The ichthyological collections at USM contain over 85,000 cataloged lots and support a variety of research
and education needs. The collection is split among the Hattiesburg (primarily freshwater) and Gulf Coast
Research Lab (GCRL; primarily estuarine and marine) campuses. The majority of the freshwater collection was
collected and cataloged by Dr. Stephen T. Ross and his students from 1974 until 2004. By 1998, the
collection contained a total of 20,325 lots and a large uncurated backlog from Black Creek and Horn Island,
as well as larval collections from a variety of sources. At that time, Dr. Ross and Dr. Stuart G. Poss
(former curator at GCRL) received Nation al Science Foundation (NSF) funding to process the backlog of
material and improve the overall curation of the collections. The collection was improved by: 1) cataloging
backlogged material into both USM collections, 2) installing new shelving and storage infrastructure, and 3)
transfer lots from 45% isopropyl to 70% ethanol at Hattiesburg. By the end of the project in 2001, a total
of 7,200 new lots had been cataloged and the entire collection is now stored in 70% ethanol.
The Hattiesburg collection continued to grow under the direction of Dr. Ross until his retirement in the spring
of 2004 at which time the collection held approximately 28,000 lots. The collection continues to grow at a
rate of about 1,500 cataloged lots per year and currently has nearly 35,000 lots representing over 800 taxa.
By 2007 the continued growth had nearly filled all available space. The current curators of the collection
(myself and Sara LeCroy at GCRL) have received NSF funding (along with generous support from the College of
Science and Technology and the Department of Biological Sciences) to again improve the collection. The goals
of the current project include: 1) renovation of Vann Hall, 2) installation of compact shelving in Vann Hall, 3)
relocation of the Hattiesburg collection to Vann Hall, 4) complete georeferencing of all sites in the database,
5) re-labeling and addition of permanent tags and 6) consolidation of the GCRL and Hattiesburg databases for an
online database. The project began in February 2008 and shelving installation was completed in May. We
anticipate the relocation to be completed by September of 2008.
The museum currently contains more than 48,000 lots and 1,200,000 specimens representing over 8600 taxa.
- Use the links at the top of the page to search by species or locality.
- For georeferenced data (over 95% of the collection) maps can be generated in real time for query results.
Details on mapping options will show up in your query results page.
- For loan or other information please feel free to contact me .
Current Collection Statistics
- 85250 Total lots
- >1,200,000 Specimens
- 10776 Total sites
- 4567 Total taxa
Pictures of the old (top)
and the new (bottom) museum space. The new facility contains neraly twice the linear shelf space.