Collection Policies

Listed below are answers to common questions received by Ichthyology Collection staff.

Specimen Loans

Specimens from the VIMS Ichthyology Collection are available to research scientists and education centers throughout the U.S. and abroad. Our policy is to lend, donate, and exchange material freely. Each request is reviewed to determine the qualifications of the investigator, the condition of the material requested, and the nature of the request (e.g., permission to dissect or clear and stain). Loans are generally 6 to 12 months in duration. Loans made to students are issued to their major advisor. All costs of processing and shipping specimens are covered by VIMS, and detailed records of all transactions are maintained. There are no user charges for services associated with the Nunnally Ichthyology Collection. To arrange a loan, please contact the collection manager.

Visiting the Collection

Researchers are welcome to visit the collection. We have bench space, dissecting microscopes, and a digital x-ray machine available.

Please contact the collection manager ahead of time to schedule a collection visit.

Collection Tours

We routinely give behind the scenes collection tours to school groups and the general public. We can tailor the length and content of the tours to meet your group’s needs. If you would like a tour of only the Nunnally Ichthyology Collection, please contact the collection manager to schedule a time. Tours should be scheduled at least two weeks in advance and are limited to 12 people.

General tours of the VIMS campus and research facilities, including the Nunnally Ichthyology Collection, can be arranged through the Outreach Office by calling 804-684-7061 or emailing [[programs]]. More information about VIMS Group tours can be found here.

Specimen Donation

The VIMS Nunnally Ichthyology Collection is the regional repository for estuarine and marine fishes of Chesapeake Bay and the middle Atlantic Bight, and serves as the Commonwealth of Virginia's Ichthyology Collection, acting as a repository for state agencies and universities. In addition, the Collection continues to add to our holdings of deep-sea, freshwater, and exotic fishes, as well as early life-history stages of marine fishes. We continue to accept specimens for donation to the fish collection in accordance with our acquisition policy. Please contact the collection manager to arrange for any specimen donations.

All donated specimens should be frozen or formalin fixed and accompanied by detailed collection data. Donors are responsible for providing all legal documents associated with specimen collection and import/export, if applicable. The Nunnally Ichthyology Collection will not accept any specimens that have not been legally acquired. We request a Deed of Transfer to accompany any donations.

Specimen Exchanges and Gifts

We maintain close association with regional universities and are open to exchange of material that is well represented in the VIMS Ichthyology Collection for exotic taxa at other ichthyological museums. VIMS will not accept illegally collected or illegally acquired material, and documentation (including copies of permits and transfer of ownership documents) of specimens is kept in the collections records. Please contact the collection manager or curator if you would like to arrange a specimen exchange.

Volunteer Opportunities

Numerous opportunities to volunteer in the fish collection are available. Volunteers help with databasing, specimen preparation, fish identification, and various other tasks. If you would like to volunteer in the fish collection, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Sally Brooks at 804-684-7010 or fill out an on-line application.