Marine invertebrates encompass the entire evolutionary tree of animals, except for land-dwelling arthropods, like insects and arachnids, and animals with backbones, such as fishes and tetrapods.
The Marine Invertebrate collection was started in the 1940s with alcohol-preserved specimens collected by Dr. C. McLean Fraser and Dr. Ian McTaggart-Cowan. Primarily used for teaching, the collection eventually grew to several thousand specimens representing the major lineages of invertebrate animals.
In 2006, Kelly Norton donated the Alice Stein collection, consisting of thousands of shells and corals. The Marine Invertebrate Collection was further expanded in 2007 with a large donation of shells from Evelyn Hebb Killam. Both contributions represent mostly tropical species and include some spectacular examples of global marine biodiversity, such as giant clams and some rare species of cowries.
Using the Collection
Cataloguing of the Collection is still in its infancy, but many specimens are recorded in sufficient detail to be of value to the broader scientific community. They include several uncharacterized fossils and some extremely rare variants in natural populations, such as sinistrally (left-handed) coiled shells.
If you would like to access the Marine Invertebrate Collection for research purposes please contact Christopher Harley (contact us).
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