USM Ichthyological Collection

The ichthyological collections at USM contain over 85,000 cataloged lots and support a variety of research and education needs. It is one of the largest collections dedicated to the fishes of Mississippi. The collection is split among the Hattiesburg (primarily freshwater) and Gulf Coast Research Lab (GCRL; primarily estuarine and marine) campuses.


The Hattiesburg collection was started 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 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. During this period, the collection had expanded beyone the capacity of the allocated space on the Hattiesburg campus. As a result, the collection was split into multiple locations that made nangement difficult.

Additional NSF funding (2007 award to myself and Sara LeCroy at GCRL) supported consolidation of the Hattiesburg collection back into once facility with new compact shelving, complete georeferencing of all sites, and relabeling of some older lots. Since then, the collection has continued to grow so that it now conatins just over 60,000 lots representing over 800 taxa. In 2013 the collection (and the USM Herbarium) was relocated to the Lake Thoreau Environmental Center.

Collection Data

  • Query the collection by either year or species by selecting that option and then years or spceis from the lists (multiple years or species can be selected).

  • Once queried, data are grouped by collection ID. Use the buttons below to page through the data or copy/download using the buttons above.

  • The search box in the upper right allows you to further focus a query. For example, select 2010 records, then “Fundulus” in the search box to get all Fundulus sp. records.

Map Data

  • Query the collection by either year or species by selecting that option and then years or spceis from the lists (multiple years or species can be selected).

  • Once queried, sites are plotted with colors representing either year or species (indicated in the legend).