Program and Speakers


Click here for a pdf version of the entire program for SPNHC 2011




 Click here for a pdf version of the technical program 


Keynote Speaker


Dr. Craig Moritz, Director, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley


Craig Moritz is a long-time leader in the study of molecular evolution and molecular systematics. His studies include work on beetles, birds, bats, nematodes, and mollusks but have concentrated on reptiles and amphibians. He has been Professor of Integrative Biology and Director of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the University of California at Berkeley since 2001, and at various times, Chair of the Berkeley Natural History Museums. He currently serves as President of the Society for the Study of Evolution. Dr. Moritz was elected a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences in 2002, and joined the Board of the Academy in 2007.



Plenary Session


A Panel on Federal Science Policy and Natural Science Collections 

In recent years, various scientific organizations have worked aggressively to raise the profile of natural science collections in federal science policy circles.  These efforts have begun to yield results, such as new initiatives from the National Science Foundation and White House budget directives to federal agencies.  This session will include presentations and audience/panel discussion.  This program is an excellent opportunity to learn about the status of federal policy initiatives and how individuals can help press forward science policy that represents the needs and interests of the natural science collections community.





William Brown, President

Natural Science Collections Alliance


Bill Brown is President of the Natural Science Collections Alliance. He most recently served as President and CEO of the Woods Hole Research Center, an independent, nonprofit institute focused on environmental science, education, and public policy.  Previously, he held the position of President and CEO of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, the nation’s oldest natural history museum.  He has served as President and CEO of the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii, and Science Advisor to Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt during the Clinton Administration. 


Dr. Brown is a member of several honorary societies and the District of Columbia Bar.  He is a member of the Division of Earth and Life Studies advisory committee of the National Academies.  He is Chairman of the Global Heritage Fund, a director of the Wistar Institute, and a trustee of the Academy of Natural Sciences.  He is a former Chairman of the Ocean Conservancy, and a former director of various boards, including the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, Environmental Law Institute, U.S. Environmental Training Institute, and the U.S. Committee for the United Nations Environment Programme.



Robert Guralnick, Curator and Professor

University of Colorado Museum of Natural History


Rob Guralnick is curator of invertebrate zoology at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History and Associate Professor in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department.  Doctor Guralnick is a biodiversity scientist whose research focuses on what causes spatiotemporal changes in genetic and species diversity. Because so much of his work uses primary species and population occurrence data (when and where species and populations occur) available from natural history collections, he is very involved in ecological and biodiversity informatics initiatives to increase the quality, availability and utility of such datasets at the global scale.

Doctor Guralnick is currently the Steering Committee Chair for the national VertNet project, is on the Board of Directors for national and international biodiversity conservation and information sharing foundations, is a current Co-Chair of the yearly iEvoBio conference, and a recent member of a President's Council of Advisors for Science and Technology working group on biodiveristy perservation and ecosystem services.  He has strongly advocated the importance of community building for natural history collections and a broad and synthetic approach to preserving both biodiversity and data related to the environment.  


Michael A. Mares, Past-President, Natural Science Collections Alliance

Former Director, Research Curator, and Professor

Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History University of Oklahoma


Michael Mares is currently research curator of mammals and Viersen Presidential Professor of Zoology, after serving from 1983 to 2003 as director of the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History at the University of Oklahoma. He has held academic appointments at various universities in the U.S. and Argentina. Dr. Mares' research extends from desert ecology and conservation biology to zoogeography and ecology, with an emphasis on South American mammals. In addition, he has worked extensively in the field of international museology, and has authored or edited 12 books and published 190 articles.


Dr. Mares was a Fulbright Scholar, a National Chicano Fellow, and a Ford Foundation Minority Fellow. He has held office in more than 25 national and international professional organizations, including the Board of Directors of the Fulbright Commission and the Commission on the Future of the Smithsonian Institution. In 2002, Dr. Mares was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame and was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


Robert Gropp, Director of Public Policy

American Institute of Biological Sciences and Natural Science Collections Alliance


Robert Gropp joined the Public Policy Office at the American Institute of Biological Sciences in 2003, and is now director of public policy. In this capacity, he directs staff, develops policy initiatives, and represents policy issues to lawmakers, federal officials, and the news media. Gropp writes regularly about science policy, and serves as editor of the Washington Watch column for the journal, BioScience, the AIBS Public Policy Report, and the NSC Alliance Washington Report. With Dr. Holly Menninger, Gropp coauthored the publication, Communicating Science: A Primer for Working with the Media. Additionally, he co-chairs two national science policy coalitions - the USGS Coalition and the Biological-Ecological Sciences Coalition - which advocate for increased funding for scientific research.


Prior to joining AIBS, Gropp was a Presidential Management Intern and a congressional science policy fellow. In these capacities, he has worked in policy offices for both executive branch and congressional offices. After leaving Capitol Hill, Gropp was briefly a visiting assistant professor of environmental science at Randolph-Macon College in Virginia, and provided policy technical assistance to state officials through a federally funded public health grant program.


Gropp earned his BA in biology from the University of California at Santa Cruz and his Ph.D. in botany from the University of Oklahoma.






Click here for a pdf version of the entire program for SPNHC 2011


Click here for a pdf version of the detailed technical program.

Georeferencing - May 21 & 22

This is a pre-conference workshop.  The workshop dates will be May 21-22, 2011, at the GIS Lab at the University of California, Berkeley.


Back by popular demand and expanded from last year, the second annual SPNHC Georeferencing Workshop will cover tools and techniques to correctly interpret textual descriptions of places into spatial descriptions that can be used in mapping and analyses. Participants will learn the fundamentals of georeferencing best practices in a combination of lectures and hands on exercises, including paper maps, the MaNIS Georeferencing Calculator, online exercises, GEOLocate and BioGeomancer.


Trainers have extensive experience in international workshops on this subject around the world. Participants are expected to arrive having already reviewed prerequisite readings (TBA) and have a firm idea of how they intend to apply the skills gained. Computing facilities will be provided, though participants are also encouraged to bring their own laptops with they wish.


The number of participants is limited to 30 for this two-day workshop and attendees must commit to attending both days.  Cost:  $75.


Poisons - Saturday, May 28

There are many toxins found in natural history collections.  Some of these are inherent to the specimens themselves, and others have been added, such as pesticides and preservatives.


This workshop will consist of two parts.  The morning will be devoted to brief presentations on the nature of various toxic compounds found in collections, including formalin, arsenic, and mercury.  Personal protection for staff and visitors will be discussed, as well as various government and institutional regulations covering these toxins.


The afternoon session will include presentations on case studies.  These will involve natural and treated specimens, and archaeological and ethnographic objects. 


Presentors will be conservators and collection professionals from a variety of museums and universities. 


Activities may include hands-on demonstrations of testing materials and procedures, and treatment and handling protocols.  All text and handouts will also be provided.  Cost:  $50.



Imaging - Saturday, May 28

Research departments at California Academy of Sciences are making and storing images of their collections, from micro to macro, scanned flat images to auto-montaged images of three-dimensional specimens, even x-rays. In this workshop, you will see what techniques work well for the different collections, how the images are stored (more collections!) and how they are used (from web presentation to distribution data).


Presenters from Anthropology, Botany, Entomology, Herpetology, Ichthyology, Library, and Visualization will address methods such as flat-bed scanning, wide angle and macro-lens high-resolution photos, scanning electron microscopy, x-ray imaging, and others. Some imaging projects augment collections management, others support ongoing research, some are geared toward internet access, or link field notes to specimens, and some incorporate the data into relational information.


In the afternoon, you will have an opportunity to investigate several of our imaging stations.  Cost:  $50.




SPNHC 2011 DemoCamp: Call for Demonstrations


Click here for the pdf announcement


Submissions of proposals are solicited for DemoCamp session presentations at the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC) conference in San Francisco, May 23-28, 2011. DemoCamp provides a venue for creators to promote their technological solutions to advance the field of museum curation with broad applications for biology and biodiversity informatics.


Computer demonstrations are welcomed in any technologies relevant to natural history scientists, collections managers, or biodiversity information managers. Technologies demonstrated may include, among other things, collections/ transaction management software, georeferencing web-based applications, and programs for analysis of data/ images. DemoCamp presentations should feature some of the latest developments in currently available products/ software/ applications as well as ongoing research projects and prototypes.


Live demonstrations of these technologies will raise awareness of new (and improved) tools available for data acquisition, documentation, and synthesis. Demonstrations will also provide a venue for idea exchange and feedback from potential users. Demonstration abstracts will appear in the conference proceedings.



The typical, strictly-timed format of a DemoCamp gives each presenter 15 minutes for a presentation plus 5 minutes for questions. No PowerPoints or other “canned” presentations are allowed. Only live demonstrations of functional software or applications may be presented. Demonstrators must provide their own laptops with all necessary software installed. A projector and internet connection will be provided.



Demonstration proposals (abstracts) must be submitted by Friday, March 18, 2011. Abstracts should be prepared according to the guidelines defined on the conference website ( and must be submitted electronically to Jean DeMouthe at and to the session organizer, Amanda Neill, at   


As with all technical abstracts, the presentor must be a registered attendee at this meeting.


The submissions will undergo peer review. At least one author should register and attend the conference.


The abstract should emphasize the purpose of the technology and the intended audience or users of the technology. What are the major components of the product? What is novel about the solution you present? Compare your technology with similar products if such exist. Is your product currently available to prospective users or still under development? Is your product proprietary or open source? Is it software or a web-based application?


Accepted Abstracts

All submissions will be acknowledged within a few days. Proposals will be reviewed for relevance, innovation, technical quality, and greatest predicted appeal to the SPNHC audience. Demonstrations will be selected by the DemoCamp organizing committee. Accepted abstracts will be required to provide a description of technical details (licensing, platforms supported, etc.) in a standard factsheet that will be distributed to all attendees.


Further details on the date and time of the demonstration session(s) will be determined and provided at a later date. Please send any inquiries to the session organizer at


Important Dates


• March 18, 2011 Abstract & factsheet submissions due

• March 25, 2011 Notification of acceptance/rejection

• April 1, 2011 Abstracts for general program due**

• May 23-28, 2011 SPNHC & NSCA joint conference




Amanda K. Neill, Director of the Herbarium, Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Fort Worth TX USA


**Abstracts not accepted for DemoCamp may be submitted via the SPNHC web site to be included in the general program. These abstracts will undergo the same review process as other submissions for the general program.



Download the Program at a Glance here! 

2011 SPNHC Abstract Submission Instructions

Click here to download this form. 




2011 SPNHC Abstract Submission Instructions


Please submit abstracts before April 1, 2011 as an email attachment to: Jean DeMouthe at   If submitting more than one abstract, please send each as a separate email.  Also, please be sure to check the box on the registration form if you are submitting an abstract.


Oral presentations will be allotted 15 to 20 minutes each, depending on the number of abstracts submitted and the time available. Please plan your talk to last not more than 15 minutes.  Posters must fit into a space 65 inches high and 46 inches wide.


Please bring your oral presentation in Microsoft Office Powerpoint to the meeting on CD, DVD, or jump drive, and submit it to the AV office the day before your scheduled talk.  Participants will not be allowed to use their own computers for presentations with the exception of those attendees who are participating in Demo Camp.  Click here for instructions for Demo Camp submissions: 


For each abstract, please follow these guidelines:

1. Title should be in boldface.  Do not capitalize each word unless they are proper nouns, and do not use CAPS or small caps.

  • 2. Include institutional affiliations, with full address, for each author with a superscript number after each author’s name.  If all authors are   
  •      from the same institution, this is not necessary.
  • 3. Underline the name of the presenting author.  This is not necessary for posters.
  • 4. DO NOT include the word ‘and’ before the last author.
  • 5. The abstract should summarize the research questions, methods, findings, and implications discussed in the presentation.
  • 6. The abstract must not exceed 300 words.
  • 7. Italicize all scientific names, do not underline them.



Example for listing title and authors:


Labeling & measuring slime:  New methods & technology


Downstream, J.1, Bush, G.W.2


1 California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118

2 University of Texas, 1 University Station, Austin, TX 78712



The Local Organizing Committee reserves the right to refuse any abstract based on time availability, space, or relevance. 

SPNHC 2011 Sponsors























Contact Information for SPNHC 2011

Debra Trock

Chair of the Local Organizing Committee


Rebecca Peters



Rebecca Morin



Jean Demouthe



Dave Catania

Field Trips


Moe Flannery



Charlotte Pfeiffer

General Information, Web Pages