The new agreement also allows for more uniform sample collection—the AMNH will provide special kits and shipping materials to researchers on national park land. It will guarantee a more stable storage process than that which could be achieved at smaller facilities, as well—promising that even with no power, samples will stay chilled for five weeks.
"This has been absolutely fantastic," said Bert Frost, National Park Service associate director of natural resource stewardship and science, about the agreement. He cited the endangered island fox found in Channel Islands National Park off the southern California coast, whose DNA (from blood samples) will likely be one of the first additions to the collection. The fox had been involved in a captive breeding program to restore its numbers.
"If we would have lost that animal, we would have lost all that genetic information," Frost said. "Now a facility like this, if some catastrophic thing happened, and we happen to lose an animal or a species, at least we have some genetic material" to study.