The 2024 Season Lecture Series presented by the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum & Aquarium begins January 31 with a presentation on the natural history and current status of the iconic Florida Horse Conch, which is also the Florida state shell.


Loving Icons to Death: The Story of Florida’s Horse Conch, is Wednesday, January 31st at 5:30pm, and presented by Gregory Herbert, Ph.D., of the University of South Florida. The program is held at The Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel.


The Florida Horse Conch is a famed mollusk resident of the Gulf of Mexico and is one of the largest marine gastropods in the world with a maximum shell length of about two feet. Although the species is prized by collectors and fished commercially, the combination of overharvesting and habitat losses are pushing populations to their limits. Dr. Herbert discusses the natural history of horse conchs and shows how the geochemistry of their shells helps wildlife managers understand this species’ capacity to recover. He also shares results of some of his recent research on the health and status of the Florida Horse Conch species in the Southwest Florida region and throughout the Gulf of Mexico.


Dr. Herbert is an Associate Professor of Geosciences at the University of South Florida in Tampa, where he conducts research on marine conservation, molluscan biology and evolution, and isotope geochemistry. Dr. Herbert received his Ph.D. in Geology from the University of California, Davis and a B.S. in Philosophy from Loyola University in New Orleans. He is the former Director of the Institute for the Advanced Study of Culture and Environment at the University of South Florida.


“Greg Herbert’s observations and research on Horse Conchs is changing the ways in which we understand, appreciate, and must organize to protect this much-loved species,’’ said National Shell Museum Executive Director Sam Ankerson. ‘’We are fortunate to have this opportunity to learn more about this amazing animal and Greg’s work.’’


Cost to attend the lecture is $10 per person (or FREE for Museum Members, memberships to be confirmed upon registration). Registration required at Registration includes choice of wine, beer, non-alcoholic beverage, and light snack.


All lectures in the Museum’s 2024 Season Lecture Series will be held at The Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.


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.