The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum’s Science Director and Curator, Dr. José H. Leal, recently appeared in South Florida PBS’ original television series, Changing Seas.


Changing Seas has taken viewers on exciting adventures to the heart of our blue planet. The series goes to sea with scientists, giving audiences a first-hand look at how oceanographers and other experts study earth’s last frontier.


Season 15 of the EMMY® Award winning series kicked off close to home here in Southwest Florida. Many people delight in collecting seashells on the beach, and Sanibel Island is an ideal place to find these natural treasures. The episode featuring Dr. Leal, “Mollusks: More than a Shell,” takes a closer look at the fascinating animals that build these elaborate skeletons. Discover never seen micromollusks and explore the mysterious world of blackwater diving, to encounter otherworldly creatures.


“It was such a pleasure to work with Producer Alexa Elliott and the Changing Seas team,” said Dr. Leal. “We shot many of the scenes at Lighthouse Beach on Sanibel, a bittersweet touch given that filming ended about a week before Hurricane Ian.”


Changing Seas is available for streaming on and on the @ChangingSeasTV YouTube channel.


The National Shell Museum is currently closed for reconstruction following the impacts of Hurricane Ian. Its re-opening will be phased, with the goal of restoring the Living Gallery of aquariums, lobby, and Museum Store by the end of 2023.


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 Beyond Shells living gallery of aquariums and over 60 species of marine life. In 2023 the Museum is under reconstruction following the impacts of Hurricane Ian. For more information, please visit or call (239) 395-2233.