The CUMV Fish Collection was established shortly after the founding of the university in 1865. Many of our earliest specimens were collected by well-known researchers such as David Starr Jordan
, Carl Eigenmann, Charles Frederick Hartt and Seth Meek. By 1935, the collection contained only 3,000 lots, but during the following 35 years, Edward Raney and his students built the finest collection of eastern North American freshwater fishes in existence today. In Collette and Lachner's (1976) report on fish collections in the United States
, the CUMV Fish Collection ranked thirteenth among all collections and fourth among National Resource Centers in North America. Although there is worldwide representation of both marine and freshwater species, the bulk of the collection is strongly representative of freshwater fishes from eastern North America and has formed the basis for numerous systematic works on the North American fish fauna. Much of the material is in large geographic series, and many sites have been sampled repeatedly through extended periods of time. Some specimens are from the original New York State Biological Survey (1926–1939). Many of our collections are from the highly industrialized Northeast and Middle Atlantic states and thus document earlier faunas in habitats now greatly altered, and we have repeated samples through time from many of these localities. The primary activities for the last several years has been collection building efforts directed toward African freshwater fishes.