The Scripps Pelagic Invertebrates Collection (PIC) is among the world's preeminent collections of marine zooplankton, including more than 133,000 whole zooplankton samples containing some 108 specimens. Zooplankton have been collected with nets, pumps, and specialized collecting devices, over depths ranging from the neustonic layer to the bathypelagic. While most samples are stored in formaldehyde, a growing number are available in ethanol, hence suitable for DNA sequencing. Most samples are supplemented with physical and chemical data. The Collection includes worldwide holdings with particular strengths in the Pacific, Indo-West Pacific, and Antarctic regions.In addition to worldwide geographic coverage, the Collection includes the remarkable California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) zooplankton time series, which has surveyed the California Current since 1949.
The collection houses the Fleminger Copepod and Brinton Euphausiid Libraries, which are comprised of ca. 21,500 sorted copepod specimens and the Euphausiids of the World Ocean voucher specimens for all 86 known euphausiid species. These libraries also house reprints and monographs concerning the Copepoda and Euphausiacea. In addition to these libraries, the PIC houses several other sets of important reference specimens, including TaiSoo Park’s and C.O. Esterly’s Copepod reference collections. An additional 8,500 sorted, identified reference specimens are available for other zooplankton; micronekton taxa (e.g. Cephalopoda, Sergestidae, Pteropoda, Scyphozoa, etc.).
Collection data for all holdings are accessible on a searchable database. The PIC supports scientific research by providing specimens for studies on systematics, evolution, molecular genetics, ecology, population dynamics, climate change and other topics. Specimens are available for examination at Scripps and for loan to researchers at recognized institutions (loan policy). The Oceanographic Collections, including the Pelagic Invertebrates Collection, also supports research at Scripps, in addition to, undergraduate and graduate courses through the University of California San Diego (UCSD)/SIO.