We accelerate the rate of species discovery, inform conservation decisions, support citizen science, and more—all through ongoing digitization of the Academy's renowned scientific collections.

The Academy's millions of scientific specimens represent a priceless record of life on Earth. We mobilize these specimens for scientific analysis and conservation work by creating a globally accessible digital museum for scientists and citizen scientists alike. 

Through web portals, specialized databases, crowdsourcing, cutting edge imaging technology, and more, we surface data that contributes to scientific discoveries and informs critical conservation decisions. The data has been to used to help identify biodiversity hotspots, to guide biologists' recommendations for the preservation of endangered species, and to provide the tools that fuel large-scale biodiversity analyses. 


Stained fish from the ichthyology collection

Collections databases

We maintain, migrate, and support the digital collections of eight distinct Academy departments—an ever-evolving process that currently encompasses more than 1.9 million specimens.

Stan Blum


Our staff includes specialists in the fields of informatics, digitization, taxonomy, data management design, and more. Meet our department leads via the link below. 

Arranged diatoms from the California Academy of Sciences

Taxonomic databases

Our most accessed taxonomic databases include the Catalog of Fishes, the diatoms database, and Ant Cat—an off-site resource managed by our department that feeds data to Ant Web, the world's largest online resource for the Formicidae. 

Cockroach, Order Blattodea

Digitization Program

The Digitization Lab is a centralized resource for digitizing our biodiversity collections. We use advanced imaging and metadata extraction techniques to create a digital, globally accessible museum.

California Wildflowers

Search our popular California Wildflowers database by color, or by common, Latin, or family name. 

Phyllodoce breweri (Mountain heather)