Specimen loan procedure

Specimens from the MBARI sample archive are available for further study to
(A) MBARI collaborators and (B) external investigators.

(A) Loans to collaborators
As soon as samples are collected, samples may be loaned to researchers collaborating with the Collector. A collaborator’s agreement must first be signed, which specifies the nature of the collaboration.  Please notify Susan von Thun so she can keep the database up to date.

(B) Loans to external investigators
The requestor must submit a written proposal that states their qualifications, outlines the intended research project and scientifically justifies the request, describes the analyses to be performed on the samples, and contains a list of the specimens that they wish to borrow. The proposal may be sent by e-mail to Susan von Thun or to her c/o MBARI by mail. The request will be reviewed and if approved, a loan invoice will be written specifying the loan terms. Specimens may not be available for loan if they are embargoed for internal research purposes.

Typical loan terms

  1. Samples will be loaned initially for up to six months, but this may be extended upon written request and approval.
  2. Samples must be retained in the same type of preservative in which they were issued.
  3. Invasive or destructive analyses may only be performed with explicit permission from MBARI. These include dissections, consumptive analyses, sawing, cleaning, or other alteration. The proposed methods must be the least intrusive for obtaining the intended results, yet they must be likely to yield the intended results.
  4. MBARI should be notified of any recommended change of identification of specimens on loan.
  5. Studies of the samples are expected to result in the dissemination of the information through publications. MBARI’s loans must be acknowledged in all publications or reports resulting from the use of our samples. Specimens should be cited by their MBARI sample number. Two copies of each publication must be sent to the Sample Coordinator for inclusion in our library.
  6. Loans are not to be forwarded to third parties without advance written permission from MBARI.
  7. The institution receiving the loan is responsible for each specimen’s safekeeping and safe return.
  8. Any material remaining from the samples must be returned to MBARI. Resulting analytical data and duplicates of tangible products, such as photographs and micrographs, shall be provided to MBARI to become part of the specimen’s permanent records.
  9. The costs of processing and shipping specimens to be loaned are covered by MBARI, with the expectation that loans will be returned at the borrower’s expense. Return shipments must be insured to the same value as the outgoing shipment.
  10. Required documentation for legal transport and customs authorities (e.g., hazardous materials and wildlife status) must accompany each shipment.
  11. A copy of the loan invoice must accompany each shipment. The original will be annotated with the date of return of specimen and kept in the permanent records of the sample collection.


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