- do you ever give the people that bring the specimen in anything or are they simply donated?
- does the scientist or the organization (school/whatever) own the specimen?
- given that numerous museums are desperate for giant squids who decides who gets one?
- are the specimens simply loaned or is there something in return? if so do you try to 'auction' them off?
Good questions WK
The specimens are donated to us; if we didn't have a request in for them they would be discarded at sea.
Ownership is a real grey area; to fix/preserve one of these animals down can take 50-100 rather labour-intensive hours, wheras it takes 2 minutes (if that) to throw one over the side of a ship. I think the fishermen are happy that the specimen is saved and some university/museum benefits as far as science is concerned, but often they do not want to be identified for fear of conservation reprisals (and they cannot be paid for the specimen either, although they get acknowledgement in fishing magazine articles and the likes). I don't talk ownership, they don't ask questions, we've never experienced a problem, and I end up gifting specimens (nothing financial in this) to other organisations (they simply pay the transportation and fixing/chemical costs). They then own the specimen.
Who decides who gets which one? Me (or it has been in the past). We've had numerous requests, too many in fact (not enough specimens), so value judgements are made all the time. Normally it depends on how much sleep I've had, but sometimes personalities do enter into it (I've deleted two requests from the whiteboard because of recent events).
And for the final one, no auctioning involved (we're non-profit). However, having said this, were someone to come along tomorrow and say that they would fund several student research scholarships in 'exchange' for the squid then they would go to the top of the list (I am flexible when it comes to things like this).