A recent post on the blog “The Lab and Field” explored why natural history museums are “essential for science.”  The blogger described his recent use of bird specimens to study moult energetics in Least Auklets.  The species spends most of the year over the Pacific Ocean, where they are inaccessible to researchers.  Using 60 specimens of Least Auklets from museum collections in Canada, the U.S., Russia, and Japan, the researcher was able to determine moulting patterns throughout the year, not just when the species is on land for breeding.  Learn more at http://labandfield.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/natural-history-museums/.