The vertebrate collection has several facets. It is the repository of the material collection (specimens, archive documents), and the organisational centre for samples, preparations, conservation, analysis and documentation. At the same time it is the intellectual platform and meeting place for scientists and amateurs, as far as vertebrate research in Upper Austria and beyond is concerned.
The vertebrate collection’s origins date back to the founding of the Oberösterreichisches Landesmuseum as the Musealverein [Museum Association] in 1833. Until the late 19th century the fate of the vertebrate collection was in very unprofessional hands. The New Zealand researcher Andreas Reischek first intervened from 1895 to 1902 as the first specialist organising the vertebrate collection. The vertebrate collection received totally new stimuli under Dr Theodor Kerschner, the first scientifically educated zoologist at the Oberösterreichisches Landesmuseum (1914 to 1945).
He was followed by Dr Franz Spillmann (1946 - 1948), Dr Ämilian Kloiber (1949 - 1971), Dr Gertrude Th. Mayer (1972 - 1979), Dr Gerhard Aubrecht (1980 - 2013) and Mag. Stephan Weigl (from 2014). The collection holdings are currently stored in the Biologiezentrum Linz of the Oberösterreichisches Landesmuseum and in the Lindengasse depot (Linz-Urfahr).
The focus is on the bird collection (Aves). The extensive collections were added to the vertebrate collection under Theodor Kerschner in the first half of the 20th century.
Collection acquisitions are currently primarily through donations and purchases. In the past few years the collection has also been systematically expanded with suitable specimens for the exhibition activities.
Jürgen Plass is currently working as a specialist in the vertebrate collection department. The taxidermy workshop for vertebrates with the taxidermist Roland Rupp is managed by Mag. Stephan Weigl. The custodian of the vertebrate collection is also currently responsible for the fields of natural conservation, databases, the support of the ornithology work group and the management of the Biologiezentrum Linz.
The vertebrate collection encompasses more than 36,000 individual objects of around 1,700 species. Vertebrates include the animal groups of fish (Pisces), amphibians, reptiles, birds (Aves) and mammals. The specimens are primarily in the form of dermoplastics (stuffed specimens), skins, skeleton (parts), wet specimens and tissue samples. There are also clutches of eggs, nests and special collections, such as feathers, freeze-dried specimens and traces of feeding. A traditional focus is the bird collection, the source of the historically most important items.
The vertebrate collection participates in expanding the biographical archive at the Biologiezentrum Linz. Most of the collection holdings are digitally recorded.
Geographically the collection’s main focus is on Upper Austria, whereby objects come from around the globe, particularly for comparative studies and above all with respect to exhibitions.
Scope of the collection
- Amphibians 400
- Birds 16,000
- Mammals 10,000
- Fish 500
- Reptiles 500
- Coll. Theodor Angele (inkl. Coll. August G.H. Rudatis), 1867 - 1920: vor allem Greifvögel und Eulen weltweit, Natalsammlung (Aves)
- Coll. Georg Wieninger, 1870 - 1911: aus dem Landwirtschaftsmuseum Otterbach b. Schärding, Haustiere, Pathologie-Präparate, Präparate aus Südamerika (Paraguay)
- Coll. Andreas Reischek, 1877 - 1888: Neuseelandsammlung
- Coll. Josef Lindorfer, 1874 - 1942: Gelege aus Lambach Umg., Oberösterreich
- Coll. Josef Roth, 1922 - 1940: Vögel und Säuger aus Oberösterreich (vor allem Umg. Wels und mittleres Mühlviertel)
- Coll. Georg Erlinger, 1950 - 1986: Belege von den Innstauseen (Oberösterreich)
- Historische Eiersammlungen: 19. Jahrhundert
- Oberösterreich Coll. 20. Jh., angelegt von Th. Kerschner, laufender Ausbau
- Coll. von spez. Austellungspräparaten
- Säugercollection aus Costa Rica, 2005
In addition to preservation and documentation, the aim of the vertebrate collection is dynamic further development, which is constantly open to new methods and different aims. Accompanying cooperations and communications with scientists, amateurs and the public aim to make the information housed in the vertebrate collection accessible and available for a variety of uses.
The current, main types of use of the collection:
- Faunistic, historic reconstructions of fauna,
- Reconstruction of the collector’s biographies (Scientific history),
- Reference collection for identification purposes,
- Population genetic analyses,
- Taxonomy matters,
- Exhibition purposes