Marco Island Shell Club: Supporting marine sciences for the next generation

Marco Island Shell Club establishes new scholarship

True tulip laying egg case. Submitted

True tulip laying egg case. Submitted

The agreement with the FGCU Foundation was signed in the office of the president. Dr. Ron B. Toll, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, and Dr. Donna P. Henry, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Biology, represented the University, along with Linda Lehtomaa, senior director of advancement. Jae Kellogg, Ruth Grzyb, Marsha Prunetti, Carolyn Ginther, Joan Robbins, Saundra Martell and Charlette Roman represented the Marco Island Shell Club. The endowment presentation plaque from the University is on display at the club's headquarters at United Church of Marco Island. Brian Tietz / www.briantietz.com

The agreement with the FGCU Foundation was signed in the office of the president. Dr. Ron B. Toll, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, and Dr. Donna P. Henry, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Biology, represented the University, along with Linda Lehtomaa, senior director of advancement. Jae Kellogg, Ruth Grzyb, Marsha Prunetti, Carolyn Ginther, Joan Robbins, Saundra Martell and Charlette Roman represented the Marco Island Shell Club. The endowment presentation plaque from the University is on display at the club's headquarters at United Church of Marco Island. Brian Tietz / www.briantietz.com

The Marco Island Shell Club recently announced the establishment of the Marco Island Shell Club, Inc. Tuition Scholarship Endowment at Florida Gulf Coast University in the amount of $25,000.

The endowment will provide a deserving junior or senior marine science student with a $1,200 tuition scholarship.

The agreement with the FGCU Foundation was signed in the Office of the president. Dr. Ron B. Toll, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, and Dr. Donna P. Henry, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Biology, represented the University, along with Linda Lehtomaa, senior director of advancement.

Jae Kellogg, Ruth Grzyb, Marsha Prunetti, Carolyn Ginther, Joan Robbins, Saundra Martell and Charlette Roman represented the club. The endowment presentation plaque from the University is on display at the club’s headquarters at United Church of Marco Island.

The club also presented the university with a check for $3,000 to fund a $500 undergraduate competitive research scholarship and a $2,500 graduate competitive research scholarship for 2011. The Marco Island Shell Club has made a commitment to provide these two research scholarships in marine science on an annual basis, providing the club is successful with its annual shell show and holiday sale event.

Funding for research in marine biology is often limited, so the Marco Island Shell Club says they are delighted to support efforts to expand the knowledge and understanding of the marine environment.

This season the club is also working with the staff at Tommie Barfield Elementary on an educational project for fourth grade students to develop a surprise gift for each attendee at the 2012 Marco Island Shell Show which will be held on March 8, 9, and 10, at the United Church of Marco Island.

Over the more than 30 years of the club’s existence, they have annually donated tuition scholarships to worthy local students for marine biology studies. This year, because of the community’s support and the hard work of the club’s shell crafters and collectors, the Marco Island Shell Club will have donated $30,000 in tuition scholarships, research scholarships, and educational materials.

Anyone interested in joining the Marco Island Shell Club should visitmarcoshellclub.com or call (239) 963-4694 for more information.

SIDEBAR:

Spring is far away but the tulips are already here. You will find two species on our beaches. They live nearby in shallow water around sandy-grassy shores.

True tulips grow to four inches while the banded tulip is smaller reaching only about three inches. Both species can draw their operculum (trap door) up tight to reduce moisture loss or to evade predators. The true tulip usually is not shy and will frequently extend its foot and body from the shell when it is picked up out of the water as seen in the photo.

The body itself is an unusual and beautiful polka dotted color of browns, blacks and deep cranberry. The horny operculum is brown. The true tulip shell has variable color patterns in browns and greens and can sometimes be reddish. Narrow lines can be seen around the main body whorl. The smaller banded tulip also varies in color form blue-green to tan and has narrow spiral lines which are spaced further apart and are more pronounced than the lines on the true tulip.

Both the true and banded tulips are hunters and aggressively go after their prey. You may often see them eating crown conchs and other tasty morsels.

The females will be laying eggs cases in clumps which they attach to grasses or other things to keep the egg pouches under the water so they can develop into baby tulips.

The egg capsules of the two species are different from one another. While they are both vase like in structure the true tulip pouch is more frilly or ruffled on thee edge of each pouch than the banded.

The true tulip is Fasciolaria tulipa. The banded tuilip is Fasciolaria hunteria.

The true tulip will lay about 24 pink eggs in each pouch. Many are not fertilized and served as good food for those young that develop in the pouch into new snails. The actual clumps of egg capsules can be as large as six inches.

Remember to always return live shells to the water where you found them so they will have future generations of gastropods. Other people can then enjoy them. And also check your empty shells to be sure a crab has not taken up housekeeping in it! You won’t want to take him and his house with you.

Enjoy your time on our beaches and marvel at all its beauty and the diversity of life you will find there.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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