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Grace Thomas Invertebrate Collections


Dr. Grace Thomas in 1974
Dr. Grace Thomas, in 1974, when she was given an award for teaching excellence by the Association of Southeastern Biologists.

July 2023: you can now virtually visit our aquatic invertebrates collection!

Our non-insect invertebrate collections include over 10,000 freshwater mussel (Unionidae) specimens, many collected by Dr. Grace Thomas for whom the Collections are named. Dr. Thomas joined the UGA Department of Zoology in 1957 and much of her research and activity focused on freshwater bivalves; she was awarded an NSF grant in 1960 to study the clam Pisidium. Her work was also responsible for expanding the northern known limit for the (now perhaps extinct) canonical freshwater mussel, Elliptio spinosa (the Altamaha spinymussel). Her classroom instruction and student mentoring was widely recognized. She was awarded a 1974 "meritorious teaching" award by the Association of Southeastern Biologists, and to this day a teaching award is named for her in the Department of Cellular Biology (the unit she continued teaching in after Zoology separated into multiple units, including what is now the Odum School of Ecology).

Additional collections in the GTIC include thousands of specimens contributed by Prof. Eugene Keferl as well as Grace's colleague Marguerite Thomas (unrelated); over 5000 specimens from Gray's Reef, an isolated coral outcrop about 20 miles off the Georgia coast; 1000s of oligochaetes from eastern North America; 1000s of turtle barnacles and other coastal marine invertebrates; one of the largest collections of coral skeletons in North America; and more. For more information on the GTIC, contact Dr. John Wares.


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