Four-day Fluid Preservation course to be held at the National Oceanography Centre (University of Southampton, UK) from 18th to 21st of July 2022.

Cost: £300.
Host: Simon Moore MIScT, FLS, RScI, ACR, Conservator of Natural Sciences.
Location: National Oceanography Centre, Waterfront Campus, University of Southampton, European Way, Southampton SO14 3ZH, UK.
Nearby hotels:

Grant-aid can be sought from your local regional museums service for up to £500. For south-east UK:

Schedule (the timings are only suggested):

Day 1. 10.00 start. Introduction: including local logistics, fire-exits, risks, allergies, house H&S rules, self introductions.
Power-point 1: overview of course technology and histological effects of fluid preservation.
Questions and tea-break, discussion about the importance of fluid collections, fixation versus pseudo-fixation, fixation versus preservation.
Glass cutting, grinding, drilling (demonstration & practical): necessary for making lids and backing plates.
Rehydration of dried-out specimens started (d & p)
Relevance of injecting fresh material with fixative
13.00 - 14.00. Lunch (not provided – either bring your own or use NOC canteen. NB. The institute is inside Dock Gate 4, a 10-minute walk from shops/cafés, so ensure you have what you need with you).
Preparation of jars (checking, grinding out blemishes – d & p)
Dehydration/ Hydration ladders start (d & p)
Thread mounting of specimens (d & p).
Celloidin mounting of snails to specimens and labels (d & p)
- 17.00 Check rehydrating specimens and fix + inject if they are ready, else leave (unheated) overnight (d & p).

Day 2. Power-point 2: narcotisation, historical sealants, pelagic (jellyfish) mounts, botanical preservatives
09.00 start. Check of previous day’s work, analyse and correct problems. Move specimens in ladders (d & p)
Changing fluids in sealed jars (d & p).
How to deal with air bubbles, especially those trapped inside rehydrated specimens using a small portable vacuum pump: (d & p)
Making glass needles and their use in specimen repair (d & p)
Celloidin repair of specimens in IMS (or day 3: d & p)
Releasing vacuum in Visijars (talk if none available)
Thread mounting of specimens (continuation) including jellyfish on acetate discs (d & p).
13.00 – 14.00 Lunch (as before).
Move specimens in ladders (d & p)
Compounding of sealant/s (gelatine, Acrifix, bitumen)
Unsealing jars containing specimens requiring treatment (d & p)
Other types of sealants including historical sealants (d only)
- 17.00 Sealing of jars that are ready (d & p)

Day 3. Power-point 3: preservatives, lipids, copper wire staining
09.00 start. Checking of previous day’s seals (d & p).
Assessing problems: evaporation and dilution
Dealing with lipids and other contaminants including fungal growth
Copper salts staining specimens, from being mounted on copper wire.
Detecting preserving fluids and auto-dilution problems: use of map pins and Dries van Dam’s ‘pills’ - Making your own specific gravity detector (d & p)
Which preservatives should you use? (On hand-outs)
Problems of mixing fluids (exothermic due to binary azeotropy and leading to air bubble formation).
Buffering and pH levels (d & p).
13.00 - 14.00. Lunch.
Stretching polypropylene rod (d & p)
– 17.00 Topping up sealed jars, ‘corking’ and sealing. Checking for problems and why they may have occurred.

Day 4. Power-point 4: Transparencies, labels and label inks, tubes in jars (invert or not?) Jar types and problems, storage areas, plastination – ethics.
09.00 start. Check of nearly-finished jars, are they leaking? If so, why, what has caused this – understanding how and why problems can occur and why deadlines can be difficult to meet! (d & p).
Dealing with transparencies – clearing fluids including glycerol, propylene glycol, methyl benzoate and turpentine and problems associated with these.
Sending fluid-preserved specimens by post or courier, worldwide policies changing year to year. Links to answers nh-coll website:
How to store such collections so that they need minimum monitoring and maintenance.
Labels and their problems, which paper/s to use. Internal or external labels?
13.00 - 14.00. Lunch.
Finishing of practical work and projects, then16.00 – Packing up & Depart

Please note that due to dietary complications these days,lunches are not provided and you will have to buy these yourself or bring your own. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided.
Please advise Simon of any personal allergies that you may have and also request a schedule if you require one in advance.
A certificate of successful attendance will be issued following the course.
Full handouts (including risk assessments) are included in the cost but not accommodation.

If you wish to attend the course/s please email Simon Moore for more details and the registration form: