Curator:Sam SweetCuratorial Assistant:Mireia Beas-Moix & Heather Fox
Dr. Sam Sweet founded the herpetological research and teaching collections in 1977. His procedures set the standards for other collections within the Vertebrate Museum. Dr. Sweet's personal collections were the nucleus for a synoptic collection that now covers family-level diversity worldwide. Vigorous field collections from 1977-95 by Dr. Sweet and his students provide the most comprehensive existing database on reptiles and amphibians in southwestern California.
The herpetology collection holds approximately 11,500 specimens, mostly from San Luis Obispo, Kern, Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Los Angeles counties. The collection is scientifically valuable for its extensive coverage of this rich and biogeographically complex transitional region.
The majority of specimens are fluid-preserved and are accompanied by field notes. There are significant holdings of amphibian eggs and larvae, skeletal preparations, prepared materials, focused collections that show evolutionary dynamics at intraspecific transition zones, and the synoptic collection. We do not maintain a tissue collection at this time.
The CCBER herpetological collection is unique in its thorough coverage of the herpetofauna of southwestern California, and for its relevance to critical conservation issues via documenting life history patterns of declining amphibians and recent changes in the abundance and distribution of species.