The major collections under this heading are of marine invertebrates. Especially important are the collections made by J. Stanley Gardiner (1898-1903) on expeditions to Funafuti, Rotuma, the Laccadives, Maldives, Seychelles and other islands in the Indian Ocean. Specimens from these expeditions, which were landmark studies contributing to biological knowledge of the Indian Ocean, were described in two volumes published between 1903-1906 of ‘The fauna and geography of the Maldive and Laccadive archipelagos’ (CUP) and in a series of papers in the Transactions of the Linnean Society (Vol. XII-XVII) published between 1907-1925. These collections contain many type specimens that are still regularly consulted, especially of crustaceans and corals.
Extensive collections of marine invertebrates were also made on the Skeat Expedition to the Malay Peninsula (1899-1900). The crustacean material from this Expedition was described by W.F. Lanchester. Other material was added from the Southern Cross Expedition and most of the specimens collected by A. Willey in the ‘Loyalty Islands’ and ‘New Britain’ were also deposited here, including some of the earliest live-collected specimens of Nautilus. Duplicate specimens from the Challenger voyage were also deposited here.
The Museum also contains important collections of ‘Polyzoa’, including the major part of that made by E.C. Jelly, the authority of her day on this group of organisms. Other specimens of ‘Polyzoa’ and corals from the Torres Strait are represented in the collection of A.C. Haddon, whereas the C. Crossland collection contains ‘Polyzoa’ from Zanzibar, as well as sponges from the Cape Verde Islands.