ZJU’s specimen museums: striving stories in silent specimens (Part II)

2022-10-04 Global Communications

[Editor’s Note: Interested in specimen? Zhejiang University boasts five museums, where various specimens are displayed, ranging from rare insects, precious plants, diverse minerals, multiple soil to special macro-fungi. Beyond specimens, equally interesting are the stories of their creators, the histories of the disciplines, and the shining memories of ZJU. In Part II, let’s find more stories about Macro-fungi Herbarium, Museum of Earth Sciences, and Soil Samples Exhibition Hall.]

Macro-fungi Herbarium

Located in ZJU’s Biological Experiment Center, the Macro-fungi Herbarium was set-up in 2010, thanks to the efforts of LIN Wenfei, professor from ZJU’s College of Life Sciences. The specimens here are collected from various regions of China, covering more than 2,000 species of wild Macro-fungi from 21 orders, 72 families and more than 290 genera, and also including some new species and endemic species in China.

Prof. LIN annually spends more than two months in exploring macro-fungi in the wild. “It takes much time and effort to collect them, for these macro-fungi won’t wait for me. If I miss them, then I’ll never see them again,” said Prof. LIN.

The love for macro-fungi drove him to explore constantly, accounting for his discovery of the polysacchrides, the most precious one in the gallery. It was found attached to a spruce in a primitive forest, with an altitude of 3,300 meters in Gaoligong Mountain, in Southwest China’s Yunnan province. “I was so thrilled to find it”, said LIN. “For a heterobasidion annosum to grow to five layers, it takes several hundreds of years!” 

Museum of Earth Sciences

Situated along the corridors of ZJU’s School of Earth Science in Yuquan campus, the Museum of Earth Science is set to display multiple minerals, rocks and fossil specimens. There are nearly 1,200 fossil specimens on display, including over 450 minerals specimens, over 100 rocks specimens, about 350 paleontological fossil specimens, and 50 or so valuable specimens. In addition, more than 300 specimens to be displayed are stored in the warehouse. Merely in terms of trilobites, there are dozens of staged fossil specimens which are traced from 540 million to 480 million years ago.  

The collection of these specimens was never an easy task. In 1998, thanks to the support of academician CHU Guoqiang and academician YANG Shufeng, the School collected many precious specimens which enriched the museum to a great measure. “The sources of these specimens are various: some were bought by the school, some produced by the professors, and the others donated by the graduates,” said LIU Yan, the teacher responsible for the management of the museum.

Soil Samples Exhibition Hall

Sited in ZJU’s Huajiachi Campus, the original Soil Samples Exhibition Hall has collected many soil monoliths of most provinces in China. Those soil samples are highly representative and extremely rare, thus featuring high academic and teaching value. Some of them, like the monoliths from mountains above 4,000 meters in West China’s Qinghai province, were exchanged by the professors’ voluntary analysis of soil for the province.

The hall now under construction is developed as an extension, aiming to further serve the needs of research and study. “For students, they had scarce chance to see different sorts of typical soil structures in the field study, but now they can observe them at the hall easily,” introduced SHEN Yena from ZJU’s College of Environmental and Resource Sciences.



Writer: LI Yimu, KE Yineng

Photo: LI Yimu and the interviewed teachers

Translator: ZHANG Jinmei

Editor: TIAN Minjie