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Microfossil collection

About our holdings

electron micrograph of the inside of a single valve of the diatom Cocconeis
The UCMP microfossil collection consists of more than 5 million items (i.e., slides, processed material, and bulk samples). Among the 200,000 slides are more than 9,000 type and figured specimens, including more than 750 holotypes and nearly as many paratypes. Taxa represented include foraminifera, radiolarians, diatoms, silicoflagellates, calcareous nannofossils, palynomorphs, ostracodes, conodonts, and prasinophycean and calcareous algae. Samples range in age from Precambrian to Recent and are from localities worldwide. Although the bulk of the collection consists of slides and residues from 16,000 oil wells, the core of the collection is derived from research at UC Berkeley, Stanford University, and UCLA.

The microfossil catalog may be searched online. Electron micrograph images of most UCMP holotypes of foraminifera also can be viewed online. For more information on this collection, contact the microfossil collection manager.

Slide collections

The UCMP Microfossil Collection contains numerous slide collections that are stored separately in the museum:

  • Stratigraphic Collection: Mostly cardboard "microslides;" sorted in this order: (1) geologic age, (2) domestic or foreign, (3) geography, (4) geologic formation, (5) locality number, and (6) slide number.

  • UCMP Type Collection: Primarily California foraminifera.

  • Al Loeblich and Helen Tappan Loeblich: Acritarchs, calcareous nannofossils, chitinozoa, diatoms, foraminifera (being databased), silicoflagellates, and radiolaria.

  • UCLA Collection: Foraminifera, acritarchs, chrysomonads, diatoms, prasinophycean algae, and silicoflagellates.

  • Stanford University (LSJU) Collection: Foraminifera, ostracodes, diatoms, calcareous algae, dinoflagellates.

  • Thomas Vaughan Collection: Thin sections of Mesozoic and Cenozoic larger foraminifera.

  • Eugene J. Tynan memorial Collection: Triassic through Holocene pollen, silicoflagellates, and archaeomonads, transferred from the University of Rhode Island.

  • A.D. Warren/R.M. Kleinpell Collection: Foraminifera, calcareous nannofossils, and silicoflagellates.

  • Zach Arnold Collection: Cytological slides and faunal and single mount slides of Recent foraminifera from live collections and laboratory cultures.

  • William Weaver Collection: Foraminifera, primarily from Jamaica.

  • Robert Lundin Collection: Ostracodes and conodonts.

  • Manley Natland Collection: Foraminifera from boreholes in Chile (databased) and from California.

  • Robert Crouch Collection: Foraminifera from the east Pacific margin.

  • Stan Beck Collection: California foraminifera.

  • Peter L. Miller Collection: California calcareous nannoplankton.

The online microfossil catalog currently contains the Stratigraphic Collection, the UCMP Type Collection, parts of the Loeblich and Tappan Collection, and part of the Natland Collection.

Sample collections

The UCMP micropaleontological sample collections include bulk and processed material from faculty and student researchers and outside researchers. The major sample collections from outside include:

  • Al Loeblich and Helen Tappan Loeblich Sample Collection: Processed residues and bulk samples from over 8,000 localities worldwide and ranging in age from Cambrian to Recent.

  • A.D. Warren/R.M. Kleinpell Collection: Bulk samples primarily from the western United States, including many oil well samples.

  • Zach Arnold Cytological Collection: Wet preserved material from field collections and laboratory cultures of foraminifera.

Oil well collections

UCMP houses a large collection of sample residues from oil wells and some well cores, primarily from California. Check the online lists organized by state and county for availability of samples from specific wells. The largest separate collections are:

  • Arco/Richfield Collection: More than 20,000 mounted faunal slides of foraminifera and over 2,000,000 unpicked sample residues from over 13,000 oil wells, primarily in California.

  • Texaco Collection: Over 60,000 mounted faunal slides of foraminifera plus vials of unpicked sample residues, primarily from California oil wells.

Reference materials

UCMP houses many donor's research notes and libraries. The largest is the Alfred R. Loeblich. Jr. and Helen Tappan Loeblich Library, a collection of more than 25,000 books, bound journals, and available reprints of their publications. Other significant holdings are the libraries of Kleinpell, Warren, Weaver, and Lundin.

Diatom photo © UCMP.