Photo: Andrew Waits



The Burke Museum’s Ichthyology Collection maintains a large archival collection of more than 11 million preserved fish specimens from around the world, but primarily from the North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea and from freshwater habitats of the Pacific Northwest.

Collection Highlights:

  • By far the largest fish collection in North America (by number of specimens)
  • Only fish collection of any size in Washington state
  • One of the largest, if not the largest, collections of fish eggs and larvae in the world
  • One of the largest, if not the largest, collections of fish otoliths in the world

The Ichthyology Collection, its staff, students and resources play an important role in undergraduate and graduate education across campus, more specifically within the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. Beyond the University of Washington campus, our school outreach program is very popular. We also provide a variety of tours for other interested parties, and field many inquiries from the press and public concerning mysterious fishes and other ichthyological matters.

Our primary mission is to promote teaching and research in the areas of ichthyology, fisheries biology, aquatic biology, biodiversity and conservation, and to provide a source of ichthyological information for the public. While we maintain a large and diverse collection of ichthyological materials primarily for research, we also make material readily available to visitors to the collection and through a program of gifts, loans and exchanges. Learn more on our Services & Policies page.

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