National Museums Scotland

Multiple collections within the Natural Sciences Collection of National Museums Scotland could potentially be of use for ocean acidification research. They can be grouped into:

  • Survey collections - historical and recent
  • Non-survey collections that have come from individual collectors


Organisms included:

A variety of marineĀ invertebrates, including:

  • cephalopods and other molluscs
  • amphipods
  • echiurid worms
  • forams
  • hydroids
  • polychaete worms
  • sipunculid worms
  • sponges
  • tardigrades
Number of specimens:

Up to 1 million marine invertebrate specimens, including approximately 130,000 mollusc lots.

  • Part of the alcohol preserved invertebrate collection of the National Museum of Scotland
    Historical survey collections

    Get a brief summary of National Museums Scotland collections from the 1840s Rattlesnake expedition and the Scotia expedition that took place in the early 1900s.

  • Dried molluscs from the Shelagh Smith Collection at the National Museum of Scotland
    Recent survey collections

    National Museums Scotland has nine recent survey collections that could be useful for ocean acidification research. Find out more.

  • A brittle star (ophiuroid), Gorgoncephalus sp
    Non-survey collections

    Specimens from individual collectors are generally less suited to non-systematic investigations than those in the survey collections. However the Richie and Stephens Collection of hydroids, echiurids and sipunculids, and the Bruce Foraminifera Collection, are worthy of a special mention.

Curation and collection management


British specimens are ordered systematically by Biocode, following the Species Directory of the Marine Fauna and Flora. This is available on request from the curators.

  • Most of the marine invertebrate collections are preserved in alcohol (formalin fixed).
  • There is a comprehensive collection of microscope slides including Morgan Tardigrades, Ried Amphipoda and various sponge collections.
Destructive sampling:

Information on National Museums Scotlandā€™s destructive sampling policy is available from the appropriate curator.

Database information:
  • The website is under construction and likely to be available from 2011. Contact the curators at National Museums Scotland for the electronic collection catalogue.

Additional resources

A published inventory of the biological samples and data undertaken on behalf of Scottish Natural Heritage is available as a PDF document from the curators at the National Museum of Scotland:

An Inventory of Sample Material and Unpublished Data Relating to Marine Biology in Scotland by Susan Chambers, Louise Allcock and Sankurie Pye (March 1999)

The inventory covers all British institutions that hold specimens or relevant data, including:

  • universities
  • national, regional and local museums
  • botanical gardens
  • local authorities
  • marine laboratories

Contact information

National Museums Scotland personnel interviewed:

Susan Chambers
Principal Curator, Marine Invertebrates

Sankurie Pye
Curator of Mollusca