Echinoderms comprise over 7,000 species of sea stars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, brittle stars, and feather stars. Since the Cambrian Period, these animals have been among the most conspicuous, abundant, and beautiful organisms in the world’s oceans. The Museum's collection of echinoderms is the third largest in the United States.
The Museum’s research on echinoderms is wide-ranging. Current studies include their capability to regenerate body structures, their development of an intricate skeleton from single crystals of calcite, the spread of invasive species, and the ecology and behavior of coral reef and deep sea echinoderms.
The Echinoderms Department's field work, both in California and in the tropics, invariably leads to new scientific insights, including discoveries of new species.
Support the Echinoderms Department by making a donation to the Museum Fund today!