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Marine invertebrate collection NTNU University Museum


The marine invertebrate collections at the NTNU University Museum goes back to the activities initiated by Bishop Johan Ernst Gunnerus in the 1760's (Bakken et al. 2011). Only a handful specimens in the collection date back to this period. From around 1870 an exploration and mapping of marine environments in central Norway started, initially the Trondheimsfjord, but later also coastal areas outside the fjord. Sampling activities contributing preserved specimens have been at irregular intervals since the 1870s, and impact in number of objects and taxa represented has mainly been a result of several large projects. Apart from larger sampling programmes, small and single collecting activities has taken place over the period since the start. The collection holds about 120,000 records of which 94% has been digitised. Available records distributed as occurrence records is 49,948 records. The geographic span of the records are mainly Norwegian waters. Within Norwegian waters a majority origins in the central part of Norway, including the 600 m deep Trondheimsfjord, and the costal areas outside the fjord. In addition there are samples from along the Norwegian coast, primarily north of the Trondheimsfjord, also representing the deep-sea areas in the Norwegian Sea, and from Svalbard. Samples from international marine environments are mainly from neighbouring Nordic countries. But also a number of samples from the Tristan da Cunha archipelago in the South Atlantic, resulting from the Norwegian Tristan da Cunha Expedition 1937-38. All animal phyla with known representing high number of taxa world-wide are represented, but it is obvious from the holdings that some groups are overrepresented compared to others. This reflects the taxonomic expertise among the staff since Wilhelm Storm started exploring the Trondheimsfjord in the1870s (Mork & Sneli 2011). Norwegian waters has been important for describing new species in the early days of natural history explorations, thus representing type localities for a range of marine species described from the 18th century onwards (Oug et al. 2014). The collections at NTNU University Museum holds several type specimens, including from Tristan da Cunha, which has been described in detail (Bakken 1999).