Visitor, Loan, and Tissue Policies

Visitation Policy

Researchers are encouraged to examine specimens at Scripps and visitors should make arrangements with Collection staff prior to their visit. We recommend a visit if you intend to examine many specimens or exceedingly rare material.

We offer prearranged collection tours for groups (school, outreach, continued learning, aquarium club, etc). We have limited time and space for tours and try to limit group sizes to under 20 people per tour.

We do not currently have a public display on site. But to see some of our specimens, please visit the Birch Aquarium!


To arrange a tour, please contact Ben Frable, Collection Manager, at least 2 weeks in advance of your desired date.


Loan Policy

Specimens are also available for loan to qualified researchers at recognized institutions. These are generally not-for-profit institutions of education and research. We do not loan genetic material to for-profit companies. Qualified researchers include: Emeritus professors, professors, staff researchers, postdoctoral researchers, visiting scientists and students. We require a written request for specimens via email to the Collection Manager Ben Frable,, and Curator Arcila, Students interested in material loans must include their advisor/supervisor on initial communications and have their advisor/supervisor write a formal loan request. 

Loans normally are made for a period of one year, though extensions may be granted. We encourage the request of and are happy to provide photographs or x-ray images of specimens prior to a loan to determine if the loan is necessary. 

Specimens on loan may not be transferred without written permission.

Dissection or any other technique that alters the specimen must be authorized by the Curator, Dr. Dahiana Arcila. 

Holotypes or rare specimens normally are not loaned. Holotypes and paratypes of new species will be retained at Scripps.

Paratypes may be distributed to other qualified institutions after authorization from the Curator.

We REQUIRE that the Collection be acknowledged in publications resulting from the use of specimens or data and a reprint is requested for the Collection library. The appropriate acronym is "SIO".

Note: The name is Scripps Institution of Oceanography NOT Institute and Marine Vertebrate Collection NOT Vertebrates.

For further information, to arrange a visit, or to request the loan of specimens, please contact the Collection personnel.


Tissue Sample Requests

We maintain tissue samples from more than 1,600 species, mostly in 95% ethanol with a smaller collection of ultralow (-80°C) samples. You can search our tissue collection by selecting "E" under Specimen Status in our searchable database. To request tissue samples, please email the Collection Manager Ben Frable,, and Curator Arcila,