Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Fish Collection

  • Collections
    The majority of specimens in the VIMS Fish collection are stored in screw top glass jars with polypropylene lids and polyethylene liners. The specimens are bathed in 70% ethyl alcohol.
    Photo by David Malmquist.
  • Tour Group
    Tour Group
    Members of Christopher Newport University's Lifelong Learning Society visit the VIMS Fish Collection during a 2007 visit. Then collection manager Paul Gerdes (facing camera) leads the tour group.
    Photo by David Malmquist.
  • Outreach
    Graduate student Dan Dutton (C) describes a specimen from the VIMS Fish Collection during Marine Science Day.
    Photo by David Malmquist.
Announcement: Larval Fish Workshop

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science Nunnally Ichthyology Collection is home to a large ichthyoplantkton collection that contains samples from the tropical and northern Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, the Amazon Plume, Sargasso Sea, the Caribbean, the Mid-and South Atlantic Bights, and Chesapeake Bay. As part of a current NSF CSBR grant, we are hosting a larval fish workshop from October 5-16, 2015.

Collection Information

The Nunnally Ichthyology Collection at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science is an integral part of the tripartite mission of VIMS and serves a broad community of basic- and applied-research scientists and fisheries managers, as well as providing an important resource for local community outreach. Through its 56-year history, the Collection has grown from an uncataloged teaching collection to become one of the largest repositories for freshwater, Chesapeake Bay, and coastal fishes in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Although worldwide in its coverage, the collection's holdings are particularly strong in marine, estuarine, and freshwater fishes from

  • Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries
  • Virginia's coastal waters
  • The deep waters of the western North Atlantic
  • The upper reaches of Chesapeake and Delaware bays
  • The rivers, streams, and lakes of Virginia, with a focus on the unique fauna of the southern Appalachians

The collection contains approximately 20,000 cataloged lots of fishes comprising 128,000 specimens in 247 families. Of these lots, 16,000 are computer cataloged. Users can search these computer records by keyword, taxonomic groupings (family, genus, and species), and locality; reports based on these data are available.

In addition to its use in research, the VIMS fish collection is also frequently used in education and training.


Dr. Eric J. Hilton, Curator and Assistant Professor of Marine Science

VIMS Ichthyology Collection
Fisheries Science / VIMS
P.O. Box 1346, Gloucester Pt., VA 23062-1346, USA
Telephone: 804-684-7178; FAX: 804-684-7327