Fishes Tissue Preparation

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The Florida Museum of Natural History Fish Collection contains approximately 2,225,000 specimens. Included are representatives of 8,250 species (29% of an estimated 28,000 worldwide) from 400 families (78% of total). The Fish Collection is growing at an annual rate of 4% or about 78,000 specimens. The rapid growth is the result of receiving many specimens from surveys and other scientific studies centered in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, as well as from research programs at UF, including the NSF-funded "PBI: All Catfish Species Inventory" and several research projects on sharks and rays. Additional growth has resulted from acquisition of orphaned collections, including from those of the University of Miami, University of West Florida, Florida Atlantic University, and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. In 2006, the Museum expanded its program to archive frozen tissue samples with the newly established UF-FLMNH Genetic Resources Collection.

A recent example of the use of genetic resources is the study of the Florida Bass (Micropterus floridanus). Historically considered a subspecies of the Largemouth Bass, the Florida Bass, according to recent studies, should now be recognized as a distinct species. The Florida Bass is an extremely popular sport fish, and policies related to stocking and environmental issues are affected by its taxonomy. Museum scientists are using tissue samples from throughout eastern North America to look for evidence of intergradation between the Florida Bass and the Largemouth Bass and, from those data, determine the correct taxonomy.

Museum scientists are using tissue samples from throughout eastern North America to look for evidence of intergradation between the Florida Bass and the Largemouth Bass and, from those data, determine the taxonomy.