Vouchering for Science

A voucher is a specimen that is permanently kept and maintained in a collection and serves as evidence of a species present at a place and time. A voucher can be thought of as a scientific receipt documenting that an organism was found at a particular location on a particular date. Voucher specimens are most often used to verify identifications, but also serve as an invaluable resource for other scientific studies.

Voucher your specimens with us!

Our collections provide a baseline of biodiversity for research projects. Vouchering physical specimens into permanent and managed collections like those at the Delaware Museum of Nature and Science ensures a proper documentation of biodiversity and consistency of research.

To voucher a specimen at the museum, please contact the Collections & Research staff.

For mollusks and other invertebrates:

For birds and mammals:

About the Collections

The collections at the Delaware Museum of Nature and Science consists of over 2 million mollusk specimens and more than 113,000 bird specimens. Many have been vouchered over the years to help provide a permanent reference of organisms. After they are identified, they are cataloged and given a number for easy access and sharing through virtual databases.

Documenting and digitizing the data enables scientists from all over the world to use our collections for their research. Here are two examples of vouchered specimens:

A search for this osprey skull (Pandion haliaetus) through an online data portal by its catalog number (DMNH 82409) reveals it was collected in 1994 near Bethany Beach, DE, and vouchered to the museum.

The bird skin, skeleton, and tissue collections are fully databased and searchable online through iDigBioVertNet and GBIF.org

This ribbed mussel (Geukensia demissa) specimen (DMNH 231836) was collected in the Mispillion Harbor in Milford, DE in 2006.

The mollusk collection is digitized on iDigBio and InvertEBase.

These Brachioteuthis beanii came from the Gully Marine Protected Area off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. They were part of 44 lots of 245 specimens that were vouchered at the museum in 2007 and continue to be used in research.