Heron-Allen slide collection

The vast Heron-Allen collection contains 740 slides of foraminifera, including specimens from historic expeditions such as HMS Challenger and Terra Nova. A complete catalogue of the slide collection is available as an Excel spreadsheet.

Edward Heron-Allen (1861-1943) was a remarkable individual of diverse interests. His scientific work was focussed on foraminifera.


The collection includes specimens from around the globe, collected between 1873 and the 1930s. Many notable research expeditions are represented, including:

  • HMS Challenger
  • Discovery I and II
  • Terra Nova
  • William Scoresby
  • Goldseeker
  • Scotia

A complete catalogue of the collection is available as an Excel spreadsheet. 

Access the Heron-Allen collection catalogue

Curation and collection management

Each of the 740 slides contains more than one species. Most, particularly those collected during notable research expeditions, have detailed collection information, such as:

  • latitude and longitude
  • cruise station number
  • written geographic locality
  • date

Associated collections

Specimens were picked from the ocean bottom deposit (OBD) collection and the washed residues from each expedition:

  • Discovery expeditions (462 stations, 782 washed residue samples; 677 OBD accessions)
  • HMS Challenger (185 stations, residue collection; 596 OBD accessions)
  • Goldseeker (240 stations, residue collection)
  • Albatross (127 stations, residue collection; 12 OBD accessions)
  • Terra Nova (71 stations, residue collection; 44 OBD accessions)

Many slide specimens have corresponding bulk samples from the same locations which can be used for future analysis.

Residue samples

There are 508 residue samples from 450 stations in the Heron-Allen and Earland collection of forams. 

The majority come from coastal locations around the British Isles and Western Europe, but also from localities off the coast of Africa (Kermiba) and in the Mediterranean.

Most of the other specimens in the Heron-Allen slide collection came from these residue samples, which can also be re-sampled for further analysis.

Find out more
Slides from the Heron-Allen collection.
Heron-Allen slide collection database

Access a complete catalogue of the Heron-Allen foraminifera slide collection, including specimens collected during historic research voyages.