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 SIO scientists, researchers from other institutions, and donations from private collectors. The holdings are worldwide in extent, with a focus on the eastern Pacific. The Collection has considerable material from Pacific deep sea (>1,000 m) locations, including the Tonga and Mariana Trenches.
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 graduate and undergraduate courses and research, as well as educational outreach programs at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps.