Destructive Sampling

The Department of Mammalogy will consider requests from researchers wishing to undertake destructive sampling of specimens. Activities classified as destructive or potentially destructive include molding or casting specimens, removing tissue and hair from specimens, dissection of specimens, sectioning of teeth or bones, or applying any coating to specimens (e.g. for SEM use). If you are interested in borrowing tissues, please see the tissue collections page.

Additional Information about Molding and Casting

Requests to mold specimens should be submitted in writing following the guidelines for destructive sampling (see below). Permission to mold specimens may require that the mold and one cast be returned to the Department of Mammalogy, and that any additional casts made by the researcher not be used for commercial or exhibition purposes.

Iodine Staining 

Requests for iodine staining should review Early et al. 2020, Chemical effects of diceCT staining protocols on fluid-preserved avian specimens. Requests should address relevant issues about de-mineralization. 

Application Process

Applications for destructive sampling must include a brief description of the research project with particular mention of why destructive sampling is required and the researcher's past experience with the process. The application should also include a description of techniques to be used, impact to specimens involved, and number of specimens to be sampled. In some situations, we will also ask for information about efforts to examine specimens or obtain samples from other institutions.

To simplify the application process please fill out this destructive sampling application, and email it to [email protected].

Applications from students must be accompanied by a letter of recommendation from the student's advisor.

Depending on whether sampling is to be done at the Museum or at the researcher's institution, the application must be accompanied by either a request to visit the collection, or a request to borrow specimens.

Unfortunately, the Department of Mammalogy is not able to provide the service of taking samples (e.g., skin clips) for researchers. Those taking samples are also responsible for their own supplies.

Before submitting an application, we recommend reviewing the Department's policy on destructive sampling.