Collection Specimen Loans & Tissue Gifts

The Biodiversity Institute Ichthyology division loans specimens and gifts tissue subsamples to qualified research organizations all over the world.

Specimen Loans

Loans are normally made for a period of six months unless specific permission is otherwise obtained. After six months, the return of the material may be required before a re-loan is granted. An extension of the loan period may be granted by a Curator or the Collection Manager.  All specimen loans are subject to the conditions as indicated in our Specimen Loan Agreement.

Required information for Specimen Loans

  • Name, address, phone number, FAX number, and e-mail address. Please also supply these details for your advisor if you are a graduate student.
  • Brief description of research problem or proposed educational use of specimens.
  • List of specimens requested. Please use the fish collection searches and be as specific as possible when requesting lot numbers. Please also indicate if substitution of different specimens of the same species is acceptable if first choice specimens are unavailable.
  • Requests for dissection or destructive research procedures (e.g., clearing and staining for bone and cartilage). Please be as specific as possible.
  • All publications generated from research use of specimens are required to be lodged with the KUBI Ichthyology Library.

Loan Criteria Used for Evaluating Requests

  • Size of the loan request - Sometimes requests for excessively large amounts of material are divided into parts, with one installment being sent upon the safe return of the previous part.
  • Content of the loan request - If a borrower requests a loan of all specimens of a species, type specimens, or specimens of threatened or endangered species, the Curator may choose to loan only a portion of the specimens at a time or ask the potential borrower to come to the museum to study the specimens.
  • Condition of the material requested - Sometimes the specimens requested are fragile, and do not travel well. In this case the potential borrower may be asked to come to the museum to study the specimens.
  • Use of the material by the borrower - Any planned dissection or any other destructive research procedure (e.g., clearing and staining for bone and cartilage) must be approved in advance.
  • Project design - The project should be briefly outlined in the letter of request and should result in substantive research or educational instruction.
  • Previous record of the borrower - If a borrower already has a large amount of KU material on loan, it usually must be returned before more is sent. If specimens have been returned previously in unacceptable condition, future loan requests may not be granted to that borrower.
  • Location of the borrower - Especially in cases involving large, hard to ship, or very fragile specimens, it is sometimes preferable for the potential borrower to come to the museum to study the specimens rather than to send them out on loan.
  • Priority use of the material - Another researcher may already have the material on loan, or another researcher may have previously reserved the option to borrow the material for an ongoing, current project. When a loan request is denied, the courtesy is usually extended of inviting the researcher who requested the material to come to the collection to work with it (unless the request was denied for reasons of Priority Use).

Tissue requests

Requests from the tissue collection follow much the same procedure as outlined above, except that subsamples of tissue holdings are sent as gifts and no tissue is expected to be returned. Tissue is to be used only for the research outlined in the gift application and may not be shared with a third party without the express permission of the Ichthyology Division.

All sequences generated from research must be lodged with Genbank and Genbank numbers supplied to the fish division. If sequences have already been generated for a lot that is requested, this information will be provided to the recipient and they are requested to use these rather than requesting material again if possible. All publications generated from research use of tissues are required to be lodged with the KUBI Ichthyology Library.

Sequences generated from tissues may not be used for commercial purposes or for monetary gain and may not be shared with a third party without the express permission of the Ichthyology Division.

All tissue gifts are subject to the tissue gift conditions as indicated in the Tissue Gift Agreement.

Shipping and Postage

Due to new stricter shipping regulations (DOT locally and IATA internationally) governing the shipment of dangerous/hazardous goods, no international shipments may be sent by USPS. Therefore, all international loan and tissue requests will be required to be sent Fed-Ex or UPS. We ask that all persons requesting international fish loan and tissue gifts please supply us with a physical (street) address and contact phone number. In certain circumstances, if costs are prohibitive due to budgetary restrictions, the receiver or borrower may be required to pay the cost of shipment (both ways in the case of loans). Domestic packages should be unaffected and will still be sent by USPS, except that certain packaging laws will need to be followed.

When returning loaned material please adhere to DOT 173.4 (domestic) and IATA SP A180 (international) packing requirements.  Specimens should be packed in a sturdy box (no envelopes please) in order to ensure that no leakage of fluid occurs during shipping (heat sealing preferred if possible).