The Heritage of the Snailologist and More Collections from the Biology Center in Linz /Austria

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By B. Wunder (LANDOOE) in: OpenUp! Newsletter No.5, p. 17-18

The Biology Center in Upper Austria contributes zoological and botanical content to the OpenUp! project. It was able to provide approximately 73,000 plant images to the project by the beginning of 2012, followed by several hundreds images of molluscs. By April 2013 the Biology Center was serving 99,580 botanical and 5147 zoological pictures to OpenUp! and Europeana.

Figure 1 Digitalisation
 

Botanical Content
More than 18,000 botanical items are documented by herbarium sheets from the collection of Hans Metlesics (1900 – 1985). He lived in Vienna and worked as a civil servant, but most of his spare time he spent as a botanist. The specimens were collected throughout Europe and were prepared with great accuracy, which makes the collection quite precious and aesthetic. It is one of the most beautiful collections of European plants worldwide, and is quite species-rich. Hans Metlesics was characterized by a deep botanical knowledge, which brought him the appreciation of his European colleagues. Within the herbarium of the Biology Center, one room was adapted to preserve the original cupboards with this collection, as well as the notations of Hans Metlesics.
With many images of herbarium sheets of mosses, the Biology Center also presents a huge part of its determined moss collections. Thousands of herbarium sheets from the “Rainforest of the Austrians” in Costa Rica are also included in the contribution to OpenUp!.

Figure 2 Marsdenia erecta

Zoological Content
By now, several hundreds images of Molluscs have been provided to OpenUp!. In the year 2002, the Biology Center bought the collection of Prof. Fritz Seidl (1936 – 2001). He was born in Braunau am Inn (Upper Austria) and started to work in his parents’ company, which he later took over. Beside his job, Fritz Seidl was engaged in collecting and investigating snails and mussels. He completed his knowledge thoroughly and became one of the most qualified experts (some called him in a friendly and funny way “snailologist”). In 30 years he established one of the largest Austrian private collections of snails and mussels in 650 drawers in four self-made cupboards. Other highlights of the presented content are about 5000 pictures of insect types. For the digitalisation of these objects, a stereo microscope was bought in spring 2012. These high quality images show objects from the collection of Klaus Warncke, one of the most productive investigators of bees during the last decades. The collection, which is prepared for OpenUp! consists of type material of bee species (both male and female individuals, if available). Warncke described 57 new taxa (genus group) and 887 new taxa of the species group between 1966 and 1993.

 

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