Sample Request Guidelines

Submission of Sample Requests

Statement of Proposed Research:  All requests should be accompanied by a concise statement describing the study for which samples are needed, including methods or procedures to be used, the specific problem or objective of the study, and the names of collaborating investigators. If samples from the same cores have been used in similar studies, be sure to indicate why you are duplicating previous work or conducting supportive studies.

Continuing Research Projects:  Subsequent sample requests during the same investigation should include a statement that describes progress of the study and justification for additional material. Approval of an initial request does not constitute approval for subsequent access to the core or dredge collections.

Sample Location and Position:  Be sure to specify ship, cruise number, core number, and sample depth in the core. Give alternative cores or sampling intervals in cores whenever possible. Surface sediment (core top) material is frequently requested and is typically taken from the tops of trigger cores. However, given that both trigger and piston core tops are a limited and valuable source of material, requests for such samples are especially scrutinized. Many of our older trigger cores no longer have any core top material.

Number of Samples:  Our policy is to not send large numbers of samples at the beginning of an investigation. An initial investigation can often determine if more samples will be required later and these will be supplied if necessary. For example, do not initially ask for "samples at 5 cm intervals" from a number of cores, unless you can justify why such close sampling is necessary or be certain that all the cores will be suitable for your purposes. The curator can work closely with you to develop an efficient sampling strategy. In addition, if you are requesting a large amount of samples, more than 200, we ask that you make arrangements to visit us and take the samples yourself.

Size of Samples:  Please indicate the minimum sample size or volume necessary. In general, we do not supply samples larger than 5 cc (about 8-12 grams depending upon sediment type); larger sample volumes need to be justified. Samples from trigger weight cores and tops of piston cores are restricted to 1 cc (2 gm) volumes. Wider diameter trigger weight cores are now being obtained and this restriction may be lessened in the future, except for samples from the tops of these cores. Larger sample volumes may also be available from box cores.

Bulk Samples:  We have established a collection of flow-in material (disturbed portions of piston cores) that is available where large volumes of sediment are needed for specific research projects such as flume studies or instrument calibration.

Teaching and Museum Collections:  Most samples to be used for educational purposes will be taken from flow-in. Samples for displays are available within the constraint that priority be given to scientific research.

Samples Requiring Special Consideration:  Some cores, having been heavily sampled in the past, no longer have material available for sampling or it is in critically short supply. Requests for samples from such cores will be especially scrutinized for justification. Please note that all core samples from cruises prior to 1968 (VEMA 1-25; CONRAD 1-12) were temporarily stored in galvanized tubes and thus all of this material is might be seriously contaminated for heavy-metal geochemical studies. Additional contamination may be present for cruises through VEMA 34 and CONRAD 23 from permanent storage in galvanized trays. Also note that most VEMA and CONRAD cores are stored dry at room temperature. All cores taken since 1985 are stored wet in D-tubes at 4.5°C (40°F).

Dredge Samples:  Policies and procedures for dredge sample requests are the same as those outlined above except pertaining to size of sample. This necessarily is contingent upon amount of material acquired in the dredge haul. Materials for educational and museum collections are available, including manganese nodules. Please do not ask for large numbers of such samples unless you can provide a clear justification for their need.


Processing of Sample Requests

Screening Committee:  All sample requests are reviewed by a L-DEO sampling committee composed of five members (currently Robert F. Anderson, James D. Hays, Sydney Hemming, William D'Andrea and Maureen Raymo). Requests involving continuing research projects are also subject to committee approval. If you feel that a personal or scientific conflict of interest exists with any member of this committee, please contact the Curator and/or Repository Director and we will work out a sample review process that respects your scientific interests and intellectual property.

Sampling:  It is preferred that the staff of the LDCR undertakes the actual sampling, however, if you prefer to do your own sampling (or are requesting a large amount of samples), we can give training and offer our assistance. Sampling tools and plastic bags for sediment are available. If you do visit, please wait for our response regarding your request before making travel plansYou are welcome to use the repository facilities including the library of published reports, core descriptions, core photographs, etc. Computers can be made available for e-mail, searches, and data entry pertaining to your sampling.

Shipment of Samples:  Samples are normally shipped within 2 weeks of approval by the screening committee.


Responsibilities of Persons Receiving Samples

Citation:  We request that you acknowledge the Lamont-Doherty Core Repository in all publications resulting from use of our samples (e.g.: Sample material used in this project was provided by the Lamont-Doherty Core Repository of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory). Please also use our alpha-numeric sample identifications in published reports, or provide a clear correspondence between another system and our system.

Additional Use of Samples:  Recipients of samples should not allow research projects that differ substantially from projects originally proposed in sample requests to be undertaken by themselves or others without first obtaining approval from the Curator.

Copies of Published Reports:  One electronic copy of all published reports, papers, or data where L-DEO samples have been used should be sent to the Curatorial Office (address below) for inclusion in the Repository library and in the computer listing of publications. This helps us track the effectiveness of NSF’s investment in national sample archiving facilities as well as justify future sample requests by an investigator.

Return of Unused Samples:  Materials issued by this repository are considered on loan. We therefore request unused sample material and residues be returned with information on laboratory techniques that were used on said samples. These samples can often be used for filling other sample requests (we have over 100,000 such samples on file). Paleomagnetic plugs should also be returned with a description of laboratory techniques applied to the plugs (e.g., thermal demagnetization, etc.).

For further information contact the Curator, [email protected]



(updated May 19, 2020)