Our Mission

The primary mission of the Oregon State Arthropod Collection (OSAC) is to provide the community with a vouchered record of insects and non-marine arthropods with an emphasis on the fauna of the Pacific Northwest. 

The specimens in the collection:

(1) document the presence of a particular species in a given place and time,

(2) demonstrate the variation that may exist within a single taxonomic group throughout its geographic range,

(3) provide the raw material from which species new to science may be discovered and

(4) provide accurate, expertly identified reference material for comparison in making insect identifications.

 

Protection of the existing specimens and the data associated with them, maintaining growth of the collection, and providing access to the collection are all components of meeting this mission.

General Policies

OSAC is a public resource.

We do our best to provide access to anyone with legitimate research needs.  Researchers may request to borrow specimens via a loan or make arrangements to visit the collection and conduct research here.

Individuals who are not staff members, nor associates of the museum, may access our holdings when staff members are present during our operating hours (M-F 9am-5pm).  Under unusual circumstances, exception may be made to this policy, but only by prior arrangement and by written agreement.  Because we have a small staff, it is strongly recommended that you contact us prior to your visit so we may coordinate with you to ensure you have the most time available in the collection. 

Researchers who regularly visit the museum may apply to become a curatorial associate or museum associate (see below), which once granted, allows the researcher to use the collection unsupervised from 9am-5pm Monday through Friday -- as long as the University is not closed for holiday.

 

 

General Acknowledgment: Researchers using OSAC specimens as part of their work are expected to acknowledge the museum in any publications (printed, website, presentation, etc.) in which OSAC specimens and the data on their labels contributed to the overal value or scientific merit of the work.  

The collection should be acknowledged as such:

Oregon State Arthropod Collection (OSAC), OSU Department of Integrative Biology, Corvallis OR. http://osac.oregonstate.edu

Specimen Records and DNA sequencing:

When digitally sharing specimen records (label data) or genomic sequence data from OSAC specimens, researchers are expected to include a reference to the specific OSAC Specimen ID number, such that third parties can access the specimen record in the future.   The most appropriate way to do so is to provide the specimen number in one of the following formats:

(1) OSAC_0000000000
(2) http://osac.oregonstate.edu/sp/OSAC_0000000000

**note: if the OSAC has captured the specimen label data in our database, the second method will provide a direct link to the specimen record, including additional determination and other information (images, metadata, etc).

Removal of the prefix ("OSAC_") and/or the trailing digits (entering "12" instead of "0000000012") is to be avoided.

NOTE: The official acronym of the Oregon State Arthropod Collection is OSAC. 

Other collection or institutional acronyms are not to be used in reference to our material in publication or digitally distributed specimen records - even if other acronyms are used for our material in historical literature or non-OSAC databases. (see Digital Dissemination of Label Data, for further details).

 

All specimens that leave the museum, except under special cases, must be documented in an official OSAC loan (see Loan Policies below), which must be prepared and signed by both the loanee and an OSAC staff member before the material may leave. If your needs cannot be met by visiting the museum, please note that our research material is not typically available for non-research related activities, although exceptions are occasionally made with enough advanced notice.

Each year the OSAC hosts a number of non-research tours; typically for children and members of the public who are interested in insects, insect collecting or natural history museums in general.  We do not have any 'self-guided' exhibits, and these visits typically require the curatorial staff to pull particular specimens from the research collection.  If you would like to visit the collection or know of someone who would, please read our guidelines below and then contact us.  

 

Visits for Collectors and amateur researchers:

 

If you are an insect collector yourself, or the parent of children with insect collections, and are seeking information about particular insects and/or techniques related to catching or preserving insects, please contact us directly.  We can generally accommodate these types of visits with very little advanced notice.

 

Individual non-research visits: 

 

If you've never been to a research museum or are just curious about what we do: great! We welcome you to come visit us.  Please, however, give us some advanced notice before just showing up; we do not have self-guided tours and for security and safety reasons cannot allow people to browse the research holdings unattended.

 

Class visits:

 

1. Class tours must be arranged a head of time and are only available M-F from 9am-5pm.  

2. We work with public, private and homeschool classes.  So that your students have a context for their visit, we ask that teachers prepare their classes before the visit with some general curriculum related to any one (1) of the following subjects:

-insects
-natural history museums
-conservation, biodiversity and/or evolution
-classifications (organizing schemes)

2. Unfortunately given space issues, the OSAC can only accomodate 15 visitors at one time (this includes parents/teachers/teachers aids).

3. Children under the ages of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian at all times while they are in the museum

4. Children under the age of 5* must be supervised directly by an adult (e.g., 1 adult for every 2 children). 

 

Our tours are generally for 30-40 minutes depending on the specifics of the class, their interest and knowledge level and the class size.  During the tour, we use insect specimens to discuss the subjects listed above: insect natural history and diversity, why we have natural history collections and what our role is in conservation and evolutionary research.  That's a lot to fit into 40 minutes!  We encourage students to bring specimens with them, and to come with questions about insects in general or about natural history collections.

 

 

 

OSAC has several ways in which a person can be affiliated with the museum.  The collection benefits immensely each year from the time and contributions of our many volunteers and associates.

 

Volunteers -- volunteers are individuals who work on a regular basis on museum projects, but who are not part of our paid staff.  They may be scientists, collectors or members of the public who are interested in insects and/or natural history museums.  Typically volunteers work on curatorial or managerial projects related to cataloging and curating the collection; however volunteers with training in entomology may also help with more technical aspects of the museum.  Volunteers must work in the collection between the normal operating hours of the museum (M-F, 9-5) and are generally expected to work at least 8 hours each month to maintain their volunteer status.  Volunteers at the OSAC must be at least 16 years of age.

Museum Associates -- museum associates are researchers who have a research project that regularly relies on, or contributes to, the holdings of the OSAC.  Museum associate status is granted on an annual basis, and generally renewed as long as the research project is active and there is a continued need to access the holdings. 


Curatorial Associates -- curatorial associates are a particular type of museum associate and are generally trained taxonomists who actively curate sections of the collection.  They may be physically at the OSAC, or may interact with our holdings from their home institutions, via loans or our digital catalog.  Curatorial associates assist the curatorial staff in verifying the determinations and correct nomenclature associated with the specimens.  They also assist in physically arranging the collection to best reflect the needs of the researchers.

 

 

Loan Policies

Individuals may borrow material from OSAC for research purposes by mutual agreement.  Loans are not generally available for teaching, display, exhibition purposes unless special arrangements have been made. 

Loans are typically sent to individuals associated with research institutions (e.g., universities, museums, etc.) with a demonstrable ability to safely house the specimens during the loan period.  Individuals not affiliated with such an institution will need to provide evidence that they have adequate storage facilities (e.g., sealed cabinets, etc.) to safeguard the specimens. 

Loans of more than  20-30 specimens can take time to process, as each specimen must be carefully packed and inventoried.

Specimen loans are for 3 years, or until the completion of the project, whichever is sooner.  Requests for renewals should be made in writing, including e-mail.  Individuals with outstanding loans may be denied additional loans until past material is returned

Specimens loaned to graduate students (MS or PhD) are subject to all normal loan policies, but are co-loaned to their major advisor, who is ultimately responsible for returning the material.  

Students are expected to return material at the completion of their research project or as quickly thereafter as possible.  The OSAC will require an official letter or e-mail from the advisor acknowledging our loan policies and their responsibilities in returning the material.  

 

Recommendation: Advisors should inform students at the start of their project that theses will not be signed unless specimens have been returned.

Individuals who request a loan from the OSAC are implicitly agreeing with our loan policies.  However, we still ask recipients of loans to confirm both that the loan was recieved and that they are aware of, and agree to abide by, our loan policies.  If you have any concerns or special circumstances surrounding your loan, these should be made aware to the curatorial staff beforehand.  

After receiving your loan, please examine the material to assess any damage or losses that may have occurred during transit.  If any damage or missing items are discovered, the OSAC should be informed immediately.  This may be done either through written comments on the printed, and signed loan form, which is then mailed back to the OSAC OR send via email to the curator.

General Acknowledgment: Researchers using OSAC specimens as part of their work are expected to acknowledge the museum in any publications (printed, website, presentation, etc.) in which OSAC specimens and the data on their labels contributed to the overal value or scientific merit of the work.  

The collection should be acknowledged as such:

Oregon State Arthropod Collection (OSAC), OSU Department of Integrative Biology, Corvallis OR. http://osac.oregonstate.edu

Specimen Records and DNA sequencing:

When digitally sharing specimen records (label data) or genomic sequence data from OSAC specimens, researchers are expected to include a reference to the specific OSAC Specimen ID number, such that third parties can access the specimen record in the future.   The most appropriate way to do so is to provide the specimen number in one of the following formats:

(1) OSAC_0000000000
(2) http://osac.oregonstate.edu/sp/OSAC_0000000000

**note: if the OSAC has captured the specimen label data in our database, the second method will provide a direct link to the specimen record, including additional determination and other information (images, metadata, etc).

Removal of the prefix ("OSAC_") and/or the trailing digits (entering "12" instead of "0000000012") is to be avoided.

NOTE: The official acronym of the Oregon State Arthropod Collection is OSAC. 

Other collection or institutional acronyms are not to be used in reference to our material in publication or digitally distributed specimen records - even if other acronyms are used for our material in historical literature or non-OSAC databases. (see Digital Dissemination of Label Data, for further details).

 

OSAC does not, without the permission of the loanee, release loan details or the names, contact information ofindividuals borrowing specimens from the museum.  We are happy to contact a current loanee on behalf of anyone who needs/wishes to access OSAC material that is currently out on loan.

Fragile specimens or particularly rare/valuable specimens may be unavailable for loan or only available through hand delivery.  Researchers may have to visit the collection to view or obtain these.  Any such fragile material loaned via hand delivery must similarly be returned via hand delivery methods.

Borrowing:

-Primary types are made available through normal loan procedures, although the duration of the loan is 1 year.

Designation of OSAC material as types:

-Any OSAC specimens used to create primary or secondary types are to be returned and deposited in OSAC. 

-OSAC recognizes the benefit to sharing secondary type material, and authors wishing to deposit OSAC specimens as paratypes at other institutions should contact us to work out details prior to publication. 

-Also, there are some cases where deposition of the holotype (or syntypes) at an institution other than OSAC is in the interest of the systematics community; in these cases authors are asked to request such as deposition in writing and with justification for their desire to deposit at another repository.

Specimens are not to be transferred to other individuals or moved to another institution, without written permission of the OSAC.  Individuals may be added to a loan request by simply contacting the OSAC (e-mail is sufficient) with the name, contact information of the new individual.  They will be sent a copy of our loan policies to review and agree to, and in so doing, become partially responsible for the care/return of the loan material as well.  The OSAC reserves the right to request that material be returned to the OSAC prior to being transferred if there is any question as to the status/inclusiveness of the material involved.

Specimens to be borrowed must be accompanied by an OSAC-provided written loan form or a digital copy of said loan form, that is to be signed (by the primary loan recipient, see above) and returned within two weeks for material shipped to the recipient, or immediately in the case of specimens hand-carried by the responsible party from OSAC.  This applies to all borrowers, including those within Oregon State University.

Please use our online loan form to request specimen loans:    ONLINE LOAN FORM

Individuals wishing to examine or research large numbers of specimens or unusual requests ('all the ants from a specific region', 'bees from a particular collector') are encouraged to visit the collection.  If this is not possible, such a loan may be split into smaller batches, potentially with only one batch on loan at a time.

The OSAC can accept external funds to hire student curatorial assistants to help expedite large and/or complex loans. If you think this might be of use in your circumstances, please contact the curatorial staff to discuss how this could be arranged.

OSAC discourages the retention of any of its specimens.   In some cases, retentions may be permitted if researchers are identifying unidentified material that includes series of duplicate specimens.  

Specimens that represent: (1) type material, (2) morphologically and geographically unique specimens, (3) scientific voucher specimens, and (4) previously determined material (even if is deemed to be mis-identified) are generally not available for retention.  

Exceptions to the above rules may be made, especially in the context of exchanges that will expand our holdings taxonomically or geographically or that includes type material.  However, any exceptions must be agreed on in writing prior to the return of the loan.

To the best of its ability, OSAC covers the costs associated with preparing, packaging and shipping small and moderate sized loans to researchers.  Researchers receiving material from the OSAC agree in advance to cover the costs associated with preparing, packages and returning the specimens to the museum at the completion of the loan period.  The address to which specimens should be sent is:

                        Oregon State Arthropod Collection

                        ℅ Christopher J. Marshall

Department of Integrative Biology

3029 Cordley Hall, Oregon State University

                        Corvallis, OR 97331

OSAC discourages partial or complete destruction of its specimens but realizes that in many cases it is necessary for research purposes (e.g., dissections, DNA extraction), see below for details.  

**Any destructive sampling must be approved in writing and the appropriate terms agreed on beforehand.

**Type material is not available for destructive sampling except under exceptional circumstances, and only after written permission is obtained.  

 

Complete destruction Like retentions, the complete destruction of specimens (e.g., for chemical analysis), is only permissible when duplicate material (i.e., conspecific specimens of similar sex and life history with identical label data) exists in the collection.

Dissections/Disarticulations Dissections and disarticulations are often necessary.  

  • Individuals should demonstrate that they have experience with techniques of specimen dissection, based on material other than ours.  Every effort should be made to keep all anatomical parts in physical association with the specimen from which they were removed, for example, pointed or placed in genitalia vials on the same pin.
  • If slide mounting is necessary, each slide is to bear a label that includes the text:

                   “ex. OSAC##########” 

                    where “##...” is the 10 digit specimen number that will be present on a label attached to the specimen, for example: “ex OSAC 0011223344”

  • All parts of a specimen, including any slides, are to be returned to the OSAC with the specimens at the completion of the project.


DNA extraction 

  • Whenever possible, DNA is to be extracted in a non-destructive method (e.g., by passively and enzymatically digesting the DNA from the entire specimen, leaving the exoskeleton intact).  
  • In many groups this is less practical than removing or macerating a small piece of tissue or body part.  In these cases:
    • every effort must be made to minimize specimen destruction.
    • appendages selected for removal should be duplicated on the specimen being sampled (e.g., sample the left proleg only if the right proleg is present).

**DNA sequence data obtained from OSAC specimens that are published or uploaded to GenBank should include an explicit link/statement as to the OSAC specimen number in the format “OSAC 0000000000”. (See GenBank protocols for including voucher specimen data with sequence submissions.)

**The majority (75%) of any genomic extract must be returned to OSAC at the completion of the project or the loan period.  This applied to genomic extractions that could be successfully sequenced, as well as those that could not.  These samples should be labeled in such a way as to ensure they can be linked back to their source specimen.

 

Existing specimen labels:

-should not be permanently removed or defaced

-if temporarily removed, labels should be replaced in the same order and whenever possible without adding new pin holes

Determination labels:

-Researchers are strongly encouraged to place determination labels on every specimen that they determine or re-determine

-Determination labels should include the determinor's name

Other types of labels

-please refrain from adding non-determination labels, especially those which bear a unique serial numbers as they lead to confusion and can result in duplicate data records being distributed online.

-if your project’s protocol involves placing a unique number tag on our specimens other than the OSAC specimen number, please read our Specimen Digital Dissemination Policies below

Barcode labels:

-as indicated above, labels bearing another specimen number (even if encoded in a barcode) are not to be added to OSAC specimens, unless they are integrated with a human-readable determination label.

-OSAC barcode labels should be the bottom-most label, with the barcode facing DOWN.  Our museum procedures require that the specimen barcode tag be readable for all specimens when the specimen is picked up and rotated so as to expose the ventral surface of the bottom label.  Thus, we ask that determination labels be placed ABOVE the barcode tag on the specimen.

 

RECOMMENDATION: Researchers who wish to add an additional unique number to an OSAC specimen might consider integrating their number into a determination label.

OSAC will not ship specimens to researchers or institutions in countries where import/export laws or regional postal services are perceived as risks to the specimens and/or their return.  Researchers in these countries are encouraged to visit OSAC directly or make arrangements with another institution at which they might receive/return specimens.

 

Any specimens sent internationally must comply to international, regional and the carrier regulations for shipping scientific specimens.

For specimens preserved in ethanol, loanees should re-package their specimens for return according to IATA regulations: As of Feb 2014 those standards/regulation can be found here: OSU Shipping Guidelines - Feb 2014 

 

ALL international shipments of museum specimens must be shipped with a US Fish & Wildlife 3-177 form.   That form, and instructions for filling it out can be found here: http://www.fws.gov/le/declaration-form-3-177.html

 

Researchers whose studyinvolves removal of symbionts/parasites/commensals, etc from OSAC specimens (e.g., mites, fungi, pollen, endosymbionts, etc.), should review destructive sampling protocols if the search for and/or removal of the commensals threatens the physical integrity of the host specimens.  If you are uncertain, please contact OSAC to get approval for any potentially destructive protocols.  

Commensals are considered 'specimens' in an of themselves, and if removed, should be mounted, and labeled in such a manner as to retain the original host label data (including original collector) as well as bear the OSAC specimen number.

Symbionts removed from OSAC specimens should be returned to the OSAC with the original host material at the completeion of the loan, and any type material created from OSAC specimens, should be deposited in the OSAC.