Invertebrate Zoology and Geology
Contact the Department
Contact the IZ Collections Manager
For inquiries please contact:
- Christina Piotrowski
- Collections Manager, Invertebrate Zoology
- California Academy of Sciences
- 55 Music Concourse Drive
- San Francisco, CA 94118
- 14153795256 (direct)
Contact the Geology Collections Manager
Live Animals, Specimens & Identifications
Contact a Staff Member
Are the CAS IZG collections open to non-staff for study?
Where are the mineral/gem/fossil exhibits in the Academy?
The Academy's new bulding "breathes," and the temperature and humidity inside the display areas usually reflect the conditions outside. Most natural history specimens cannot be displayed under these circumstances, and specially environmentally-controlled cases must be built for the main floor. This may happen gradually, as the Academy exhibitions mature and change.
Have a question about a strange animal or unusual natural occurrence?
Please direct it to our Naturalist Center.
How may I request a loan?
Where can I go to collect minerals/fossils?
In the Bay Area, most potential collecting sites are on private land or in a county/state/federal park, where collecting is not allowed. We suggest you join your local gem and mineral society (there are lots of them in Northern California and elsewhere) or take a class at the nearest university or community college. Those groups often take field trips to local sites of geologic interest, where collecting is allowed. And learning some geology along the way makes it more fun!
Where else can I go to see minerals and fossils on exhibit?
The California State mineral collection, which used to be on display in the Ferry Building in S.F., is in Mariposa, near Yosemite. It is displayed at the County Fairgrounds, in the care of California State Parks. It is unknown at this time whether that park will survive the State's government shutdown schedule. There are a few minerals on display at UC Berkeley and Stanford, but no organized exhibits. The closest good big mineral and fossil displays are at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History.
I think I've found a meteorite/dinosaur bone/fossil. How can I tell if it's real? Or can I bring it in and have somebody look at it?
It will save you a trip if you can take a couple of pictures of your specimen and send them to us via e-mail or as prints in the regular mail. You are welcome to drop specimens off at the Academy’s Naturalist Center, where they will be identified by CAS scientists. In some cases, you can make an appointment to talk to someone on staff about your specimen.
Are the collection data available online?
Yes. Please follow this link.
Who can borrow specimens from the IZG collections?
Any qualified research scientist, including students, with an institutional affiliation is eligible to borrow specimens. Final approval of any loan is at the discretion of the Collection Managers and Curators of IZG. However, most eligible loan requests are approved.