Invertebrate Zoology

The Invertebrate Zoology collection at the Bishop Museum contains nearly 25,000 cataloged lots with a few thousand more lots of uncataloged material. Our staff are engaged in ongoing research throughout Hawai'i and the Pacific including recent surveys of Hawaii 's harbors for invasive organisms and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to provide a complete checklist of all marine invertebrates.

Interesting Facts about the IZ Collection:

The History of Invertebrate Zoology at the Bishop Museum

The Invertebrate Zoology collection at the Bishop Museum had it origins in the work of Dr. Charles Howard Edmondson who arrived in Hawai‘i in 1920, having a joint appointment between the Bishop Museum and the University of Hawai‘i. He was appointed Director of the University's Cooke Memorial Marine Laboratory associated with the Waikiki Aquarium at Kapiolani Park in Waikiki. He taught classes and collected extensively along Waikiki, and he was most interested in decapod crustaceans. In 1943 Dr. Edmondson began full-time studies at the Bishop Museum. He published extensively on the crabs of Hawaiian waters, and he published the Reef and Shore Fauna of Hawai‘i in 1933 with a second edition in 1946. Voucher specimens for this work and his others, being numerous descriptions of new species, were all deposited in the Museum's collections. Dr. Edmondson retired in 1961; Edmondson Hall, home of the University's Department of Zoology, was dedicated to Dr. Edmondson in 1962.

The marine invertebrate collections were moved from Konia Hall to the ground floor of Pākī Hall in the early 1960s where there was more space. The collection languished for some years until Dr. Dennis Devaney joined the Musuem in 1967. He helped reorganize the collections and obtained a National Science Foundation grant to bring the collection more up-to-date. Dr. Devaney's specialized in ophiuroid echinoderms (brittle stars) and made numerous collections locally as well as participated in several expeditions to the Pacific Islands and the Marshall Islands. Unfortunately, Dr. Devaney disappeared while diving to collect shrimp off the northwest coast of the island of Hawai‘i in August 1983. The invertebrate collection was again in hiatus; Mrs. Beatrice Burch held things together on a part-time basis for many years. The collection was consolidated in the early 1990s. In 1995, the first of several grants and contracts were awarded to the Museum through the efforts of Dr. L.G. Eldredge. Most of these involved intensive biological inventories at several sites around the Hawaiian Islands, mainly to gather background information on possible introduced marine species. Voucher specimens for all the reported species have been deposited at the Museum.

Currently the entire collection contains nearly 25,000 cataloged lots with a few thousand more lots of uncataloged material. As might be expected more than half of the collection is made up of decapod crustaceans as a result of Dr. Edmondson monumental studies. Echinoderms make up a major part of the remaining collection through Dr. Devaney's efforts. A type collection of some 700 species is maintained. Slightly less than half of the total cataloged collection is species from areas outside the Hawaiian Islands, primarily from expeditions carried out in the 1920s and 1930s. The recently collected and cataloged material will swing the balance of specimens to the majority originating from the Hawaiian Islands.

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