Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/28/2013
Publication Date: 6/1/2013
Citation: Handoo, Z.A., Mowery, J.D., Chitwood, D.J. 2013. The history of the USDA Nematode Collection and its database: valuable resources for taxonomic research and identification. In: Proceedings of the 10th International Nematology Symposium of the Russian Society of Nematologists, July 1-5, 2013, Bolshie Vyazemy, Russia. p. 110-113.
Technical Abstract: The United States Department of Agriculture Nematode Collection continues to serve as one of the largest and most comprehensive nematode repositories in the world. Nematology research in the United States began in the late 1800’s, and for many years the collections of the USDA nematologists remained as individual personal collections. Unfortunately, many valuable specimens deteriorated or were misplaced and collection records were lost during these early years. The process of salvaging the surviving specimens of previous nematologists remains an ongoing effort. In 1960, with type specimens of 18 species, A. Morgan Golden officially established the USDA Nematode Collection at Beltsville, Maryland, creating an organized, unified repository of important specimens. The oldest slide in the Collection is of Mononchus longicaudatus, from Australia, that was prepared by Nathan A. Cobb in 1890. Today, the USDA Nematode Collection is comprised of several constituent divisions, which collectively consist of over 45,000 slides and vials. Essential data are recorded for each species and all depositions are entered into a database in which over 39,000 entries are searchable and available to the public at http://nt.ars-grin.gov/nematodes/search.cfm. These resources serve as major assets for taxonomic research and are used for a wide variety of scientific and regulatory purposes including the resolution of billion-dollar issues involving agricultural trade, the continued protection of agriculture against economically dangerous invasive species, and the advancement of nematode taxonomy and scientific research, including nematode identifications. Scientists around the world have regularly incorporated specimens from the Collection into their research and are encouraged to deposit material into the Collection.