Research in the NCSM Non-molluscan Invertebrate Unit follows two broad organismal themes: 1. crayfishes and two groups of obligate crayfish ectosymbionts, and 2. marine bryozoans. That said, we are generally interested in aquatic host-symbiont relationships or associations. Really, who isn’t enamored by anchor worms, tongue-eating isopods, and rhizocephalans? (Don’t worry, we won’t hold it against you.)

What drives our research? Passion of course, and lots and LOTS of coffee. 

To learn more about our various projects, follow us on social media. But as a teaser, here are a few examples of research being undertaken by Unit staff and/or interns:

  • Life history and ecology of leeches of North and South Carolina
  • Genetic and morphological dynamics within a hybrid zone 
  • Host-symbiont community response to invasion
  • Epibiota/associates within museum collections
  • Bryozoan biodiversity (“bryodiversity”) and taxonomy

In addition, please check out our Publications page to see past, and other ongoing, work.

Current funding

We admit, money also helps drive our research – and collections – activities. Current funded projects include:

  • Institute of Museum and Library Sciences, Museums for America Grant (MA-30-170117-17); addressing urgent conservation needs for three historically and regionally significant orphaned marine invertebrate acquisitions. B.W. Williams (Project Director). 2016-present.
  • Taxonomy and Conservation Status of Cambarus (Puncticambarus) sp. in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania State Wildlife Grant; B.W. Williams, Z.J. Loughman (WLU), & D.A. Lieb (PFBC). 2016-present.
  • Range, life history, and environmental tolerances of the Waccamaw crayfish (Procambarus braswelli) and the hummock crayfish (Procambarus lunzi) of near-coastal environments. South Carolina State Wildlife Grant; M.R. Kendrick & P. Kingsley-Smith (SCDNR), B.W. Williams (as Collaborating PI). 2017-present.
  • Distribution, Taxonomy, and Conservation Status of the Big Water Crayfish, Cambarus robustus, in North Carolina. North Carolina State Wildlife Grant; B.W. Williams & Z.J. Loughman (WLU). 2017-present.
  • Distributional surveys, taxonomic investigation, and conservation assessment of crayfishes in the Duck River Watershed of Tennessee and the Santee River Basin in North and South Carolina. USFWS Southeastern At-Risk Species Program (SEARS). Z.J. Loughman (WLU) & B.W. Williams. 2017-present.
  • Investigating dispersal of the invasive red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) and its effects on the distribution and status of native crayfish populations. South Carolina State Wildlife Grant; M.R. Kendrick & P. Kingsley-Smith (SCDNR), B.W. Williams (as Project Collaborator). 2018-present.