Cerithium nodulosum is part of the University of Hawaii's Virtual Museum collection

The University of Hawaiʻi Museum Consortium has completed the digitization of the Hawaiian Marine Shell Reference Collection—nearly 200 species of marine mollusks from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa anthropology department’s archaeology laboratory. Beachcombers and citizen scientists will find the digital collection useful for identifying species of seashells found throughout the Hawaiian Island beaches.

“The collection is fairly comprehensive for much of the archeological shell midden material commonly found in the Hawaiian landscape,” said Michael Thomas of the UH Museum Consortium.

The specimens are currently curated by Archaeology Labs Manager Jo Lynn Gunness. The collaborative project was cross disciplinary and involved several curators, students, community volunteers and the university photographer.

“This initiative is an excellent demonstration of how digital technologies can be applied to increase public access to university collections and to add value to an underutilized reference collection,” said Thomas.

The University’s Virtual Museum, established in 2008, offers a single web portal to various university natural science and humanities collections. Currently, the university’s Joseph F. Rock Herbarium, Insect Museum and the Historic Clothing Museum have digital collection initiatives underway.