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Genetic Resources Collections

Most tissues are associated with vouchers in the Burke specimen collection and were collected by Burke graduate students and staff during privately funded expeditions, or were salvaged with support from the National Science Foundation. The taxonomic breadth of the collection reflects our strong commitment to general (in addition to research-driven) collecting.

Regional strengths include: 1) birds and mammals from the Pacific Northwest, 2) North Pacific and New Zealand seabirds, 3) birds from Russia, Mongolia, and Tuva, 4) birds from the South Pacific (especially the Solomon Islands and Australia), and 5) birds from Mexico, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Argentina, and South Africa.

In the field, tissues are stored in liquid nitrogen whenever possible or in ethanol or lysis buffer where liquid nitrogen is impractical. At the museum, tissues are stored in five -80°C ultracold freezers. Each tissue is marked with a computer-generated label that provides basic information about the tissue's associated voucher specimen, and is cross-linked to its voucher specimen in our database.

You can explore our catalogued tissue holdings by searching the appropriate database and selecting "records with tissue samples."
Search the ornithology database
Search the mammalogy database

Genetic resources collection manager
Genetic resources collection manager Sharon Birks removing tissue samples from a -80C ultracold freezer
Photo by Jeff Bradley

expedition in Panama
Vanya Rohwer and Rob Faucett transfer liquid nitrogen during a field expedition in Panama
Photo by Sharon Birks