space needed to accommodate the Collection and the procedure and materials required to safeguard jarred and slide specimens during transfer. The Microsoft Access database developed by ARS will be used by members of the SI’s Information Technology staff to maintain the integrity of its entries as it is imported into the SI’s specimens database. ARS will provide documentation of the contents of the USNPC, the value of its specimens, and the extent of its annual services (loans, new accessions, visits by researchers) to facilitate integration of the Collection with the SI’s holdings. ARS and SI scientists will determine which materials (including unaccessioned specimens) will be included in the transferred material, assure that the location and identity of each specimen is properly maintained during the transfer, and adhere to all applicable laws governing the transport and/or disposal of hazardous materials. Space adequate for housing the physical collection will be established and maintained by the SI in their Museum Support Center in Suitland, Maryland. Certain portions of the Collection may reside, temporarily or longer, proximate to the offices of SI investigators located at the National Museum of Natural History. Research will be conducted with the collection once it is in the new, more secure location, to elucidate the biodiversity and distribution of world parasites, including those important to livestock that may be transmitted between livestock animals or between livestock and wildlife. Important research topics include (but are not limited to) the spread of parasites associated with changing climatic conditions, weather variability, and extremes; risks associated with geographic changes in the distribution of wild animals and livestock that may lead to increased transmission of parasites between hosts; and managing parasitic infestations in wildlife populations and agricultural livestock.