R. Tucker Abbott visiting curator presents wentletrap program at museum
Bruce David Neville, the 2010 R. Tucker Abbott Visiting Curator, will present a program for the public on Wednesday, Dec. 1 starting at 2 p.m. in the auditorium at the The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum. The title of his program is “Molluscan Biogeography and the Value of Historical Collections.”
Neville has devoted many years to studying wentletraps, a group of mollusks with elegant shells that are common on the eastern beaches of Sanibel. He will discuss wentletraps and how shell collections and libraries are important in providing the much-needed historical background for his studies.
The Curatorship, originally established in accordance with the wishes of the late Dr. R. Tucker Abbott, Founding Director of the Shell Museum, is awarded annually to enable malacologists to visit the Museum for a period of one week. Abbott Fellows are expected, by performing collection-based research, to assist with the curation of portions of the museum’s collection and to provide one lecture for the general public.
Neville is an assistant professor at Texas A & M University Libraries, providing all levels of reference services in science and engineering, with a specialized reference in Life Sciences, Environmental Sciences, and Industrial and Systems Engineering. His primary area of taxonomic (study of the classification of organisms) expertise is with the family Epitoniidae (wentletraps). He is a co-author of The Wentletrap Book and has written both peer-reviewed and popular articles on this family.
In addition, Neville currently is working on a revision of the wentletrap family in the Western Atlantic, which has not been attempted since Clench and Turner reviewed the family in the region in Johnsonia in 1950-52. Despite an abundance of material, there remain several significant and unresolved systematic and nomenclatural problems within the group in this region. (Systematics is the study of the diversification of life on Earth.) The true ranges of many species in the region are still being uncovered, particularly along the Caribbean coastline. Members of the family can rarely be anticipated on any given collecting expedition, so museum collections are vital to understanding this group of organisms.
This program is free with museum admission. For addition information, call Diane Thomas, the museum’s Public Programs Specialist, at 395-2233.