Each year the project team visits several mountains, each for a few days, setting traps and hand collecting the area thoroughly. At each site we endeavour to reach as many different habitats as possible and collect specimens of every species that we encounter. Approximately 5,000 invertebrate specimens are collected annually. For field expeditions, we have been coordinating with the museum’s alpine botany team to find efficiencies, reducing costs and combining our reporting to funders.
All collections are handled with taxon-appropriate techniques, and all specimens and data collected are preserved in the museum and held in perpetuity for current and future research. A complete list of all specimens collected each year is provided to funders, partners and collaborators, and occurrences of rare species as well as species with interesting distributions are noted. This helps to guide provincial conservation planning. New specimen collections through this research project have also led to a growing interest from other researchers borrowing specimens across all taxa.
Media interest in spider research is high, and the Royal BC Museum’s alpine fieldwork has been featured on CBC's Quirks and Quarks and on National Public Radio in the United States, as well as in many local radio, television and and newspaper stories.
The project has established a collaborative network that includes a diverse array of “communities”—researchers, citizen scientists, non-governmental organizations, industry and government—helping us procure specimens, whether by donating collected material, funding our fieldwork, or contributing in-kind resources with the provision of vehicles, staff time and so on. Our work with the Barcode of Life lab (Centre for Biodiversity Genomics) at Guelph University exemplifies the collaborative nature of the project: every year we send new records to add to their DNA database, and in return we use their database to confirm new species.