The collections of Dr. Albert Tuttle, OSU's first zoologist, were the beginning of the OSUM Fish Division circa 1874. Officially recognized in 1895, the fish collections grew and moved successively from the attic of the Botany and Zoology Building, to OSU's Biological Station at Cedar Point, Ohio State Historical Society, Franz Theodore Stone Laboratory on Gibraltar Island, the basement of Sullivant Hall, to the current location at 1315 Kinnear Road in the Museum of Biological Diversity. The fish collections are primarily used as a resource for systematics research and publication, laboratory teaching at the university level and for public education. In addition, they are also used as a basis for comparative studies, geographic range information, ecological assessments and environmental impact statements. Voucher specimens are deposited with the collection by a number of researchers and agencies to anchor reports and publications.
The collection of fishes consists of the following components:
• Research Collection of Fishes
- Whole specimens stored in 70% ethanol
- Osteological Collection of Fishes - Cabinet stored, dry skeletal preparations, and cleared and stained preparations of specimens stored in glycerin and ethanol solution.
• Teaching Collection of Fishes -Ethanol stored representatives of all 180 species of Ohio fishes, plus representatives from the major families outside of Ohio.
• A repository of material for genetic research, consisting of fish tissue collections in 95% ethanol stored at -80°C.
• The subfossil fish collection from archaeological sites in Ohio, collected by and stored in collaboration with the Ohio History Connection (formerly the Ohio Historical Society), was moved to Ohio History Connection facilities in 2018 where they are curated and used in research by the OHC archaeologists.
Much of the collection (approximately 50%) is catalogued on computer, so all specimen catalog numbers and their collection records are entered using a program customized for The Ohio State University Collection. These records are accessible from our online database.
Total number of fish specimen vouchers cataloged on computer stands at more than 121,500 lots which represents approximately 1.5 million specimens. Additionally, there are over 650,000 non-voucher records from collections of fishes in the State of Ohio (primarily from Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's Surface Water Division, Ohio Division of Wildlife, and several Fish Division researchers) that are documented in our computer database.