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Museum director wraps up 2009 Lecture Series with ‘Seashells of the Islands’

By Staff | Apr 23, 2009

On Wednesday, May 6 beginning at 2 p.m., Dr. Jos H. Leal will wrap up the Museum’s 2009 Lecture Series with a new program entitled “Seashells of Sanibel and Captiva Islands Updated.” The program is free with museum admission and will be held at The Bailey-Matthews Museum, located at 3075 Sanibel-Captiva Road, in the auditorium.

Dr. Leal will discuss the biodiversity and living habits of mollusks, how this is changing, how it impacts residents and visitors to the island as well as how the Museum captures, records, and communicates important scientific information.

“The 2008-09 winter shelling season has been one of the most productive seasons in the last ten years,” said Dr. Leal. “The winter storms brought in large quantities of shells as well as rare species such as a queen helmet and intermediate cyphoma.”

Every local species is photographed by Dr. Leal and added to the Museum’s Web site – http://shellmuseum.org/shells.cfm – in the electronic Southwest Florida Shell Guide.

“Shell collectors bring their discoveries to the Museum for assistance with identification or confirmation of suspected identification. The Museum is an important repository for data that may have significant research relevance in the future,” Dr. Leal added. “We are constantly adding images to the guide.”

Recently, photographs of egg cases and live mollusks have been a focus of Dr. Leal’s work. This is the most comprehensive and up-to-date resource available to shell collectors serious about not just identifying specimens found but learning about their size, distribution and habits. Dr. Leal also will discuss the process used to capture, record and load data for inclusion on the Museum’s Web site.

The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum is a non-profit organization. Its mission is “to provide shell, mollusk and shell-makers education, through exhibits, library services and publications; to further the awareness of the natural environment; and to promote collection-based shell and mollusk research with an emphasis on Southwest Florida and the Gulf of Mexico.”