The end of 2023 saw the closure of Board service for four Trustees whose terms had reached their maximum duration: Fran Peters (seven years), Mark Anderson (seven), Arlene Mowry (seven), and Scot Congress (six, including three as President).


“The collective positive impact of this group cannot be overstated,’’ said Executive Director Sam Ankerson. ‘’From the campaign to create the aquariums, to the pandemic, to a post-pandemic institutional resurgence and then Hurricane Ian, these individuals led us with forward-looking optimism through the peaks and valleys. Scot’s three-year tenure as President is extraordinary and unprecedented for this organization. We’ll miss them as Trustees, and we thank them.”


With the beginning of the new year the Museum is pleased to announce four new Trustees whose terms began January 1: Evan Barniskis, Megan Davis, Melissa May, and Sarah McClure.


Evan Barniskis is Associate VP/Aquarium Director at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium in Sarasota, where he oversees all aspects of Mote Aquarium’s operations and has worked in progressive roles since 2006. He holds a B.S. in Biology from the University of Richmond and an MBA from the University of South Florida. He has served over 17 years as a volunteer sea turtle nesting patroller and has served on the Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, including Chairmanship.


For more than 40 years Dr. Megan Davis, Research Professor and Director for Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Queen Conch Lab, has been studying the queen conch life cycle and innovating ways to save the species. She is the world’s foremost expert on queen conch aquaculture, or farming, and has designed, implemented, and operated community-based queen conch hatcheries throughout the Caribbean. Dr. Davis and her team are currently involved in projects in Florida, The Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Curacao, Jamaica and several other Caribbean nations.


Melissa May, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Marine Biology and member of the Coastal Watershed Institute and Water School at Florida Gulf Coast University. Melissa completed her Ph.D. at the University of Maine in 2017, then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at California Polytechnic State University before joining FGCU in 2020. She is the author of publications on metabolomics, feeding physiology, and ecophysiology of intertidal mussels related to temperature and salinity stress. Dr. May teaches oceanography, marine ecology, invertebrate biology, and cellular and molecular physiology.


Sarah McClure splits her time between her primary residence in Bloomfield Hills, MI and Captiva, FL having owned homes on the island for many years. She has been active in a variety of nonprofits, institutions, and government roles, including as an elected city commissioner for Bloomfield Hills as well as the Mayor of the city. Sarah has also served on the Cornell University Council, co-chaired the university’s 35th Reunion Capital Campaign, and is a member of the Detroit Historical Society Board of Trustees. She earned a B.A. in History and Economics from Cornell University and an MBA from the University of Michigan.


Visit to learn more about the Museum team.


About the Museum: The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is a natural history museum, and the only museum in the United States devoted primarily to shells and mollusks. Its mission is to use exceptional collections, aquariums, programs, experiences, and science to be the nation’s leading museum in the conservation, preservation, interpretation, and celebration of shells, the mollusks that create them, and their ecosystems. Permanent exhibitions on view include the Great Hall of Shells which displays highlights of the Museum’s collection of some 550,000 shells, as well as the Living Gallery of Aquariums and over 60 species of marine life. For more information, please visit or call (239) 395-2233.