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MSB Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Policy on Collection Use

Data requests

All requests for herpetological collection data require a hard-copy letter or an email . This letter must be on institutional letterhead or originating from an educational domain and state exactly what specimen data are being requested and why. A request from a student must be countersigned or authorized by the major professor or other responsible staff member.

To help researchers decide which specimens they wish to examine, we provide general data (county, state, country, and date) without requiring examination of the specimens. We generally restrict the access of more detailed locality data to investigators who have examined the specimens and confirmed their identification. We will evaluate requests for more detailed locality data on a case-by-case basis, but it is unlikely that such requests will be approved unless exceptional conditions are met. These data are for the individual researcher's personal use, as originally requested, and should not be further distributed without express written consent of the curator.

Using the Collection

The Division of Amphibians & Reptile holdings are available for study by qualified individuals. The division is open by appointment from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Monday through Friday, excepting University holidays. Guests are asked to sign the "guest book" located at the entrance to the division. Visitors should call or e-mail the curator or collection manager in advance to make an appointment to use the collections. First time users of the collections must be trained in specimen handling before access to the collection is granted.

Visitors may use the microscopes at the tables to view specimens.. There is a reference library containing books that the visitor is allowed to use. All books are for reference only and may not leave the division.

Division staff and visitors have the responsibility to ensure that the collections are protected and preserved. Please handle specimens with extreme care. It is important to treat specimens as a valuable archive that must be preserved for future generations. Specimens must be handled in a manner that will not cause damage or loss of fragments.

Visitors may not remove portions of specimens without the permission of the curator.

Acknowledgment Of Collection Use

It is required that users of the MSB Division of Amphibians & Reptiles acknowledge the use of the facilities and specimens, and provide the Division with two copies of any publications in which the specimens are mentioned.

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Collection Acquisitions

Acquired specimens may be added to the Division of Amphibians & Reptiles through:

  • Collections by associated staff members
  • Duplicates or exchanged collections received from other institutions
  • Gifts and donations

New acquisitions include well-preserved specimens that enhance the diversity and distribution of the holdings of the Division of Amphibians & Reptiles. Acquisitions must have legible collection data recorded and ideally should include: taxon name (if known), state, county, latitude and longitude coordinates, drainage, elevation, detailed location information, collector and collector's number, and the date of collection.

Collector's field notes and/or field books (preferably originals) and collecting permits should accompany the acquisitions. Original field books are placed in the division's library. Copies of field notes and permits are kept with the accession files.

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Loan Policy

The Division of Amphibians & Reptiles loans specimens to established, scientifically recognized institutions for use in conducting taxonomic research by reputable scientists or their graduate students. Loan requests are made in writing and addressed to the Curator. The loan request should include the nature of the research and must be approved by the curator. Students must request loans through their supporting faculty member.

Loans are made for one year. Extensions of the loan period may be granted upon request to the curator. Transfers of loans may be made with the permission of the curator. No portion of the specimens may be removed without prior approval of the Curator of the Division of Amphibians & Reptiles. (See Destructive Sampling Policy and Agreement).

Borrowing institutions must meet minimum standards for security, storage environment, and handling of specimens. Returning loans should be packed carefully to avoid damaging the specimens.

More detailed information is contained in our Specimen Loan Policy.

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Destructive Sampling Policy and Agreement

The MSB Division of Amphibians & Reptiles acknowledges your request for destructive sampling of specimens. Please read this policy statement and complete the agreement outlined below.

The Division of Amphibians & Reptiles operates with the goal of balancing preservation considerations of division materials with utilization for scientific research. We will routinely grant permission to sample non-rare specimens. However, we discourage the destructive sampling of specimens of rare taxa. Only when absolutely necessary will permission be granted. Decisions concerning destructive sampling of collections are made on a case-by-case basis. The Division of Amphibians & Reptiles does not maintain records on the history of specimen collection or treatment methods. It is the responsibility of the researcher to verify specimen identification.

1. The decision to remove material shall be made with the approval of the curator.

2. Material may not be removed from taxa represented in the division by less than 3 collections, except in rare instances, and then only by the curator or collection manager.

3. Removal of non-rare material may be done by the investigator, only with the consent of the curator.

4. The MSB Division of Amphibians & Reptiles must be cited in any resulting publications and a copy sent to: Division of Amphibians & Reptiles, Museum of Southwestern Biology, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-1091, USA.

5. The investigator must return to the MSB Division of Amphibians & Reptiles evidence of the research, such as one of the following; a duplicate slide, an SEM photograph, or a sample of the extracted DNA. DNA sequences must be deposited with GenBank and specimens annotated with GenBank accession numbers. The Museum of Southwestern Biology will house and make the material available to other researchers as requested.

6. An extraction protocol must be submitted, along with an estimate of the amount of material needed, for approval by the curator.

If you agree to accept the materials under the above conditions, please print the form from here (a new window will open), sign below and return to the Division of Amphibians & Reptiles, Museum of Southwestern Biology, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131 USA. For DNA studies, please enclose an extraction protocol. Upon receipt of confirmation, we will contact you concerning the dispatch of the material.

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