NOAA National Benthic Inventory

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Benthic Specimen Collection

The NBI Benthic Specimen Collection was donated to the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in May 2019 and is no longer maintained by NOAA. To request additional information, please see contact information found on the Contact Us page.

photoThe NBI's Benthic Specimen Collection (NBSC) is an object-based scientific collection focused on marine and estuarine benthic macroinvertebrates. The collection consists of two main components: voucher specimens and sorted lots.

Voucher specimens are usually a single individual which represent each species collected in the area of interest for a particular project. Sorted lots comprise the total of individuals collected at a single station replicate. In addition, the NOAA maintains an electronic collection database which tracts the placement and use of all physical specimens held in the collection.

The NBSC acquires and maintains benthic invertebrate specimens from projects completed by NOAA and partnering institutions in estuarine and coastal-ocean areas of the United States.

Specimens are cataloged and organized systematically in the manner of a natural history collection. The goal of the NOAA is to preserve these specimens as an evidence base for research conducted by the agency.

Objectives of the NBI Benthic Specimen Collection

Key objectives of the NBSC include:

  • Catalog global biodiversity by maintaining physical specimens, and associated electronic data, to confirm the presence of species in a particular place and time;
  • Make specimens available, through loans, for taxonomic and systematic research to the broader scientific community;
  • Provide specimens as a research tool for the processing of new benthic samples and for continuous verification of species identifications in on-going coastal assessment studies;
  • Maintain a library of literature focused on specimens held within the collection.

Requesting Specimens from the Collection

Specimens from the collection are available for loan to research and educational institutions for the use of the resident research staff. If interested in requesting specimens from the collection, please review the NBSC loan policy, and feel free to contact us for more information regarding loans of material.