Since 1874 the San Diego Natural History Museum has continued the tradition of scientific research based upon field-collected specimens of animals, plants, and fossils. The Museum's Biodiversity Research Center of the Californias (BRCC) maintains collections of over 9 million items that represent an ongoing sampling of the natural world. These specimens contribute valuable historic and current data to studies that may shed light on issues such as habitat degradation and global climate change.
The scientists of the BRCC are active in researching and disseminating information about the biodiversity of our region.
Fossil vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants from the Cenozoic Era (248 to 65 million years ago) and Mesozoic Era (65 million years ago to present) are collected from sites in southern California and northern Baja California. The specimens collected and the knowledge gained from these fossils are used in a variety of ways. These include gaining a better understanding of the age relationships of the rock units from the region, insight into local environments and ecologies, and increasing our understanding of evolution of life on the planet. These collections are also used in educating visitors to the Museum in exhibitions such as Fossil Mysteries.