The Vantuna Research Group has been actively cataloguing and maintaining a marine biodiversity collection over the past six decades. The specimens in our collection contribute to a wide range of scientific research and play a crucial role in undergraduate coursework.

Our Collections

The Vantuna Research Group’s biodiversity collection includes fish, algae and invertebrate specimens. We are currently working on an NSF-funded project to digitize our holdings and integrate them with the Moore Laboratory of Zoology (MLZ) collection so they will be fully searchable online through Arctos, VertNet, and iDigBio. Search our available records through the MLZ Arctos Portal (you can select our different collections under the drop-down menu under Identifiers).

Fish: Totaling nearly 600,000 specimens, our fish collection is the focal point of our biodiversity collection. The fish collection includes whole organisms (28,000), larvae (550,000), tissue samples (6,000), otoliths (19,000), gonads, and vertebrae. The collection has global coverage but the vast majority of specimens are from the Southern California Bight and together encompass the full spatial extent of the southern California rocky reef ecosystem. Most of the larvae specimens were collected as part of an ongoing study of the ichthyoplankton of King Harbor, Redondo Beach, and represent over 45 years of monthly collections—this is one of the largest and longest time-series collections of nearshore fish larvae in the region.

Algae: Our collection of algae and seagrasses contains about 300 specimens. Geographic coverage is global with an emphasis on local Southern California species. The collection includes donations from the personal herbaria of T. Gertrude Williamson and Cora Mae Life and Albert C. Life.

Invertebrates: Our marine invertebrate collection is comprised of over 100,000 infaunal specimens from Santa Monica Bay.

Observational Collections: We are in the process of making observational data from our long-term monitoring projects available online through the Arctos portal. This includes CRANE (Cooperative Research and Assessment of Nearshore Ecosystems) subtidal reef monitoring data from 2004-present and data from fish surveys at King Harbor, Redondo Beach and Rocky Point, Palos Verdes, which the VRG has been performing quarterly since 1974.

Specimen Loans

Specimens are available for loan to qualified researchers at other museums or institutions that have the facilities to properly store loaned specimens. Please contact us for all loan inquiries.