GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 38-34
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


ESTES-SMARGIASSI, Kathryn and SESSA, Jocelyn A., Department of Invertebrate Paleontology, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19103

The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia of Drexel University (ANSP) is the oldest natural history museum in the Western Hemisphere, and its Invertebrate Paleontology collection dates to the founding of the museum in 1812. The collection is heavily dominated by mollusks, primarily from the US Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains and the U.K., while also reflecting a 19th century museum perspective of having representation of all invertebrate phyla. Unfortunately, the collection has been operating without dedicated staff for the last two decades. No data from this collection of approximately one million invertebrate fossils, including 5000 type specimens, is available online, and no data are shared with any modern data aggregators (e.g. iDigBio, GBIF). The recent merger of ANSP with Drexel University has seen a commitment to the revitalization of this world-class collection, with the hiring of a curator, a position that has gone unfilled for forty years, and the first full time collection manager in twenty years. Two undergraduate co-op students are funded through the NSF-funded Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation and Sessa’s start up. The co-op students spend 32 hours per week for six months as collections assistants and are working on a complete collection inventory. Additionally, the Academy has granted the Invertebrate Paleontology department four years of collections improvements funding to assist with the physical curation of the collection. Following inventory, staff will begin a robust digitization program and will contribute data to the wider biodiversity and paleontology research community via iDigBio.

The purpose of this poster is to re-introduce the ANSP Invertebrate Paleontology collection to the greater paleontology community. Using the information gathered from the ongoing inventory, we will present the contents of the collection and their potential for use in research.