Four universities in the southeastern U.S. have stepped forward to house natural history collections from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. The university had previously threatened to destroy more than 80,000 jars of scientific specimens and 450,000 plant specimens if new homes could not be located.
“[T]he specimens will remain available to researchers nationwide as they will be housed in institutions that can preserve their scientific worth. None of the specimens will be destroyed,” said Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael A. Camille.
University of Louisiana at Monroe administrators reached out to 32 other universities, 18 of which submitted proposals to receive one or more of the collections. A team of museum curators and administrators from the university evaluated the proposals.
The fish collection is heading to a consortium of institutions lead by Tulane University. The University of Texas at Arlington will take the reptile and amphibian collection. The insect collection is going to Mississippi State University. The Botanical Research Institute of Texas in Ft. Worth will take the botanical collection.
The specimens had been stored in an athletic facility, which is scheduled for construction in mid-July. That building project necessitated the removal of the specimens.
The transfer of the specimens will likely be completed in August.