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Submission Instructions

Why am I submitting samples for diagnostic testing?

  • Disease Diagnosis/Outbreak
  • Health Examination for movement or for general health assessment

How do I know what size animals to submit?

  • Number of animals submitted depends on the size of the animals and the reason for submission (disease diagnosis vs health examination)
    1. If the animals are on average less than 1 ½ inch (4 cm) in shell height, then submit slightly more than twice the number to be examined (130 or 55live animals)
    2. If the animals average over 1 ½ inch (4 cm) in shell height, then submit just slightly more than the number to be examined (65/30 live animals)
    3. If very small seed is being submitted, talk with the diagnostician about sample size needed.

How do I know which of the animals in the population to submit?

  • Haphazard/random collection- Used for health examinations. Animals collected without a directed plan. Want an unbiased representation of the population.
  • Hard clams, should all be sampled from the animals in the plot without regard to where in, or on the surface of the plot the animal is found
  • Oysters and other bivalves contained should be selected from several of the bags/upwellers in which the population is being held/grown.
  • Non-random (directed sampling)-usually used when there are disease outbreaks. **Please talk with the diagnostician before submitting these samples – the diagnostician may provide specific instruction based on the problems you are having.**

How do I handle my animals after they have been collected?

  • Animals should be cooled immediately after collection (not exposed to fresh or salt water!) and held in a thermally insulated container.  – Do not put in water but do not let them dehydrate (do not put in a defrost refrigerator in a net bag).
  • Bring (or ship) animals in a cooled state to the diagnostic laboratory within 24 hour (preferable 4-6 hours)—be aware of the seasonal temperatures in your areas and the temperature of the shipping trucks/planes.
  • Animals are almost never submitted in a “fixed” state.  Please contact the diagnostician before “fixing” any tissues. 

***Remember—it takes time to get this work done- don’t wait till 2 weeks before you need results to contact a diagnostic laboratory –  ideally you should contact the laboratory a minimum of  5 weeks ahead of the date your results are needed. At that time, a submission date will be scheduled for your samples.

Please Contact the ADL to set up a sample submission time or to request a special quote:

  • phone: Roxanna Smolowitz at (401) 254-3299
  • email: Roxanna Smolowitz at
  • PLEASE be sure to download, fill out and include the submission form with your animals.  Download a submission form here.