SIO Benthic Invertebrate Collection Loan Policy


Specimens housed at SIO-BIC are available for loan for scientific study subject to certain conditions. The preparation and re-incorporation of loan material make demands on staff time and other collection resources. Borrowers are asked to bear these considerations in mind by requesting only those specimens that are essential to their research. Holotypes, paratypes, one-of-a-kind, or very rare specimens may be limited to inspection at Scripps. 

Researchers are encouraged to consult our online database to make an assessment of our holdings. In many cases, digital images of specimens may also be available upon request.

To make a loan request, please contact the collection manager.


Issuing and Returning Loans

Loans may be made to qualified individuals through their institutions for the purposes of research, exhibition, or education. Loans for student projects will be issued to the student's supervisor.

Outgoing loans and gifts are accompanied by a loan invoice that lists the SIO-BIC catalog numbers, summarizes collection data, and indicates the specific material loaned (e.g. tissue samples, slides, number of vials or animals). The invoice must be signed and returned upon receipt of the specimens (electronically is acceptable). Acknowledgment of the invoice demonstrates safe arrival of the material and will be taken as agreement to be bound by the SIO-BIC loan policy.

Loans are typically made for a period of one year, although extensions may be granted upon written request. The borrower may terminate the loan by returning the specimens to SIO-BIC. All specimens must be returned so as to reach SIO-BIC no later than the date specified on the loan invoice, unless an extension of time has been granted. It is important to provide advance notice to the SIO-BIC collection manager before shipping any material, to ensure that proper shipping regulations are followed and that the shipment can be properly received.


Care of Specimens

All specimens must be treated with care and stored in suitable environmental conditions when not in use. In particular, specimens sent out in liquid preservative must be maintained in the same medium and not allowed to dry out. For tissue samples in 95% ethanol and DNA extractions, refrigerated or preferably frozen storage is ideal. Specimens must be stored and examined in an area where smoking, food, and drink are excluded.

Any technique that alters the physical state of the specimen must be authorized by SIO-BIC. Such alterations may include but are not limited to:

  • Dissection of the specimen
  • Removal of any part of the specimen, including tissue samples
  • Sampling for DNA or chemical analysis
  • Staining or coating for photography, scanning electron microscopy, or other purposes
  • Preparation of molds and casts in any material
  • Development of specimens from their surroundings or surrounding matrix
  • Sectioning of a specimen in the form of a polished surface or thin section

Any parts removed from a specimen (e.g., stomach contents, eggs) or any preparations made from a specimen (e.g., DNA, slides) must be fully documented with the SIO-BIC catalog number and must be returned at the same time as the rest of the loan, unless authorized otherwise. All labels must be kept with the specimens during the loan and returned at the same time. Newly designated type material must be clearly labeled, and all taxonomic changes or re-identifications must be communicated to SIO-BIC.


Citing SIO-BIC in Publications

"Scripps Institution of Oceanography Benthic Invertebrate Collection (SIO-BIC)" must be acknowledged in publications resulting from use of loaned materials or data. If any loaned specimens are cited or figured in any publication, they must carry an appropriate reference including the previously defined institutional acronym (e.g. "SIO-BIC A12345" for the specimen with catalog number A12345).

Sequences uploaded to GenBank must also carry the appropriate SIO-BIC catalog number in the "specimen_voucher" field, using the format "SIO-BIC A12345" or "SIO:BIC:A12345".

Type specimens of any new species described as a result of a loan from SIO-BIC must be deposited at SIO-BIC unless other arrangements have been approved.


Loan Use and Compliance

Loans are intended for research only and should not involve commercial purposes or sale. Material loaned, and any products generated from loaned specimens, may not be transferred to individuals or institutions other than those designated as borrowers, without prior written authorization. These policies are intended to ensure compliance with institutional, local, national, and international regulations, and to ensure that SIO-BIC remains accessible to and best serves the interests of the scientific community.

If SIO-BIC becomes aware that the approved borrower has failed to comply with this loan policy, SIO-BIC will contact the borrower and its institution/organization in writing and request that the situation be rectified immediately. If the approved borrower still fails to comply with the written request, SIO-BIC will be entitled to terminate the loan and recover the loaned items immediately.

Failure to comply with the loan policy may result in the penalties outlined below:

  • "Approved borrower" status may be revoked.
  • The borrower may not be granted further approved borrower status for a minimum of 10 years from the date of loan termination.
  • All other loans, of any category, previously issued to the borrowing institution or any members of its staff may also be terminated and recovered.
  • All future applications from the borrowing institution or members of its staff, for any category of loan, may be refused for a period of no less than 3 years from the date of loan termination.