The MVZ collections form the core of the Museum's research, conservation, and education programs. The
collections, which number over 640,000 specimens, constitute a unique and permanent record of the
past and present distributions of many terrestrial vertebrate species. Taxonomic and geographic
representation of specimens reflects current and past research interests of the Museum's faculty, staff, and
students. The historic emphasis on collecting series of specimens that serve as the bases for studies in
evolution, morphology, behavior, ecology, and population genetics continues to the present.
The Museum also houses a collection of over 50,000 tissue samples for use in molecular analyses. The
majority of these were taken in conjunction with voucher specimens which can be referred to for verification
Complementing these collections is an extensive archive of photographs, correspondence, and field
notebooks that date to the Museum's founding in 1908. These materials contain information about specimens
and changing environmental conditions, primarily in California and the western United States, that is not
recorded on specimen labels or catalog cards.