These projects are primarily focused on the study of hydrozoans (gelatinous and mostly marine animals related to corals and jellyfish) from the JTMD biological collection, permanently held at the Royal BC Museum in a collaborative agreement with the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES). In 2016, PICES, acting as administrator of a project titled Japanese Tsunami Marine Debris (JTMD): Preservation and Custodianship of an Extraordinary Archive of Biological Samples, awarded a grant to the Royal BC Museum and Henry Choong to archive and curate the unique biological sample collection of biota (marine invertebrates).
External collaborators include Dale R. Calder, curator emeritus of invertebrate zoology at the Royal Ontario Museum and Royal BC Museum research associate; James T. Carlton of the Mystic Seaport Maritime Studies Program at Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts; and John W. Chapman of the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, Newport, Oregon. The initial paper from this research effort was published in 2013, in the journal BioInvasions Record. In this paper, the authors reported the first transoceanic dispersal record of the western Pacific hydroid Sertularella mutsuensis Stechow, 1931, and discussed the taxonomic and ecological implications of this occurrence. Subsequent papers reported upon collections of additional coastal hydroid species (and one likely pelagic hydroid, Obelia griffini Calkins, 1899). To date, 28 species of hydroids are known from Japanese tsunami marine debris. Overall, researchers have documented 289 living Japanese coastal marine species from 16 phyla (major groups) transported over 6 years on
JTMD objects that traveled thousands of kilometers across the Pacific Ocean to the shores of North America and Hawai‘i.