Field and Lab Equipment for Paleontology Students at The Burke M
|Submitted||January 24, 2011|
|Department||Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture|
|Funding Status||Partially Funded|
This proposal is being written for the Individual and Small Group Technology funding category provided by the Student Technology Fee Committee.
Students who work in the Paleontology Division of the Burke Museum request funds to purchase upgraded desktop and laptop computers with accompanying software, and equipment for field and lab work needed for both class work and research. Both undergraduate and graduate research projects in the Paleontology Division are field-based and require the collection, storage and manipulation of large volumes of data that the present systems in the Burke cannot accommodate. Field-based paleontological research is an individual or small group endeavor requiring equipment for use in the field (laptop, GPS, compasses, etc.) and for manipulating the data in the lab.
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The Burke Museum is one of the leading research faculties on the UW campus, with Archaeology, Ethnology, Biology, Herbarium and Paleontology divisions housing over 5 million specimens and artifacts. Undergraduates and graduate students from many different departments work on research projects based in the collections. The Burke is the state designated repository for natural history and cultural materials, and houses the largest collection of any equivalent museum in the Pacific Northwest. This wealth of material offers all students the unique opportunity to have experiential learning opportunities and involvement in group or independent basic research projects. UW is the premier research institution in the state and the Burke Museum should provide students with the best tools with which to work. In the Paleontology Division, UW students are involved in a diverse array of projects that include biological, geological and paleontological topics. Because of the inherent multidisciplinary nature of paleontology, students studying these topics come from several departments and colleges at UW including Biology, Earth Sciences, the School of Forest Resources, Oceanography, Museum Studies, the Dental School, and from environmental programs from UW Tacoma and Bothell campuses. Although the paleontology students are separated on paper, our research interests, field projects and technological needs are much the same and the Burke Museum serves as a hub for all of these activities.
Many of the projects conducted in the Paleontology Division have been presented at the UW Undergraduate Research Symposium, regional and national academic scientific meetings, published in peer-review journals, and have formed the basis of grant proposals to fund further research and collecting. All divisional facilities are available for use by all interested UW students as well as visiting research students and faculty from other institutions. In addition, the Division has an intern program for students interested in working in museums, in informal and formal education, as well as work-study students engaged in curation and support of the research projects.
The Paleontology Division is growing rapidly with two recently hired curators, for Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleobotany, both faculty in the Biology Department. The third curator is faculty in Earth and Space Sciences and is in charge of the invertebrate paleontology, micropaleontology and minerals collections. These collections were first accumulated 125 years ago and donated to the University of Washington in the very early part of the last century. The Museum is like a library of natural history specimens that are used now, and available for us over the next century.
With the new curators, the number of students working here has gone from 3 or 4 to around 30 at this time. The equipment in the labs, offices and collection space is inadequate for the volume of use and much of it is very outdated. All the items requested in this proposal will be housed within the museum and not in the students\' home departments, as they are working with specimens held here that need to stay in the building for security. A recent FEMA-funded grant for earthquake safety of the paleontology collections and their collections space allowed the museum to renovate a large space, combining all the collections in one room with compactors, which then provided a greatly expanded area for students to study the fossils. This project is in the last weeks of completion but the funds did not provide for any technology or equipment other than storage cases and shelving. As students, we now need the technology to support our studies.
Benefits to Students and the University
By supplying all students with up-to-date technology and the means to complete their research, we are ensuring their overall success during their careers here at the University of Washington and beyond. With the facilities and equipment that are currently available, collection and processing of data from the field and in the labs is archaic and inefficient at best. The students need to, and should have, the best equipment at their disposal so they do not have to depend on other institutions or other departments to supply them with the technology that they require. The Burke Museum has a unique part to play in each student’s research, potentially being a top research facility for them to work in. It is also a place where students in paleontology from all departments and institutions have the chance to come together to interact, exchange ideas and network.
The items requested for field study and fossil collecting include the Trimble GPS units, Nikon digital cameras, Brunton compasses and Jacob staff with compass attachment and laptop computers. These are all used for obtaining the most precise geographic measurements of each fossil locality and detailed high-resolution stratigraphic data from the rock sections. Paleontology students are currently involved in field-based research projects across the western and southern USA, Australia and New Zealand, Antarctica, Argentina and Peru, and countries in Africa. All these items are necessary to build records for both the accompanying research projects and for maintaining the highest quality museum records. They will be used by most of the students currently studying paleontology and their field assistants who are generally undergraduates from the various departments involved. At this time a number of our graduate students are on the field in Antarctica and cannot write letters of support.
Having access to software packages like Matlab and JMP that are no longer available in all departments due to budget cuts, ensures that the students in the paleontological division will not need to buy their own versions of the software or to go and request access for the use of other departments\' computer labs. MatLab and JMP will be used for data analysis and graph and image creation for posters, presentations and publications. The scanner will be used to directly scan flat specimens, particularly leaf, flower and seed fossils. In addition this scanner can be used with the technology requested in our other proposal in the Scientific and Fabrication category for plotting maps. Thus, there will always be a place on campus where paleontology students will have access to these technologies. Having new computers that are capable of running these programs and others, makes it easier for the students to get all of their work completed in one area therefore making the most efficient use of their time, which will ultimately help in the producing of higher quality research and results.
With the equipment and software in this proposal, the Burke will be a research facility capable of attracting top quality potential students to UW. Success of the project will be measured by the increase in high-quality scientific presentations and publications, and the increasing number of high-caliber students in the Paleontological Division.
\"I would like to express my enthusiastic support for the proposal to the Student Technology Fee Committee for funds to upgrade the technological resources of the Geology Division, Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture.
The growth of the student research program in the Geology Division is constrained by the limitations of the division\'s current computer resources. There are presently more than 30 students including graduate students (both MS and PhD) and undergraduate students conducting independent research projects. The students are from the Biology Department, the Earth and Space Sciences Department, the Museology program, the School of Dentistry, the School of Forest Resources, the School of Oceanography, and the Environmental Studies Department at UW Tacoma. There are three available workstations and there is often some difficulty in finding sufficient computer time. These work stations are also showing signs of their age and do not meet current standards of capability.
This proposal is the product of a collaboration of the many students working in the division and I am confident that all of their needs (both present and projected) would be met. Funding this proposal will help the students to pursue their research projects, to work toward fulfillment of the requirements for their respective degrees, and to further their professional development.
Geology Collections Manager
Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
\"As the Paleontology Division of the Burke Museum has seen a renaissance in the last few years, we have attracted a lot of new students. However, our technological underpinnings are extremely limited, old, and inadequate for the latest research methods utilized by our students. We currently have 3 desktops and a single scanner for over 30 students who work with our fossil collections. They really need more units that are greatly upgraded to be able to run the requested software for manipulating large volumes of data, and for creating digital 3D imaging of fossils. In addition almost all these students (graduate undergraduate and post-docs) have field-based research projects and we have no field technology. Currently we have to find the items and borrow them from other departments and even other universities. Because of the high quality of our students they deserve high quality facilities for their education.\"
Dr. Elizabeth Nesbitt
Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology & Micropaleontology
\"In recent years, the paleobiology program at the UW has expanded almost exponentially, with the addition of three new faculty and numerous new students, graduate students, and post docs. These students come from both the Earth and Space Sciences and Biology Departments, but have in common that their work make abundant use of the Paleontology collections in the Burke Museum. Unfortunately, the Burke Museum is not currently set up to provide the necessary infrastructure for these students and graduate students. First, the computational capability of the Paleontology Division collections is extremely limited and outdated. There are only three computers (and a single scanner) available for over 30 students, and these are not equipped with the software (e.g., MatLab) that is necessary to handle the large amounts of data and complex analyses that these students need to produce publication level work. Second, field equipment is limited to a few rock hammers and chisels, and other items have to be scrounged from departments or individual labs. Collecting is an integral part of paleontology, and collecting is what will continue to build the Paleontology collections at the Burke; thus, the lack of field technology significantly slows the development of a strong field program associated with the Burke Museum. Overall, the addition of new computers and field equipment will enhance the education of our students substantially, allowing us to graduate paleobiologists with a wide and deep experience in fieldwork, museum work, and paleontological analysis. Such a boost to the paleobiology program will allow it—and our students—to compete nationally and internationally.\"
Dr. Caroline Strömberg
Estella B. Leopold Assistant Professor
Curator of Paleobotany
\"As the manager of computing services for the Burke Museum, I cannot iterate enough the importance and significant value this proposal holds for the Geology undergraduates and graduate students. These students comprise three primary disciplines: Vertebrate Paleontology, Paleobotany and Invertebrate & Micropaleontology. The collections, research materials, and their associated documentation developed within all the disciplines greatly aid in the understanding of natural history used in achieving a greater educational experience and development of career skills unavailable within the greater Puget Sound region.
These disciplines fill unique and critical functions difficult to find elsewhere. Mechanisms employed to complete paleontological research and develop new research avenues are not commonly available for students given the complexity of tools and their required interaction. The funding of the proposal will provide the much-needed ability to carry out these complex research projects and provide a foundation by which they will gain professional-level experience. Working along-side and collaborating with local, national, and international entities on new methods development is an integral part of these student educational and research development needs.
Providing the students with up-to-date equipment will allow them to match the pace of innovation. This proposal is a direct reflection of the ambitious drive of both the faculty and student consortiums. By providing current technology and increasing education and research capacity, these disciplines will continue to attract the interest of future students.\"
Senior Computer Specialist
Upon approval from the committee of our proposal on July 1st, 2011, all haste will be made to implement all new technology such that the students will have access to the equipment as soon as possible. This will be done by having our Senior Computer Specialist order all computer equipment and the Divisional Collections Manager order the field equipment that has been approved. Space in the Paleontological Division has recently been greatly augmented from a major, FEMA-funded renovation and there is room there and in other lab and office spaces for all the requested items.
We will submit our annual report to your committee on, or before, July 31st, 2012.
Resources Provided by Department
At present the Paleontology Division of the Burke Museum has no available funding for technology resources and upgrades. The money available to us through the Student Technology Fund is currently our only source. At present we have only 3 desktop computers for student use; these are connected to the divisional printers and a single scanner. There is no dedicated field equipment except rock hammers and burlap bags.
The available technological equipment is sorely out of date and/or borrowed from other departments. All is in dire need of updating. We are asking for newer PC computers to replace those that are no longer working or are out of warranty, and sufficient for the greatly increased numbers of students working here.
The management of all new and updated computer equipment will be performed by the museum\'s full time Senior Computer Specialist, James Doike Foreman, and all items used for fieldwork will be maintained by the full-time Divisional Collections Manager, Ron Eng.
Access Restrictions (if any)
These and all resources at the Burke Museum are available to all undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students from UW Seattle, Bothell and Tacoma campuses. There are limitations with how the students access the facility since the Burke is guarded by a security system 24/7 for the protection of all collection and exhibit materials. Students and others merely need to be authorized and issued a pass to access the basement of the museum where paleontology is housed. All the resources are then available during daily museum hours of 8 am-5 pm, or by request in evenings and on weekends.
The three paleontology curators/faculty and the divisional collections manager are in charge of access to the labs, training and supervising student work. All equipment supported by this proposal will as well be advertised on our campus wide Paleontology website where any student will be able to view what technologies are available. The Burke Museum is conveniently located on campus and is committed to the furthering of any and all applicable student oriented research and will work with all requests for technology usage to ensure that every need is fulfilled.
\"I am writing on behalf of the University of Washington Burke Museum paleontology graduate students. As a group we have requested a number of items critical to completion of our research. Among these are new computers and monitors for the graduate student office in the Burke Museum, fieldwork laptops, computer programs, high-precision GPS units, compasses, cameras, and a scanner. I would like to personally request that these funds be granted, as my research depends on these items.
As a vertebrate paleontologist, I study mammal evolution, in particular the evolution of mammals just before and just after the extinction of the dinosaurs. This work takes me to eastern Montana every summer, where we brave the hot days and extreme weather to collect tiny mammal fossils (most smaller than a fingernail). When we find the fossils, we work hard to collect the necessary contextual geological data, which requires Brunton compasses, Trimble GeoXH high-precision GPS units, Jacob Staffs, shovels, and much elbow grease! All these materials are critical to geological data collection, as fossils without this information are scientifically useless.
Laptops in the field are currently a rarity and as a result we are forced to use deteriorating maps and to pause our analytical and interpretive research activities while we collect the fossils. Having computers to access our research databases (containing our site data, landowner information, etc.) would streamline our activities in the field and improve our productivity.
We dig hundreds of holes and bag thousands of pounds of sediment to bring back to the lab where we spend the school year analyzing our data with microscopes, cameras, desktops and specialized software. I currently do not have a camera to use for research purposes and this has been difficult to manage. I am fortunate to own a laptop computer, though my department (Biology) has recently reduced the number of software licenses available, and in particular, the loss of JMP has been a hardship for my statistical analyses.
Please consider our request. We appreciate very much the availability of these funds and value the service to graduate student education you provide.\"
PhD Candidate, Paleontology
UW Burke Museum
\"As a graduate student using the paleontology collections at the Burke Museum, I fully support the proposal to improve the technological equipment at the museum. Indeed, my research could benefit greatly from the presence of additional computers and laptops to be used in the collections. Additionally, the field equipment (e.g., Trimbel GPS unit, compass) is critical to many of us with a strong field component to our work. Finally, as a paleoecologist, I could also benefit from the purchase of statistical softwares such as JMP. These softwares are important to performing analyses of large datasets of paleontological data, some of which include specimens from the Burke. All of those improvements would allow me, and many others using the collections, to perform, present, and publish better research, faster, showcasing our collections at the Burke Museum.\"
\"As a third-year PhD student studying paleobiology at Department of Biology I rely on the technology provided through the department including phylogenetic and statistical software installed in the computer lab. My project relies how to process the data collected from modern mammals, which requires a large amount effort to statistically analyze the data matrix. Unfortunately, the Department of Biology has discontinued to provide the statistical software JMP 9.0, which makes me difficult to test my hypothesis for my dissertation. Therefore, instead it is absolutely important to provide statistical software as a high quality technology at Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture to support diverse students such as me to conduct their researches for better understanding the natural history and the culture.
Please support the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture with the approval of proposal for student technology fee. The high quality researches will be brought by the high quality technology.\"
Department of Biology
Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
\"I am a third-year PhD student in the Biology Department studying paleobotany. I fully support the above proposal as my dissertation project requires the use of both the field equipment and computing capabilities proposed above. I have been long been looking on campus for a place to use JMP and the Adobe suite is an absolute requirement for my project which involves using photoshop to make cell measurements. I will use the scanner and much of the field equipment requested here. Notably, the Trimble differential GPS units scoped here are critical for our field work in southern Argentina where satellite data are unreliable.
Department of Biology
\"As an undergraduate student in the UW Biology Department studying paleobotany/paleoecology, my work has required a highly interdisciplinary approach, integrating both lab and fieldwork pertaining to biology, ecology, and geology. Unlike students that can do nearly most if not all of their research in a laboratory, paleontological and modern plant ecology work require extensive fieldwork, rigorous preparation, storage/study facilities, and a vast array of both technical and non-technical equipment for both the field and university. The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture is in the unique position to facilitate students pursuing research from a vast array of departments. This museum has served as the base of operations for my studies of the most ancient fossil flora on the west coast of North America and my studies on climatic influences on fern and clubmoss leaf morphology across an elevation transect on Mount Rainier. For my studies of climatic influences on fern and clubmoss leaf morphology I rely on using an 11x17 flatbed scanner to scan hundreds of fern fronds and clubmoss leaves so that I can conduct measures pertaining to leaf morphology digitally.
Please support the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture with the approval of these grant proposals. The quality of the research projects conducted by undergraduate students such as myself is dependent on the availability and quality of equipment available through the Burke Museum.
Thanks so much,\"
Strömberg Paleobotany Lab
Department of Biology
\"As a second year graduate student using the facilities at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture I fully support the Tech Fee Proposal. My paleontological field research will benefit from the acquisition of field equipment such as a high accuracy hand held GPS unit (e.g., Trimble), Brunton compass, and a Jacob Staff and field-use digital camera. This equipment will aid me in gleaning stratigraphic and geographic data necessary for interpreting paleoecological and evolutionary trends in successive vertebrate paleocommunities.\"
Department of Biology
\"As an undergrad attending the University of Washington, new equipment is essential to my work in research. Giving me effective and efficient tools will allow me to contribute to humanity’s broader knowledge as a whole. By granting the money for the Burke museum I will work more efficiently by having access to technology I would not have otherwise.
This new equipment will allow for more efficient processing techniques and shorter handling times of data so that research can be presented in a more timely matter and be available so others can use it for their own experiments. Even though all this technology will help out the departments associated with the Burke Museum, I specifically will make ample use of the 11x17 Flatbed Scanner and the GPS units. I would have access to a facility where I can scan and not worry about having to go through the architecture department to find an adequate work station. Most students would not have a way to access scanners any other way, especially if they have not established contacts in departments with the equipment. The GPS, compass and Jacob staff would allow me to make exact measurements instead of manually trying to figure out where I am both geographically and stratigraphically. Time spent recording in the field writing out mapped points would handily be spent collecting more specimens. I could have a higher output of statistics and result!
By granting funding for new technological equipment to the Paleontology Division of the Burke, higher efficiency and higher accuracy will be available for data. I will be able to get my research done more quickly and with higher accuracy.
Undergrad Biology Department
\"The need for updated field and lab equipment is great at The Burke Museum for student usage. There’s currently only three out of date desktop machines and no GPS or field laptops to support the growing number of graduate and undergraduate students associated with the Paleontological Division at the Burke. Though I am only a first year Grad Student I am already feeling the press on my research for more up to date equipment for efficiency and time saving reasons. The less time I spend trying to get a computer to effectively work the more time I have for actually analysis of my specimens. Please consider the above proposal for updated computers and field equipment for The Burke Museum; your support will greatly ensure the overall success of every student who works in the museum.
Paleo Graduate Student
Earth and Space Sciences
\"The Burke Museum functions as an educational establishment as well as research facility. The above proposal indicates items that are essential to the growth of the paleontology department. I am a senior in the Environmental Studies program, at the University of Washington’s Tacoma Campus. Currently, I am participating in an internship examining microfauna of the Puget Sound at the Burke Museum. Computers are essential to this project for data collection and assortment; therefore, I would like to express my endorsement of the proposal above. Analysis of the abundance and environmental conditions of these microscopic organisms may be instrumental in determining effects of pollution, specific to location, over period of several years. The value of the proposed additional equipment will be immense for this project and many others at the Burke Museum.\"
Environmental Studies Department
University of Washington, Tacoma
\"As a graduate student studying paleontology and paleoecology, I fully support the proposal for new software, computers and field equipment. Having software such as JMP would greatly benefit me and others at the Burke Museum, by having the opportunity to explore large amounts of specimen data. Also, like other paleontologists, a large portion of my research is conducted in the field, and it is essential to have up to date and reliable equipment such as GPS units and Brunton compasses. I am in support of this proposal and would benefit greatly from the suggested items.
Thank you for your time,\"
Adelina E. Prentice
Earth and Space Sciences
Convertible Mini Tower, Core i7-860 2.93 GHz, 4GB DDR3 RAM, 500GB 7200 HDD, ATI Radeon HD 4550, Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit, No Monitor, DVD RW, USB Keyboard, Optical Mouse, 3 YR NBD Onsite WarrantyJustification
At The Burke Museum we are trying to set up a state of the art research lab for use by Paleontology Division students for their research. We intend to use software packages that require high quality computers to run them and therefore need top of the line specifications built into these units. These computers are also intended to replace older Dell units that are out of warranty and out of date in The Burke Museum.
8GB Kit (4GBx2), 240-pin DIMM, DDR3 PC3-10600 memory module.Justification
These will be used to upgrade the HP C 8100 Elite CMT computers that are being asked for on this proposal. Having more ram will allow us to run programs at faster speeds and to handle more tasks optimizing efficiency and time usage of the workstations.
Widescreen, 22 in LCD Monitor, 1000:1 contrast ratio, 1680 x 1050 max resolution, 5 ms response time, Pivot (rotation) adjustment, Height adjustment, Tilt adjustment, Swivel adjustment,Justification
Monitor for computer towers that have been asked for in the same proposal.
Adobe Creative Suite software package that contains Photoshop CS5, Illustrator CS5, InDesign CS5, and Acrobat 9 Pro.Justification
As Paleontological students we need to manipulate images and graphs for presentations, posters, and journal publications and also create original pdf files during our graduate career which Adobe is designed to make such tasks easier, optimizing once again efficiency and output.
MATLAB integrates numerical analysis, matrix computation, signal processing, and graphics in an easy-to-use environment where problems and solutions are expressed just as they are written mathematically, without traditional programming. Including the Bioinformatics and Statistics Toolboxes to for further analysis.Justification
Will use Matlab and the additional toolboxes to help create graphics and images for use in publications, presentations and posters and as well use to analyze large data sets for use in our research.
Departmental license with unlimited use licenses for statistical, analytical and computational purposes.Justification
This software will be used to analyze and visualize data for research purposes and with in the creation of posters, presentation and publications.
Large, 11.7x17 scanning area - Automatic document size detection - -ScanSoft® PaperPort® included - ABBYY® FineReader® Sprint Plus OCR included - Optional network card for busy workgroups - Optional 100-page, 23-ppm ADF - 600 x 1200 dpi resolution.Justification
We have need of a scanner to produce high quality images of extant leaf specimens and of geologic and topographic maps of field sites for manipulation. All of which is used in our graduate research.
14 inch LED-backlit HD anti-glare screen, Core i7-620M 2.66 GHz, 4GB DDR3 RAM, 320GB 7200 HDD, NVIDIA NVS 3100 512MB graphics, 2MP Webcam, Vista Home Basic, DVD RW, 90W AC Adapter, Bluetooth, 3 YR Depot Warranty.Justification
Two laptops are needed for field and collections usage by the Paleontological graduate students at The Burke Museum. Having them will allow the students to actively work with collection materials as well as record data in the field gathered from the Trimble units also asked for in this proposal.
High-accuracy GIS/GPS data collection and asset relocation hand held device. Extended 2 year hardware warranty ($450) and 2 anti-glare screen protectors. ($20)Justification
While working in the field one of the most important parts of labeling and describing a fossil or specimen is including accurate locality information. With the decimeter accuracy of this device we as Graduate students can feel assured that we are getting the most accurate information possible when in the field which we can then use in our research, publications and presentations to other researchers who might be interested in our site. Trimble devices also hold a large amount of meta-data as well as locality information meaning that you can effectively use them as a field notebook. This limits then the amount of material one will need to take into the field with them. This of course makes us more efficient in the field and in the end helps to generate greater output from our research.
Compact and lightweight D3100 digital SLR camera that features a high-resolution 14-megapixel CMOS DX sensor, high-quality 3x NIKKOR 18-55mm VR image stabilization zoom lens and intuitive onboard assistance including the learn-as-you grow Guide Mode.Justification
While in the field not only do we need to take locality information but as well pictures recording the work that we are doing. Photos help to provide context and records of our work which allows us to be more organized and thorough in our research. High-Res images are particularly useful for when taking images of fossils ensuring that if a fossil is lost we still have an accurate record of its existence and they are great for research purposes such that we don\'t have to necessarily work with a fossil if it is extremely fragile.
International Pocket Transit which is a type of precision compass.Justification
For use in field situations to take the strike and dip of a bedding plane which are spatial values that apply to stratigraphic layering of rocks. This is also extremely important information to have for fossil localities and when creating stratigraphic sections.
A light-weight (20 oz.), rugged 1.6 meter Jacob\'s Staff, constructed of anodized aluminum, which breaks down into four, 40 cm long sections for easy, compact transport. Used in measuring the height of a stratigraphic layer.Justification
To be used in field situations to measure the rock sections to determine where we are in the geologic history of the region.
An adapter to hold a Brunton pocket transit to use as an inclinometer.Justification
For use in conjunction with a Jacob\'s Staff to determine where one is in the geologic column.
Tax is 10% of subtotal cost.Justification
Shipping is 5% of subtotal cost.Justification
Total requested: $30,262.90
Total funded: $8,797.90
Are you sure you want to discard votes and partials for this proposal?