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Destructive Sampling Policy


Policy Statement and Authorization Form

The policy detailed below is meant to help us balance preservation of the integrity of herbarium specimens with their utilization for scientific research. Decisions concerning destructive sampling of collections will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Requests for removal of samples from herbarium specimens should be addressed to the Director of the Herbarium, The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY 10458-5126, U.S.A. Please read this policy statement, complete the agreement outlined below, and attach it to your request.

As a rule, no material may be removed from specimens without prior consent of the Director of the Herbarium or a designated member of the Herbarium staff. Permission for removal of material, when given, is contingent upon adherence to the following guidelines:

1. Leaf material, pollen, spores, fungal tissue, bryophyte stem segments, etc. may be removed from specimens only when there is adequate material available. Care must be taken not to damage the scientific value of the specimen.

2. Pollen should be removed from no more than one flower per sheet. If possible, the whole flower should not be damaged or removed.

3. Material may not be removed from type collections, from historical specimens, or from taxa represented in the herbarium by less than five collections, except in rare instances, and then only following approval by a designated staff member.

4. Each specimen must be annotated, indicating the type of material removed, the date of removal, the name and institutional affiliation of the person who removed the sample, the type of study, and the identification of the specimen accepted by the researcher. Labels for these purposes are available at NY for those working here.

5. Material may not be removed from a herbarium sheet for a second time, if the nature of the study is the same (i.e., pollen material for SEM, leaf material for DNA analysis, etc.).

6. For anatomical and morphological studies, the researcher must return to The New York Botanical Garden Herbarium either a duplicate permanent pollen, spore, or leaf slide or an SEM photograph. The slide or photo should be labeled with the name of the taxon, the collector's name and number, the country of origin of the voucher sheet from which the sample was obtained, and the method of preparation of the slide (e.g., acetolysis, etc.).

7. For molecular studies, sampling requests should indicate the amount of material needed. Specimens must be annotated with the identification for the specimen accepted by the researcher and GenBank accession numbers. Results must be reported in the form of a list of specimens sampled (taxon name, collector's name and collection number) and an indication of the negative or positive results obtained from the sample. Samples obtained in this way must be properly stored and curated, and material may be provided to others for further study. The researcher must provide NY with location and storage method of any left-over sample. Storage facility must be permanent. The New York Botanical Garden reserves the right to request DNA or sequence material originally obtained from NY specimens.

8. For large or complicated requests for material for DNA extractions or other studies, researchers will be encouraged to come to The New York Botanical Garden Herbarium, using their own funds, to select specimens for sampling. Removal of material from specimens selected by the researcher will be made with supervision and approval of appropriate staff. Not only does this reduce the work required of the Herbarium staff, but it allows the investigator to make more precise selections based on specimen age, material in packets, etc.

9. The New York Botanical Garden Herbarium maintains no records on the history or treatment of the collections; materials are supplied with no warranty of any kind.

10. Use of specimens from the New York Botanical Garden Herbarium must be cited in any resulting publication, a copy of which should be sent here.

If you agree to sample materials under the above conditions, please sign a copy of this form and return it with your sampling request to the Director of the Herbarium, The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY 10458-5126; or as an email attachment for the Cryptogamic herb: or for the Phanerogamic herb:

Printed Name of Institution


Printed Name of Researcher and email or other contact information


Signature of Researcher ______________________________________________________________________

Date _____________________________ NY Loan Number ____________________________

Taxa to be Sampled (species name)___________________________________________________

Nature of Project (anatomy, pollen, DNA, etc.)__________________________________________________


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