The Moore Laboratory of Zoology (MLZ) is an organized research unit
associated with the Department of Biology at Occidental College, Los
Angeles, California. The Laboratory was founded in 1950 by the late Robert
T. Moore (B.A. Univ. PA, 1904, M.A. Harvard 1905), the famed amateur
ornithologist and philanthropist.
The original building, built by Moore in 1951, and dedicated in February
1952, has been remodeled recently and is now contiguous with the
The Laboratory's collection of birds and mammals, containing 64,121
specimens (62,382 birds and 1739 mammal specimens as of September 2002) is
among the world's largest research natural history collections. The
collection is primarily Neotropical, reflecting Moore's particular
interest in the Mexican, Central and northern South American avifaunas,
and as such, MLZ contains the world's most important single collection of MEXICAN
BIRDS (these specimens were a large part of the material cited in The
Distributional Check-list of Mexican Birds (1950 and 1957), and was
originally housed in Moore's private home in Pasadena, CA. The collection,
as well as Moore's personal library, was moved to the Occidental College
campus in 1951.
Chester C. Lamb worked for Moore from July 1933 through June 1955, a
22 years, and during that time Lamb collected 40,000+ bird specimens, all
from Mexico. Lamb also collected nests, eggs and mammal specimens for
Moore. Specimens were also purchased from several other professional
collectors, of note: Austin P. Smith, the Olalla brothers (and sons), the
del Toro Aviles brothers (Mario and Sergio), C. F. Underwood, W. W. Brown,
J. T. Wright and others. Moore made collecting expeditions to Ecuador in
1929 and 1931.
The ornithology collection contains 62,382 specimens (61,156 studyskins,
1,246 bird skeletons, and 285 liquid preserved specimens), 582 nests and
eggs. The collection also contains artwork including natural history
paintings by Allan Brooks, Louis A. Fuertes, Walter Weber and R. Espino,
as well as Lamb's field catalogue and notes (1933 - 1955). There are 81
and numerous PARATYPES and TOPOTYPES, most described by Robert T. Moore.
Strengths of the bird collection: Psittacidae, 734; Trochilidae, 6,957;
Trogonidae, 463; Strigidae, 538; Picidae, 2507; Tyrannidae, 7,554;
Muscicapidae, 3552; Troglodytidae, 2846; Parulidae, 4433; Icteridae, 3591
and Emberizidae, 11,702.
The mammal collection contains 1739 specimens, many with ancillary
materials: skeleton, chromosomal preparations, frozen tissues and field
The material in these collections provide an inexhaustible source of
information for research as well as teaching in the biological disciplines
of evolution, systematics, ecology, behavior and physiology.
We have recently upgraded the facility's network infrastructure and
data storage capacity to keep us at the leading edge. All specimen data
have been entered into Microsoft Access (.db)database format. So far data
for 99.9% of the specimens have been entered. (17 Apr 2001).
Past Directors/Curators: Joe T. Marshall, Don Medina, Patrick J. Gould,
Raymond M. Selle, John W. Hardy, Luis F. Baptista, Martin L. Morton and
Walter D. Koenig.
Staff: Dr. John C. Hafner, Director and Curator of Birds and Mammals and
Professor of Biology, Nathan Upham, Curatorial Associate, and Curtis
Gee, Collections Technology
The Moore Laboratory of Zoology Bird and Mammal Collections are
research collections and can be accessed by appointment only,
Monday-Friday, 8-12 & 1-5pm. Access is granted to research scientists
and graduate students only.
There is no public access.
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