About the Biodiversity Museum

The San Diego State University Biodiversity Museum serves as a repository for biological specimens and an educational center for research, teaching, and community outreach. The Museum's main attraction is the biological collections, comprising over 100,000 physical specimens of birds, fish, mammals, plants, algae, reptiles, amphibians, and terrestrial arthropods.

These specimens are used as teaching tools and research vouchers. Furthermore, the museum features tissue collections of thousands of samples employed in genomic studies. The Biodiversity Museum's Genomics Lab is a shared facility that is used by faculty and students for studies to understand genetic diversity within and among species.

The museum provides imaging systems, microscopes, and computer resources that undergraduate and graduate students, along with faculty members of SDSU's Department of Biology, use for research projects. In addition to student research projects, the museum provides special credit courses in specimen curation and specimen databasing.

Our Collections

Specimen of a black bird with burgundy wings.


The Ornithology Collection contains over 4,000 specimens, with the earliest dated to the late 1800s.

Fingers holding a frozen tissue sample in a vial. Box of vials are below.

Genomic Collections

Our combined collections contain genetic material for over 6,500 birds and over 12,000 arachnids.

Closeup of a night lizard's head

Reptiles & Amphibians

The Herpetological Collection contains over 14,000 specimens of reptiles and amphibians.

Closeup of animal's skull with large teeth.


The Mammalogy Collection contains over 3,000 specimens, the oldest dating to the 1800s. 

Dried plant specimen under microscope.

Plants, Algae, & Lichens

The Herbarium has over 26,000 specimens, 500 algae,  and a growing collection of bryophytes and lichens. 

11 wasp specimens on a card.

Terrestrial Arthropods

The Terrestrial Arthropods Collection houses over 50,000 pinned and alcohol-preserved specimens.


City Nature Challenge Update

SDSU Strategic Communications and Public Affairs highlighted the 2024 City Nature Challenge (26-29 April), which for our area was co-sponsored by our SDSU Biodiversity Museum […]

Tour of SDSU Biodiversity Museum

On Friday April 19, 2024, 9:00 am – 12:00 noon, the SDSU Biodiversity Museum hosted a tour of our collections. The tour began in Life […]

Botanical Illustration Workshop

Botanical Illustration Workshop, 14 March 2024: The Biodiversity Museum hosted both an art class and a visitor to the SDSU Art Department, Brazilian artist Sergio Allevato. Sergio […]