Scientists from the Bishop Museum are studying the natural world from the bottom of the ocean to the tops of the highest volcanoes. Some like Richard Pyle (left) are helping to understand the ocean’s “twilight zone” – the depth at which light from the sun starts to fade into darkness.

Others like Dr. Allen Allison and Dr. Shelley James research the fauna and flora of New Guinea, trying to learn about biodiversity in island communities. Our researchers communicate their findings in professional journals and at our regular Family Sundays.

The Bishop Museum’s biological collections are split into 7 separate sections: Entomology (insects)Botany (plants)Vertebrate Zoology (animals)Invertebrate ZoologyIchthyology (fish), Malacology (shells) and the Pacific Center for Molecular Biodiversity (DNA). Much of the material in these collections was accumulated by researchers around the Pacific over the past century, including many Bishop Museum staff. Each collection continues to grow as researchers study the natural world and deposit voucher specimens at the Bishop Museum. Once specimens are accepted and accessioned by collections managers upon arrival to the museum, staff curate and install specimens into the permanent storage spaces. Some specimens are showcased in semi-permanent or temporary exhibits throughout the museum. In special cases, guided back-of-house collections tours are given to groups or individuals based on time and availability of collections staff. Specimens are also available for research by scientists and qualified personnel.