Basic Preservation

Basic Preservation for DNA Extractions and Limited Morphological Work


A) Each individual specimen should be placed into a separate container. We find that 50 ml tubes or WhirlPaks work well.

B) Be sure to label the outside of the container with your specimen ID number. If you do not already have a system in place, you could use your initials followed by a number (e.g., RT53; or in conjunction with a collection event, e.g., Bali2010-RT53).

C) Appropriately label a small piece of solvent-resistant paper with pencil and place inside each specimen container.

D) Before fixing each specimen, carefully remove all dirt and contaminating macroorganisms if possible.

E) Place specimen into the container and fill with 95% ethanol. Again, it is best to fix a portion of the sponge that includes ectosome and choanosome. If a specimen is very large, these may need to be separate samples. We find that a 1:2 ratio of specimen:ethanol works well. For thick specimens, partially dissecting the specimen can enhance preservation. Note that this concentration will dilute, since the specimen contains water itself.

F) After 12-24 hours, change the fixative, replacing it with fresh 95% ethanol. If pigments continue to be extracted from the specimen, an additional change can improve preservation.

G) Store at 5°C or room temperature (if possible or as soon as possible).


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