The Freshwater and Marine Invertebrates Collections contains roughly 30,000 cataloged lots that are then split into multiple collections. These include the malacology collection and the aquatic and marine invertebrates collection.

The state of Alabama historically supported North America’s most diverse invertebrate fauna. This diversity is most notable among the freshwater and terrestrial Mollusca. Approximately 200 of the 300 known species of North American freshwater mussels have been reported from the waters of Alabama, and these systems once supported nearly 250 species of aquatic snails. Additionally, there are 85 species of crayfish in Alabama, the highest of any state in the US. Unfortunately, this spectacular biodiversity has been severely compromised by human activities. Modification of large river systems has resulted in substantial habitat loss, and many aquatic species now have highly fragmented distributions. In 1999 we began to accumulate material from Alabama’s populations of mollusks and other aquatic invertebrates.

The marine invertebrate collection has also been steadily growing with Antarctic specimens since the curator of marine invertebrates, Dr. Kenneth Halanych, began working in the Auburn University’s Department of Biological Sciences in 2003. Multiple voyages have been completed over the years to explore the biodiversity of animals living in one of the most remote and fast changing seas in the world. Each of these trips have added to our growing collection and currently make up a third of our collection.

The AUMNH Freshwater and Marine Invertebrates collections gratefully accept material from agencies, consulting firms, and private or amateur collectors. We will gladly identify specimens provided some material is included for assimilation into the collection. The AUMNH is a public resource, and access to and deposition of material into all collections is provided free of charge. For more information regarding data use, specimen loans, and visiting the Freshwater and Marine Invertebrates collections, please contact the collections manager.

Search our Malacology database here, and our Invertebrate database here.


Jack W. Feminella, Ph.D.
Curator Emeritus of Aquatic Invertebrates
101 Rouse Life Sciences Bldg.
Auburn University, AL 36849
Email Jack W. Feminella

Research Associates

Brian Helms, Ph.D.
Aquatic Invertebrates Associate
Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences
Troy University
Email Brian Helms


The research staff sponsors students in a wide variety of roles from graduate students, to undergraduate students seeking research experience, to volunteers to contribute to various aspects of collection maintenance. We encourage all those interested in learning how to curate a significant museum collection to contact the Collection manager. The experience gained in collections maintenance will help students prepare for jobs and graduate school.