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About the collections

shark head

Florida Biodiversity Collection

Florida Biodiversity Collection (FBC) staff members with the FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) manage and maintain research and reference collections of preserved biological specimens and associated ecological databases. The specimens represent vouchers from biological assessment studies--a voucher specimen serves as proof of a species as it was reported in a research project and as insurance should there be any changes in the taxonomy of the organism. The specimens also serve as sources for research material and educational exhibits. These collections of fishes and invertebrates contain approximately 162,000 cataloged lots of about 12,700 taxa and more than 575,000 lots of larval fishes.

crab specimen

The three collections managed by Specimen Information Services are:

The information gained from the study of these specimens has resulted in more than 300 scientific publications that document Florida's diverse marine biota. These collections are recognized by the Association of Systematic Collections as a regional research resource. The Invertebrate Collection is recognized by the National Science Foundation as a regional repository for invertebrate voucher specimens, and FWRI is the designated repository for the SEAMAP Ichthyoplankton Collection.

These collections are a permanent historical record of Florida's marine biodiversity with multiple applications. This is particularly relevant to ensuring quality control of taxonomic identifications made in research projects.

SIS staff members are involved in research with local, national, and foreign scientists. SIS staff members also loan select specimens to educators to assist them in giving students a greater understanding of Florida's complex ecosystems.