Collection Data

Page Contents: Section | Significance | Background | Location & Dates | Taxonomic Contents | Documentation | Description of Collection | Collection Inventory | Collection Assets

American Petroleum Institution, Project 51-Robert H. Parker 1951–1962

Section Responsible for Processing



Part of our large collection of Mexican polychaetes, used for morphological, phylogenetic, environmental, and historical studies.


From 1951 to 1962 the American Petroleum Institution funded Project 51 at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. This was a study of near shore depositional environments in the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf of California. Primarily geologic in nature, the SIO participants included Robert H. Parker who did extensive work on taxonomy & ecology of macro-invertebrates.

Collection Location and Dates

Gulf of Mexico - Over 2000 samples were taken mostly in the East Mississippi Delta region and in central Texas bays and Laguna Madre between 1951 and 1957.

Gulf of California – 272 biological samples were taken between 1958 and 1963. These were taken on the cruises listed below and others not listed in documents available to us.

Cruises by SIO
Tuna Oceanographic Cruise 11 – Nov. 1958
Vermilion Sea Expedition I – March-May 1959 (RV Spencer F. Baird and RV Horizon)
Vermilion Sea Expedition II – May-June 1959
Vermilion Sea Expedition – Francis Shepard – April 1959
Southern Borderland Cruise III – Feb. 1960
Curray Orca Cruise – March – April 1960
Holt Expedition – Dec. 1960
Baja Slope Expedition – May 1961
Curray – Gulf of California Winter Cruise - Nov. 1961
Cruises by Advanced Systems Development Division of Pneumodynamics Corp., El Segundo
AEC-1 – March 1960
AEC-2 – March-April 1960
AEC-3 – Nov. 3

Samples for both studies were taken with a variety of dredges, trawls, and grabs. Sediment samples were screened through nested sieves, the smallest of which had 1.0 mm mesh. All dredges and trawls had inner mesh of approximately 1 cm.

Taxonomic Contents

Gulf of Mexico - The polychaetes were sent to Olga Hartman at AHF and identified by her student Donald J. Reish.

Gulf of California – Some specimens were sent to taxonomists at the Allan Hancock Foundation: polychaetes to Olga Hartman, brachyuran decapods to John Garth, pagurids to Janet Haig, ophiuroids and asteroids to Frank Ziesenhenne, and bryozoans to John Soule. These were given to NHMLAC when the AHF collections were transferred here. Brachiopods were sent to Heinz Lowenstam (California Institute of Technology) and may have arrived here as part of the Lowenstam donation in 1989. Approximately 1150 species were identified; Parker estimated that another third of the total taxa were probably new species.

Gulf of California taxonomists:
Dr. Edward C. Allison, San Diego State College - Hexacorallia
Dr. Frederick M. Bayer, University of Miami, Florida - Octocorallia
Dr. S. Stillman Berry, Redlands, California – Micro-molluscs
Dr. Leo Berner, National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C. - Salpa
Dr. Carl Boyd, Dalhousie Inst, of Oceanography, Halifax, Nova Scotia - Galatheidae
Dr. Edward Brinton, Scripps Institution - Euphausiacea
Dr. William G. Clark, formerly Scripps Institution - Mysidae
Dr. Arthur H. Clarke, Jr., National Museum of Canada, Ottawa – abyssal Buccinidae
Dr. Elisabeth Deichmann, Museum Comparative Zoology, Harvard - Holothuroidea
Dr. J.Wyatt Durham, Museum Paleontology, U. of Calif. Berkeley - Echinoidea
Dr. William K. Emerson, Amer. Mus. of Nat. History, New York - Scaphopoda
Dr. John S. Garth, Allan Hancok Foundation, U. of S. Calif. - Brachyura
Mr. Gilbert Grau, Hollywood, California - Pectinidae
Dr. Janet Haig, Allan Hancock Foundation, U. of S. Calif. - Paguridae
Dr. Cadet Hand, Dept. Zoology, U. of California, Berkeley - Anthozoa
Dr. G. Dallas Hanna, California Academy of Sciences - Conidae
Dr. Olga Hartman, Allan Hancock Foundation, U. of S. Calif. - Polychaeta
Dr. Willard D. Hartman, Peabody Museum, Yale University - Porifera
Dr. Joel W. Hedgpeth, Pacific Marine Station, Dillon Beach, Calif. - Pycnogonidae
Dr. Jorgen Knudsen, Zoological Muzeum, Copenhagen, Denmark – abyssal pelecypoda
Dr. Henning Lemche, Zoological Muzeum, Copenhagen, Denmark - Opisthobranchiata
Dr. Heinz Lowenstam, Calif. Inst, of Technology, Pasadena, Calif. – Brachiopoda
Dr. Ernst Marcus, Universidad de Sao Paulo, Brasil – abyssal nudibranchiata
Dr. John A. McGowan, Scripps Institution – Cephalopoda
Dr. Robert Parker, Scripps Institution - Mollusca
Dr. Allyn G. Smith, California Academy of Sciences - Amphineura
Dr. Rudolph Stohler, Zoology Dept. U. of California, Berkeley - Amphineura
Dr. John D. Soule, Allan Hancock Foundation, U. of S. Calif. - Bryozoa
Dr. Mathilde Schwabl, Zool. Institute, Univ. of Vienna, Austria - Solenogasters
Mr. J. R. Thompson, U.S. Bur. Fish., Pascagoula, Mississippi - Peneaeidae
Dr. Torben Wolff, Zoological Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark - Isopoda
Dr, John Yaldwyn, Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia - Decapoda -shrimp
Prof. C. M. Yonge, University of Glasgow, Scotland - Mollusca
Mr. Fred C. Ziesenhenne, Allan Hancock Found., U. of S. Calif. - Ophiuroidea and Asteroidea
Dr. Victor Zullo, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Mass. – Cirripedia


Electronic files and papers held in Polychaete office. Information and photos from the first Vermilion Sea Expedition can be found on the website “California Explores the Ocean” at

Parker, R.H. 1955. Changes in invertebrate fauna, apparently attributable to salinity changes in the bays of central Texas. Journal of Paleontology 29(2): 193-211.
Parker, R.H. 1956. Macro-invertebrate assemblages as indicators of sedimentary environments in east Mississippi Delta region. Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists 40(2): 295-376, 8 pls. (from shore to ~90 fm contour, collections 1951-1954, biological sampling done at 280+ stations and 130 bottom-sediment sites. Donald Reish at AHF did polychaetes which are now at NHMLAC.)
Parker, R.H. 1959. Macro-invertebrate assemblages of central Texas coastal bays and Laguna Madre. Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists 43(9): 2100-2166, 6 pls. (Rockfort, Texas area; polychaetes are not mentioned)
Parker, R.H. 1960. Ecology and distributional patterns of marine macro-invertebrates, northern Gulf of Mexico. In: Recent Sediments, Northwest Gulf of Mexico, 1951-1958, publ. American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Tulsa, Oklahoma: 302-380, 17 figs., 6 pls.
Parker, R.H. 1961. Speculations on the origin of the invertebrate fauna of the lower continental slope. Deep-Sea Research 9(3-4): 286-293.
Parker, R.H. 1963. Zoogeography and ecology of some macro-invertebrates, particularly mollusca in the Gulf of California and the continental slope off Mexico. Vidensk. Medd. Dansk. Natur. Foren., Copenh. 126: 1-178, 15 pls.
Parker, R.H., Curray, J.R. 1956. Fauna and bathymetry of banks on continental shelf, northwest Gulf of Mexico. Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists 40(10): 2428-39, 1 pl.
Fauchald, K. 1970. Polychaetous annelids of the families Eunicidae, Lumbrineridae, Iphitimidae, Arabellidae, Lysaretidae and Dorvilleidae from western Mexico. Allan Hancock Monographs in Marine Biology 5: 1-335.
Fauchald, K. 1972. Benthic polychaeteous annelids from deep water off western Mexico and adjacent areas in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Allan Hancock Monographs in Marine Biology 7: 1-575.
Garth, J.S., Stephenson, W. 1966. Brachyura of the Pacific Coast of America. Brachyrhyncha: Portunidae. Allan Hancock Monographs in Marine Biology 1: 154 pp.
Harvey, A.W., McLaughlin, P.A. 1991. Two new hermit crabs of the genus Pagurus (provenzanoi group) (Crustacea, Anomura, Paguridae) from the Eastern Pacific , with notes on their ecology. Contributions in Science 425: 13-21, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
Reish, D.J. 1958. Description of a new species of Cossura (Annelida: Polychaeta) from the Mississippi Delta. Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 48(2): 53-55.
Westervelt, Jr., C.A. 1967. The littoral anomuran decapods crustacean fauna of the Punta Penasco-Bahia La Cholla area in Sonora, Mexico. Ph.D. thesis, University of Arizona, 143 pp.

Description of Collection

Wet preserved collection. Samples originally fixed in 10% formalin, later rinsed in fresh water and transferred into 70% ethanol. Specimens were integrated into the appropriate section collection while at the AHF. The assessment below applies only to Polychaetes.

Collection Inventory

None. The amount of polychaete specimens, while thought to be large, could only be inventoried by examining all bottles in the collection to see which ones came from this project.

Collection Assets

Date View or Retrieve File Information
11/24/2014 Retrieve [4793.7 kB] Westervelt_1967_anomuran_PuntaPenasco_BahiaLaCholla_Sonora.
11/24/2014 Retrieve [2796.6 kB] Parker_1959_macro-invert-assemblages_Central-Texas_1.
11/24/2014 Retrieve [2450.8 kB] Parker_1959_macro-invert-assemblages_Central-Texas_2.
11/24/2014 Retrieve [2570.9 kB] Parker_1955_changes_inverts_salinity-changes_bays-central-Texas.
11/24/2014 Retrieve [11346.7 kB] Parker_1963_zoogeography_ecology_macro-inverts_GulfCA_Mex.
11/24/2014 Retrieve [1250.5 kB] Parker_Curray_1956_fauna_bathymetry_banks_continental-shelf_GulfMex.
11/24/2014 Retrieve [4455.0 kB] Parker_1956_macro-invert-assemblages_east-Mississippi_1.
11/24/2014 Retrieve [4253.2 kB] Parker_1956_macro-invert-assemblages_east-Mississippi_2.
11/24/2014 Retrieve [19577.7 kB] Parker_1960_ecology_distribution_marine-macro-inverts_Northern-GulfMex.
11/24/2014 Retrieve [3255.4 kB] McLaughlin_Haig_1993_hermit-crabs.
11/24/2014 Retrieve [1282.9 kB] Harvey_McLaughlin_1991_hermit-crabs.
11/24/2014 View [110.3 kB] Shell dredge, RV Baird, Vermillion Sea 1959.
11/24/2014 Retrieve [14868.3 kB] Parker_1964_zoogeography_ecology_macro-inverts_Gulf-California_continental-slope_Western-Mexico
11/24/2014 Retrieve [26615.4 kB] Transaction of the San Diego Society of Natural History, volume 16, 1970-1972.
11/24/2014 View [239.0 kB] Retrieving dredge, RV Horizon, Vermilion Sea 1959.
11/24/2014 View [359.3 kB] Vermilion Sea (Gulf of California), RV Horizon, 1959.
11/24/2014 View [97.0 kB] Vermilion Sea (Gulf of California), RV Horizon, 1959.
11/24/2014 View [79.9 kB] RV Horizon and Spencer Baird Gulf 1959, Vermilion Sea.
11/24/2014 View [107.4 kB] Vermilion Sea examining Petersen grab sample, RV Baird.
11/24/2014 View [284.6 kB] Petersen grab, RV Baird, Vermilion Sea 1959.
11/24/2014 View [73.0 kB] Petersen grab, RV Baird, Vermilion Sea 1959.
11/24/2014 View [370.5 kB] Vermilion Sea 1959, trawl on deck.

Curatorial Status (Click to view)