The S. M. Tracy Herbarium (TAES/TAMU) is open to visitors of all types: professional, amateur botanists, students, and the general public. However, the use of specimens, equipment, and facilities is strictly governed by the following policies and procedures. Anyone needing access outside normal operating hours should contact the Director or Curator via telephone, or e-mail. Due to staff on-campus teaching and research commitments, it is strongly suggested that you call before coming to the herbarium.
Policies and Procedures
ACCESS AND USE OF THE COLLECTION
All visitors are requested to sign the Visitor’s Registration book before proceeding to the receptionist’s office. No visitors are allowed to handle specimens without proper orientation and instruction, unless such permission is expressly granted by the Director or Curator. Before anyone can utilize the specimens in the herbarium, there must be a clear and valid need for such use. All examination of specimens must be conducted in the herbarium, and specimens cannot be removed from the premises without appropriate permission. Upon completion of examination, all specimens should be returned to their proper folder and cabinet unless the specimens are to be borrowed on loan, or are in need of repair or annotation.
To aid in the control and elimination of pests, all specimens brought into the herbarium for identification, as voucher deposits, or any other reason, must be frozen prior to entering the building. If specimens have not been frozen prior to arrival, herbarium staff will place them in an ultra-cold freezer for a minimum of 48 hours before processing the specimens. Keep this delay in mind when requesting an identification(s) that is urgent.
As a publicly funded institution, TAES does not charge for identifications of plants provided they are being used for research, educational, or similar purposes. However, identifications which are part of a commercial endeavor are not provided free of charge. Fees for identification of specimens must be agreed upon in advance by contacting either the Director or Curator.
It is the policy of the S.M. Tracy Herbarium to provide, free of charge, access to all specimens and related data. However, access to data from threatened and endangered species is restricted. When a request for such data is made, the Director or Curator must be provided a written request detailing the nature of the information requested and the end-use for the data. Sensitive data will only be provided to verifiable persons, with a valid use for the data.
TAES is committed to supporting research in all areas of science. As such, TAES is eager to provide space for deposition of vouchers, provided specimens are properly obtained and documented. Specimens obtained through staff collections, student collections, special projects, exchange, gifts, and adoption of orphaned collections are welcomed. Agreements for deposition of vouchers should be pursued well in advance of the need. If the number of vouchers to be deposited is significant, TAES may request arrangements be made to obtain additional storage equipment, or adequate funding be provided by the depositor. In general, small numbers can be deposited without such requirements.
All specimens deposited at TAES must have been obtained in compliance with applicable state, federal, and international laws. Specimens collected on foreign soil that are endangered according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) must be accompanied by collection and export permits from the country of origin.
Loan requests should be directed to the Curator, and must indicate the taxa (and any applicable synonyms) requested, geographic distribution (if applicable), reason for the loan (research, identification, verification, etc.) and the name of the investigator. Loan requests are granted to institutions only, and requests must indicate the institution has adequate storage space and procedures in place to protect TAES/TAMU specimens from damage or destruction while on loan. Specimens may not be loaned to a third party without expressed written permission from the Curator. Institutions not listed in Index Herbarium will be considered in exceptional circumstances by contacting the Curator, well in advance. Loans of herbarium specimens are for one year intervals, renewals may be available upon request.
All specimens borrowed as part of a loan must be annotated prior to return to TAES. All annotation labels should be printed on archival paper and affixed with an archival adhesive. No part of any specimen, accession number, herbarium stamp, original collector’s label, or other annotations (affixed or written directly on the sheet) may be obscured. Annotations should indicate the accepted taxon name, the name and affiliation of the determiner, and the date of determination. Type specimens should be annotated using the basionym and original place of publication, in addition to the previous information. TAES should be cited in any publications resulting from research utilizing these collections. Reprints or copies of publications utilizing TAES specimens are requested and these should be sent to TAES (at the address above) as soon as they become available. Specimens should be cited using the acronym TAES, for specimens bearing an S.M. Tracy Herbarium stamp, and TAMU for those with a Department of Biology Herbarium stamp.
Destructive sampling of TAES/TAMU specimens is allowed under specific conditions and permission must be obtained from the Director or Curator in advance. The following guidelines must be followed when sampling any herbarium specimen:
- Before considering sampling of herbarium specimens, it is expected the investigator will have exhausted all efforts to sample material from non-herbarium sources.
- Sampling of Type Specimens is strictly prohibited.
- Historical collections and collections made before 1900 may not be sampled.
- Sampling can only be done when adequate material is available.
- The sampling procedure must not diminish the scientific value of the specimen.
- Material must be removed for DNA, pollen, spore, other anatomical (vegetative and reproductive), and other studies with care.
- Any given specimen may not be sampled a second time for the same study.
- Destructive sampling should be kept to a minimum, and preferably material contained in fragment packets should be utilized first.
- A label should be affixed to every sheet sampled, and should indicate: the name of the individual removing the sample, the date of the removal, and the type of sample removed(leaf, root, fruit, etc.), in addition to the location on the specimen from where the sample was taken.
- Locations of any preparations (slides, images, etc.) made from such samples, and not destroyed during analysis, should be indicated.
- Any genetic sequence derived from TAES specimens should be deposited at GenBank, and appropriate GenBank accession numbers should be forwarded to TAES and noted on specimen annotations.
- The S.M. Tracy Herbarium must be acknowledged in any publication resulted from the data or images generated from the sampling. A copy of the publication(s) must be provided to the Herbarium.