Shell Museum’s Director Attends Research Expedition

provided to The Santiva Chronicle

Dr. José H. Leal (right) aboard R/V Hogarth, with colleagues Dr. Stephen Geiger (left) and Dr. Gregory Herbert, at the end of a successful research cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo provided

Earlier this month, Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum’s Science Director & Curator Dr. José H. Leal participated in a research cruise off the coast of Florida’s Big Bend, in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. The four-day expedition was part of a long-term project led by Dr. Gregory S. Herbert (School of Geosciences, University of South Florida, USF) that aims to inventory the biodiversity of mollusks on Florida’s continental shelf.

Dr. Leal is currently collaborating with Dr. Herbert on a couple of scientific projects involving Florida marine mollusks, including a study on small cones of the genus Conasprella. Dr. Herbert is a past Museum board member, and, among other forms of cooperation and support he provided to the Museum are the Junonias on display in the Museum’s Living Gallery, collected during other research cruises attended by Dr. Leal.

“The expedition provided another great opportunity to perform field work on molluscan biodiversity in a poorly known part of the Florida shelf and to interact with colleagues and students,” said Dr. Leal.

Also participating in the cruise were Dr. Anthony Menicucci (USF), Dr. Stephen Geiger (Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission), and several USF students.

Visit to learn more about the Museum’s mission to use its 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.

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