The Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates (CUMV) loans specimens and tissues to the global, non-profit research community. Generally, we loan material to museum curators, university faculty, and permanent research staff at institutions with facilities to properly house and care for specimens. Loans made to students should be co-signed by their faculty advisor, mentor, or museum curator. Requests from individuals who are not affiliated with a museum will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
All requests for destructive sampling, tissues, or specimen loans must be made in writing to Charles Dardia (Collections Manager), Casey Dillman (Curator of Fishes and Herps) or Vanya Rohwer (Curator of Birds and Mammals). All requests are carefully evaluated and must be approved by the curator and collection staff.
Please include the following information when requesting specimen loans, tissues, or destructive samples:
1) Project description. Researchers should summarize (i) their research goals, (ii) how CUMV specimens will be used, and (iii) briefly convey familiarity with analytical methods for tissues/destructive samples so that curatorial staff can be assured that samples will make helpful contributions to the proposed work while balancing the long-term usability of specimens.
2) List of CUMV specimens requested. Researchers should compile a list of desired CUMV specimens using the VertNet portal. Please include: CUMV specimen number, species name, and their preparation type (e.g., skin, fluid, tissue, skeleton, wing).
3) Agree to the CUMV’s loan policy. Researchers should read the CUMV’s loan policy below and include a brief statement in their loan request indicating that they will acknowledge CUMV specimens in publications.
CUMV Loan policy
Please acknowledge all CUMV specimens in publications. We would also appreciate pdfs of publications that used CUMV specimens.
Upon receipt of loaned specimens, the borrower must sign and return a copy of the loan invoice. Please contact us if specimens were damaged during transport.
We typically send tissues samples in 95% ethanol; let us know if this is inappropriate for your tissues and describe the preferred shipment method.
Loans may not be transferred to another institution or researcher without written permission from CUMV staff.
Loans are generally made for six months; if more time is needed please write us.
Large loans may be divided into two or three installments, with subsequent shipments sent upon safe return of previously shipped material.
The CUMV will pay the costs of sending loans with the expectation that the borrowing institution pays for the return of specimens. We appreciate borrowers returning specimens in the shipping container originally used by the CUMV. All specimen loans must be sent with a tracking number.
CUMV curatorial staff may refuse some loan requests if material is currently being used by CUMV researchers or Cornell students whose work is in progress.
If borrowers discover any problems with specimen data, please let us know.
Permits associated with loans The CUMV holds a USFWS CITES Certificate of Scientific Exchange (COSE) to import and export CITES-listed species between registered institutions.
For loans within the US: Researchers requesting avian samples that were obtained from species outside of the US will need to include a copy of their USDA transport permit.
International loans: The CUMV will arrange the appropriate US export/import permits, but researchers must arrange all import/export permits required by their government. For international requests that involve inspection fees, we may negotiate costs of the loan with the borrower.
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