Specimens in the Florida Museum of Natural History's Division of Ichthyology are generally available for scientific research or educational uses. Loans are granted at the discretion of the Curator or Collection Manager to qualified scientific professionals, to graduate students through their faculty advisor, and to other qualified borrowers.
Interested researchers may search the division's holdings at
To request a loan, please contact one of the following staff members:
Robert H. Robins, Collection Manager
Larry Page, Curator of Fishes
George H. Burgess, Coordinator of Museum Operations
Instructions for requesting a loan
A loan request must include the following information:
1. Name, address, phone, fax, and e-mail address (if applicable).
2. A brief description of proposed research or educational program as either relates to the need for specimens.
3. A list of the specimens requested, including any acceptable substitutes should the requested specimens not be available.
4. A detailed description of any proposed dissection or destructive research methods (e.g., clearing and staining, gill arch removal, etc.). No such procedures may be conducted without prior written approval from division staff.
Loans are normally made for a period of one year. Written requests for loan extensions are reviewed on a case by case basis.
Loans are generally shipped via certified US mail. Loan materials may be returned to UF using the same, UPS, or FedEx, as long as some package tracking mechanism is utilized and
the courier understands the nature of the material being shipped. Specimens should be returned wrapped in cheesecloth moistened with 50% isopropanol or 70% ethanol (as appropriate) and double or triple sealed in heat sealer grade plastic.
Considerations for loan request content
Attention to the following may greatly increase the efficiency of a request:
1. Known common synonyms for the species requested. Providing this information reduces the possibility of failing to account for all available materials from which to draw a loan of specimens.
2. Loan requests based on geographic distribution should be as descriptive as possible. Freshwater species pose particular difficulty at times.
The presence of drainage data in the UF database is comprehensive for Florida, less often available for other states, and general at best
for foreign localities. A description of the political territory or territories inhabited by the species of interest, with particular
reference to political bodies such as counties, is of great use in assuring a search made by division staff retrieves all the records of interest.
Common shipment restrictions
Large, rare, delicate, or type specimens are often unsuitable for shipment and may require a visit for examination. The need for extensive numbers of specimen lots may at times necessitate the same.
Some requests may be processed in stages, with each successive shipment of specimens shipped upon return of the preceeding. This is commonly the case when a request encompasses the entire holdings for a given species or when the request is large.
To reduce the risk of losing specimens in increased holiday mail traffic, loans are not available for shipment during the period December 1-January 1. When feasible, hand-carry of material by the qualified borrower or a division employee may be conducted at this time.