Collecting seashells on the beach is a wildly popular hobby here in Florida. Beyond the sometimes exquisite beauty of these shells, they tell incredible stories of life in our oceans. Scientists and amateur collectors alike study shells and the animals that create them to better understand our natural world.

New technology is helping unlock the information stored in museum collections worldwide. Here at the Florida Museum, collection manager John Slapcinsky is excited to join collaborative efforts to digitize these museum collections by databasing, adding coordinates and digital photos, and providing this information to researchers and the public online. He was enthusiastic to join the conversation with fellow malacologists on this episode of Changing Seas to talk about new projects and the value of collections.

Episode: Mollusks: More than a Shell. Changing Seas is produced by South Florida PBS.

researcher standing between rows of shelves filled with specimens in glass jars, he is holding up a large glass jar filled with a specimen
John Slapcinsky manages our invertebrate zoology collection, a good portion of which is now housed in our new state-of-the-art Special Collections building. Florida Museum photo by Jeff Gage

John Slapcinsky is a collection manager in our Invertebrate Zoology Collection, roughly 80% of which is mollusks. Long-time volunteer Harry Lee is also featured in this video and has made large contributions to the Florida Museum from his own private collection:

The man behind the world’s largest private shell collection