Micropaleontological Reference Centers (MRCs)
MRC Guidelines for Use
Most MRC use has been by visit to the nearest MRC institution. However, material may also be loaned. All MRCs and satellite MRCs have agreed to this common policy for the loan of MRC samples:
- The loan of MRC samples for the purpose of research and advanced education is permitted (SciMP Recommendation 99-2-7). This includes work as part of a PhD dissertation and postdoctoral research. For graduate students (doing research for Masters degrees or their equivalents) a letter of recommendation from the advising professor is required and the loan is formally given to the supervisor. High schools (Gymnasium level in Europe) and lower level schools (and their equivalents) are prohibited from getting loans of MRC materials (decicided by the MRC curatorial party, Washington D.C., 22-24 May 1999).
- Loan requests are considered on a case by case basis, and must be fully justified with the MRC being demonstrably the only realistic source of the needed materials. The IODP core repositories should be the first port of call for desired samples, and only if that means for some reason proves unworkable or unreasonable should MRCs be considered.
- Material is formally given on loan to academic or research institutions or museums. Persons who are affiliated with an institution or museum may forward a loan request. The institute/department director should co-sign any loan agreement before MRC curators agree to ship.
- All MRC material sent by MRCs is on loan only and must eventually be returned to the MRCs; loaned material may not be permanently incorporated into private-, working, or other collections outside the MRCs.
- All MRC material is on loan and remains the property of the U.S. government. This includes unprepared and prepared material as well as any residues remaining from preparation efforts.
- A loaning request should be addressed to the nearest MRC possible so that it would be possible to exert some influence over samples, if necessary.
- The duration of loans of MRC material is to be determined by the MRC curator and can be up to a maximum of 12 months (with the possibility of an extension after consultation with the appropriate MRC).
- The amount of material to be loaned at any given time is limited to 1 box (100 slides) for radiolarians, diatoms, and nannofossils. In the case of planktic foraminiferal residues, this amount is to be decided on a case by case basis by the individual MRC curator who is responsible for the splitting of samples.
- Microscopic slide preparations (i.e., smear slides and slides for radiolaria and diatoms) can safely be packed in commercially available slide boxes. The curator of the particular MRC is responsible for adequate packing procedures for shipment, the inclusion of a sample distribution list, and a loan agreement form to be signed by the borrower and returned to the lending MRC curator.
- In case of loan of residue samples (planktic foraminifera) it is recommended to produce splits so that the loaning MRC still has an unaltered part of the sample, and whereby the other split ("working split") is loaned to the scientist.
- Scientists borrowing planktic foraminiferal residues from an MRC are allowed to pick specimens from "working splits" and mount them on slides for photography or SEM work. The picked specimens are not to become the personal property of the scientist doing the picking (see points 4 and 5). Any other special preparation of samples should be discussed in advance with the responsible MRC curator.
- Scientists should return the residue from which they picked specimens with a brief description of what has been removed. They should also return the picked (mounted) specimens on the slide, together with proper documentation (reprint copy of the publication based on the loan, species identifications, measurements, images, electronic data).
- It is recommended that the picked specimens not be placed back in the original container from where they were taken but rather to return them in separate, properly labelled vials or as mounted specimens. In this way MRC curators always know how a sample split was altered and can later reconstruct the original sample composition.
- When the loan is due all material must be returned in good and complete condition to the MRC where it came from. In case of loss or damage of the material the loaning person/institution is responsible for a complete replacement.
- Our mission is to curate the collections so that they remain useful for the future. If there are special cases that require an exception from these rules, contact the MRC lead curator who will open up discussion among the various MRC curators. In this way research is not hindered and the curation of the MRC collections is not compromised or harmed by negligent or careless procedures.
On behalf of the MRC curatorial party, 8 November 2000.