The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History has completed a four-year project to curate and integrate the invertebrate specimens in the George M. Gray Museum Collection, which was developed at the Marine Biological Laboratory in the 1960s and transferred to Yale in 1994.
As part of the project, the museum has published a digitally enhanced, downloadable version of the reference manual, “Keys to Marine Invertebrates of the Woods Hole Region,” published by the MBL in 1964.
The specimen collection and the Woods Hole manual were developed primarily under the auspices of the MBL’s Systematics Ecology Program, directed by Melbourne R. Carriker. The invertebrates were collected by the MBL Supply Department (now Marine Resources). George M. Gray was an MBL collector who took a role in curating the preserved specimens.
Data on more than 22,000 lots of preserved specimens, all marine invertebrates from the New England area, is now available on the Peabody Museum’s website.
“This is a major data complement to the museum’s holdings of invertebrates from the same region collected in the 19th century by the U.S. Fish Commission,” said Eric A. Lazo-Wasem, senior collections manager in the Peabody Museum’s Division of Invertebrate Zoology and co-principal investigator of the Woods Hole project with Yale Professor Emeritus Leo W. Buss.
Included with the enhanced Woods Hole manual are nearly 700 links to downloadable images of specimens, habitats, and archive images from the Peabody collections; biographies of chapter authors; key publicly accessible references; and where relevant, updated taxonomy (based primarily on the World Register of Marine Species website).
This digital resource is a work in progress and will be updated periodically. The electronic version of the Woods Hole manual was edited and annotated by Lazo-Wasem and Daniel J. Drew, museum assistant. This project was funded by the National Science Foundation’s Collections in Support of Biological Research program.