Marine Biodiversity Center

Most species on Earth are animals, and most animals are invertebrates, so most of the Earth’s astonishing biodiversity is in the invertebrate animals. Unlike us, invertebrates are animals without a backbone. In size they range from microscopic copepods to the giant squid. In shape and lifestyle they present stunning variety: from worms to crabs, jellyfish to sponges, sea stars to squid. All of these are marine invertebrates.

The Marine Biodiversity Center is the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County's (NHMLAC) core facility for the curation of these remarkable animals. Collections come to the museums from a variety of research projects and government agencies. These collections document and archive the particular diversity of the invertebrate fauna both regionally and worldwide. Preserving the specimens and the data associated with them is a challenging and ongoing responsibility of the museums.

The Marine Biodiversity Center’s staff is dedicated to evaluating the incoming collections, applying the most appropriate curatorial procedures for the specimens, and organizing the collection information. Curated specimens may be maintained by the Marine Biodiversity Center itself or transferred to the holdings of other sections within the museums.


The MBC collection supports a wide range of research topics.  To request a loan or find out more about specific holdings, visit our research site or contact us at


iNaturalist Pt. Fermin landing page
DISCO Project
Vernal pool crustaceans: The Natural History Museum is an official repository for specimens of vernal pool crustaceans (including endangered and threatened species) collected as part of California state-permitted surveys. 
Collaboratory: A collaborative work space at NHM that serves as a venue for interinstitutional and interdisciplinary collaboration between NHM and external researchers.

View our Collections

Our genetic collections are publicly available at Genbank NCBI and BOLD (Barcode of Life Data System).

Our Staff

Kathy Omura
Collections Manager, Marine Biodiversity Center

Kathy was the first person to join the Marine Biodiversity Center when it opened in 2000. She earned a B.S. in Wildlife Management from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and came to the Natural History Museum with 13 years of marine invertebrate taxonomy experience.

Jenessa Wall
Assistant Collections Manager, Marine Biodiversity Center

Jenessa manages the specimen and data curation for the Marine Biodiversity Center collection.

Regina Wetzer, Ph.D.
Curator and Director, Marine Biodiversity Center

Dr. Wetzer's research focuses on crustacean systematics and isopod phylogeny, and she has a special fondness for sphaeromatid isopods.


Questions? Contact us at or call 213.763.3386.