Marine Studies

Marine Studies

The University of the South Pacific Marine Collection

The USP Marine Collection is a natural history collection of marine biodiversity from the South Pacific region, with over 20,000 records of coral, macroalgae, seagrass, invertebrates and finfish. The Collection is housed at the School of Marine Studies, which is located at the university’s Lower Campus in Laucala Bay (Suva, Fiji).

The Collection is primarily a repository for regional biodiversity marine specimens, however, researchers and students regularly use the facilities for their own research and learning. Special tours for pre-tertiary school students are also organised.


Collection History

Collections were initiated in the Suva area in the 1970’s, and slowly expanded to other areas in Fiji and the South Pacific region.  While the Collection initially maintained marine specimens, it now holds regional estuarine and freshwater biodiversity specimens.

Notable early contributions of coral, invertebrates and fish to the Collection were by Bruce Carlson (former Director of the Waikiki Aquarium and Georgia Aquarium) and Mike Gawel (EPA, Guam), with identification verification by John Randall (Bishop Museum) and Michel Pichon (Australian Institute of Marine Science). In the 1980’s, fish specimens were provided by Victor Springer and colleagues of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC (USA), as well as Richard Winterbottom and his team from the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto came in 1986.

The 2000’s saw contributions from a team from the University of Hawai’i and a donation of over 8,000 mollusc specimens collected from the Astrolabe reef (Kadavu, Fiji) by Joan Koven of Astrolabe Incorporated.

Johnson Seeto, who was the Collection curator until 2014, played an instrumental role in expanding the Collection and documenting regional species occurrence.

USP postgraduate research students associated with biodiversity research also contribute specimens of their species of interest or those specimens collected during fieldwork.

Making the Collection records available online

In 2016 the School of Marine Studies, on behalf of USP, with regional partners, successfully obtained a €61,435 grant from the European Union funded Biodiversity Information for Development (BID) programme, which is administered by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF).

The regional project, titled “Capacity building and data mobilization for conservation and decision making in the South Pacific”, aimed to make South Pacific regional biodiversity data available online. The project partners included The Vanuatu Environmental Science Society, the Environment & Conservation Division (ECD), Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management & Meteorology (MECDM) - Solomon Islands, The Pacific Community and California State University Monterey Bay.

The USP is a registered GBIF publisher and we are publishing our Collection records (occurrence data) at regular intervals. Also through GBIF, we are now publishing biodiversity datasets by USP research staff and students (sampling-event data).

Interested in contributing to or visiting the Collection?

We will be happy to answer any questions from interested contributors and users of the Collection. USP research staff and students, who are interested in publishing their biodiversity datasets, are also encouraged to contact us.

Please contact:

Curator: Mr. Kelly Brown

Email: kelly.brown(at)

Telephone: +679 323 1811

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Page updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Marine Studies
School of Agriculture, Geography, Environment, Ocean and Natural Sciences
Laucala Bay Road,
Suva, Fiji.
Tel: (+679) 323 2930
Fax: (+679) 323 1526
Email: Contact Us