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Benthic Invertebrates

Benthic Invertebrates

The Benthic Invertebrate Collection (SIO-BIC) is a research repository housing more than 52,000 lots, representing more than 800,000 specimens and more than 7,600 species from marine environments worldwide.

The Collection includes extensive holdings from deep-sea environments (>1,000 m), chemosynthetic ecosystems (hydrothermal vents, hydrocarbon seeps, whale falls), Antarctica, and the eastern Pacific. Materials have been collected through a range of techniques, from intertidal hand collecting and SCUBA to trawls and deep-sea submersibles.

The major holdings of BIC are in annelids, mollusks, and crustaceans, including the eminent barnacle collection of Emeritus Curator Prof. Bill Newman. The Collection contains more than 700 type lots (including more than 120 holotypes) and considerable material properly preserved for genomic studies (95% ethanol and ultracold storage). The searchable electronic database, including a map search feature and specimen images, is publicly accessible online. This dataset is also available through the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). 

BIC supports scientific research by providing specimens for study of the taxonomy, biogeography, and evolution of benthic invertebrates, including the description of many new species. Specimens are available for examination at Scripps and for loan to researchers at recognized institutions worldwide, consistent with our loan policies. The Collection staff and materials also support education and public outreach via undergraduate and graduate classes, school programs, guest lectures, artist collaborations, and exhibits and events at the Birch Aquarium.


Explore the Benthic Invertebrate Collection with Curator Greg Rouse

This video was created for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Master of Advanced Studies in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation (MAS MBC) Film Festival 2018 by students Keighley Lane, Jarrod Ver-steeg, Justin Cruz-leduc, Jeongim Mok, and Cynthia Hsia.



Name a Species: A Unique Giving Opportunity

Every year, the Benthic Invertebrate Collection's Curator, students, and scientific collaborators discover dozens of new species. The scientist who first describes a newfound animal is entitled to name it, and we invite the public to share in this process by choosing a name for selected new species that we discover.

For example, donors may choose a name for themselves or in honor of a friend or family member. We will then formally introduce the name in the scientific publication that establishes the new species permanently.

The cost to name Scripps' newly discovered species starts at $5,000. Donors who name a species will receive a framed print of their named organism, as well as a copy of the scientific publication in which it is first described.

For further details and a gallery of the currently available species, please visit: