provided to The Santiva Chronicle
In celebration of its 25-year anniversary milestone, the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum continues its virtual lecture series, which is designed to highlight some of the diverse connections between shells and different fields of human endeavor.
The next lecture in the series, “Oysters: A Crystal Ball for Water Quality in Southwest Florida”, will be given at 5 p.m. July 13 by Melissa A. May, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Marine Biology at Florida Gulf Coast University.
Dr. Melissa May leads Florida Gulf Coast University’s oyster monitoring research program in Estero Bay. Oysters are mollusks and essential members of coastal water ecosystems. These shelled animals play an important role in the health of water and their reefs provide homes and food for other marine animals. They act as indicators for declines in water quality or other stressors imposed on estuarine ecosystems and help to clean the water by filtering large volumes of water through their shells.
Dr. May’s talk will focus on the range of threats to the health of oysters and other mollusks in Southwest Florida (in addition to freshwater releases from Lake Okeechobee), with an emphasis on new her new research program in Estero Bay.
The Celebrating 25 Years lecture series is free, but advance registration is required at ShellMuseum.org. The series will continue through the fall, with the next lecture, “Supersized Squid”, taking place at 5 p.m. July 27 by Rebecca Mensch, Senior Marine Biologist at the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum. Additional lectures will be announced shortly.
About the Museum: The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is a Natural History Museum, and the only museum in the United States devoted solely to shells and mollusks. Its mission is to use exceptional collections, aquariums, programs, experiences, and science to be the nation’s leading museum in the conservation, preservation, interpretation, and celebration of shells, the mollusks that create them, and their ecosystems. Permanent exhibitions on view include the Great Hall of Shells which displays highlights of the Museum’s collection of some 500,000 shells, as well as the Beyond Shells living gallery of aquariums and over 50 species of marine life. For more information on the Museum, visit ShellMuseum.org or call (239) 395-2233.