Museum specimens play an increasingly important role in predicting the outcomes and revealing the consequences of anthropogenically driven disruption of the biosphere. As ecological communities respond to ongoing environmental change, host-parasite interactions are also altered. This shifting landscape of host-parasite associations creates opportunities for colonization of different hosts and emergence of new pathogens, with implications for wildlife conservation and management, public health, and other societal concerns. Integrated archives that document and preserve mammal specimens along with their communities of associated parasites and ancillary data provide a powerful resource for investigating, anticipating, and mitigating the epidemiological, ecological, and evolutionary impacts of environmental perturbation. Mammalogists who collect and archive mammal specimens have a unique opportunity to expand the scope and impact of their field work by collecting the parasites that are associated with their study organisms. We encourage mammalogists to embrace an integrated and holistic sampling paradigm and advocate for this to become standard practice for museum-based collecting. To this end, we provide a detailed, field-tested protocol to give mammalogists the tools to collect and preserve host and parasite materials that are of high quality and suitable for a range of potential downstream analyses (e.g., genetic, morphological). Finally, we also encourage increased global cooperation across taxonomic disciplines to build an integrated series of baselines and snapshots of the changing biosphere.
- Emerging infectious disease
- Field methods
- Integrated collections
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Nature and Landscape Conservation