The Scripps Institution of Oceanography Benthic Invertebrate Collection houses more than 45,000 lots, containing more than 750,000 specimens. This material represents the collecting efforts of Scripps scientists, researchers from other institutions, and donations from private collectors.
While the holdings are worldwide in extent, they are primarily from the eastern Pacific. The Collection has considerable material from Pacific deep sea (>1,000 m) locations, including the Tonga and Mariana Trenches. Samples were collected with a variety of devices from intertidal hand collecting and SCUBA to rock dredges and trawls.
The major holdings of the Collection are in mollusks and crustaceans, including an extensive barnacle collection from worldwide locations. The Collection contains more than 150 type lots used in species descriptions. About 40,000 lots are cataloged with 33,000+ entries existing in an electronic database. The Collection houses a systematic reference library and reprint collection.
The Collection supports scientific research by providing specimens for study on the taxonomy, evolution, and ecology of benthic invertebrates. Specimens are available for examination at Scripps and for loan to researchers at recognized institutions worldwide, consistent with our loan policies. The Collection serves as a long-term repository for specimens, including material properly preserved for genomic studies.
Collection materials are also used to support educational programs at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps and as resources for graduate courses and research at Scripps.