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Microfossil Collection
 About Our Holdings
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Microfossil Collection:
About Our Holdings


The UCMP microfossil collections include type and figured specimens, 80,000 mounted and strewn slides, processed material and bulk samples. Taxa representedinclude foraminifera, silicoflagellates, calcareous nannofossils, acritarchs, diatoms, ostracodes, and prasinophycean algae. Samples range in age from preCambrian to Recent and come from localities worldwide. For more information on these collections, contact the microfossil collection manager.

Type Specimens

UCMP houses over 10,000 type and published specimens. The bulk of the collection is the result of research on biostratigraphy, taxonomy, and biology of protists and prokaryotes at U.C. Berkeley. In addition, the UCLA micropaleontological collections and the work of other outside researchers are represented.

The microfosil catalog may be searched on-line. There are also some images of type specimens of foraminifera available online. These images were captured with an environmental scanning electron microscope, so the specimens did not have to be coated or even moved from their slide mounts.

Microslide Collections

The core of the Museum's collections of prepared slides of microfossils comes from the research of faculty, staff and students at U.C. Berkeley. Outside donors have greatly enhanced these collections with material from around the world. Most of the published types are now entered in the searchable online catalog. Major separate collections include:

  • Stratigraphic collection: Thin sections and strewn, faunal and single mount slides of foraminifera, calcareous nannofossils, diatoms, ostracodes, and other microfossils, primarily from the Western United States.
  • UCLA micropaleontological collection: Strewn, faunal and single mount slides of many taxa including acritarchs, chrysomonads, diatoms, foraminifera, prasinophycean algae, and silicoflagellates.
  • Al Loeblich and Helen Tappan Loeblich: strewn and single mount slides of Paleozoic to Cenozoic microfossils, including acritarchs, calcareous nannofossils, chitinozoa, diatoms, foraminifera, silicoflagellates, and radiolaria.
  • 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: slides of 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.
  • W. Weaver collection: faunal slides of foraminifera, primarily from Jamaica.

Sample Collections

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

  • Al Loeblich and Helen Tappan Loeblich microfossil sample collection: Processed residues and bulk samples from over 8,000 localities worldwide ranging in age from Cambrian through Holocene.
  • A.O. 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 reprints on foraminifera and other microfossils. Other significant holdings are the A. O. Warren library and the W. R. Weaver library.