Mihai's Paleobotany Chronicles

Collection of Prof. Mihai Emilian Popa (MEP Collection)

The scientific collection of Prof. Mihai Emilian Popa (MEP Collection) includes fossils (flora and fauna), rocks and living plants collected personally from all over the world, with samples recorded formally in scientific databases of various institutions. This personal collection is curated at the University of Bucharest, and at the Geological Museum in Bucharest (Geological Institute of Romania). At the University of Bucharest, the collection is part of the scientific collections of the Laboratory of Palaeontology, Department of Geology, Faculty of Geology and Geophysics. At the Geological Museum in Bucharest, the collection is included in the scientific collections of the museum.

The collection includes type material, represented by published fossils, including holotypes, paratypes, neotypes, lectotypes, etc. This is the most significant section of the collection. Next to the type material, the collection includes highly important fossils and rocks collected from Romania and from numerous foreign countries.

The collection is recorded formally using a system explained in detail in Popa (2011). The records are both physical (on paper cards) and digital (in Excel files), for all samples. All recorded samples have a paper card where the fossils are supplementary recorded as plant organ fragments, receiving a unique number related to each hand specimen record (hand specimen number). In this way, each plant fossil fragment is uniquely identified and related to each hand specimen.

All samples are stored in permanent drawers at the University of Bucharest, numbered 1-294. Temporary drawers, also at the University of Bucharest and numbered 1-50, are used for temporary storage of fossil material for study. Trays, numbered 1-5, are used for moving hand specimens. Each permanent drawer (1-294) has its own card, with the recorded inventory numbers of hand specimens and samples which each drawer includes. Drawers and hand specimens are therefore connected and recorded in detail for the whole collection.

Types of samples bellonging to the collection:
1. hand specimens with compressive flora;
2. permineralized flora samples;
3. microscopy slides with plant cuticles, spores & pollen;
4. peels from coal balls and silicified woods;
5. thin sections;
6. micropalaeontological samples;
7. fossil fauna samples;
8. polished sections of coals;
9. rock specimens of all types, including coal specimens;
10. herbaria with compressed extant plant samples in Bucharest and Bigar;
11. living plant samples preserved three-dimensionally;
11. insect collection (in Dilcher-Popa Field Laboratory in Bigar).

Digital databases of the collection:
1. hand specimens database, recording each fossil plant fragment related to its hand specimens inventory number (doubled by physical, paper cards, stored in MEP Library);
2. drawers database (doubled by physical, paper sheets, stored in MEP Library);
3. macro- and microphoto Palaeobotany and Palynology database;
4. macro- and microphoto Palaeozoology database;
5. geological photo database, in relation with outcrops recorded in the MEP field notebooks;
6. botanical (living) macro- and microphoto database;
7. GPS database (outcrops and routes);
8. outcrops recorded in MEP field notebooks database;
9. fossil fauna database;
10. rock samples database;
11. video and audio database.

Popa, M.E., 2011. Field and laboratory techniques in plant compressions: an integrated approach. Acta Palaeontologica Romaniae 7, 279-283.