Online Lecture Series
offered virtually via Zoom and free of charge
The Allure of Small Size
By José H. Leal, Ph.D., Science Director and Curator, Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum
Introduction by Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum Executive Director Sam Ankerson, including an update on the Shell Museum
Welcome to the world of micromollusks. Did you know that as you walk on a sandy beach you may be stepping on hundreds of shells the size of a pinhead? Micromollusks, by definition, never grow larger than 5 mm (0.2 inches). Despite their small size, the shells of micromollusks can be as attractive as those of their larger-size cousins. Scientific surveys done in different regions of the planet indicate that the largest share of the marine biodiversity of mollusks consists of micromollusks. This talk will present local and global examples, discuss methods for their sampling, study, and photography, and discuss some of the biological constraints prompted by extreme reduction in body sizes.
About the Speaker: Dr. José H. Leal is the Science Director and Curator at the National Shell Museum, and was the Museum's Director between 1996 and 2013. Dr. Leal received his PhD in Marine Biology and Fisheries from the University of Miami. His love for shells and sea life goes back to his childhood years in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was an Assistant Editor for Sea Frontiers Magazine (Miami), a Visiting Professor at the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (Paris), and Postdoctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History (Washington, DC). Dr. Leal holds honorary faculty positions at the University of Miami and Florida Gulf Coast University (Fort Myers), where he is an affiliate member of the Coastal Watershed Institute. He is also a past president of the American Malacological Society and of Conchologists of America, a past board member of the Florida Association of Museums, an Accreditation Peer Reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums, and editor of The Nautilus.