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January 21, 2013
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Life Sciences Seminar

 

 

Building a Vision of Nature: The NHM as Art and Architecture

 

 

John Holmes

Reading University

 

Friday 25 of January 11:00

Sir Neil Chalmers seminar room, Darwin Centre LG16 (below Attenborough studio)

 

 

The NHM is not only one of the world's great natural history museums, it is also one of the most beautiful. The look of the museum reflects the vision of two eminent Victorians: the comparative anatomist Richard Owen and the architect Alfred Waterhouse. Owen and Waterhouse shared a concept of nature as the creative work of God. They sought to embody that idea in the very fabric of the building itself, in its structures, plans, materials and decorations. In this talk, John Holmes will explore the different ways in which Waterhouse's building communicates this understanding of nature, how they cohere into a single vision of the natural world, and how far they have – or have not – proven adaptable to changing understandings of the natural world over the 130 years since the museum first opened.

 

 

For additional details on attending this or other seminars see http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/seminars-events/index.html

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Life Sciences Seminar

 

 

Meiofaunal community assessment of seamounts on the Southwest Indian Ocean Ridge

 

 

Tim Ferrero

Aquatic Invertebrates, Dept. of Life Sciences, NHM

 

Wednesday 23 of January 11:00

Sir Neil Chalmers seminar room, Darwin Centre LG16 (below Attenborough studio)

 

 

Species biodiversity and ecological function are two of the most important biological factors that define ecosystems. Globally, the marine ecosystem, especially the deep sea, is poorly documented and the Southwest Indian Ocean Ridge (SWIR) is noted as a particularly data deficient region. Seamounts on the SWIR are both numerous and diverse, extending from sub-polar waters in the SW to those beneath subtropical seas in the SE. The latitudinal range also follows a productivity gradient from relatively eutrophic in the south to relatively oligotrophic in the North. Seamounts are important as biodiversity hot spots and as models for the study of endemism and speciation in the deep sea. They are also vulnerable to on-going pressure from the fishing industry and the new threat of mineral mining. Therefore the study of seamount fauna provides an excellent opportunity to explore the role of diversity drivers such as primary production and disturbance, both anthropogenic (fishing) and natural (hydrodynamic regime), together with factors such as temperature, depth and oxygen concentration. Deep water coral systems, often found on seamount systems, represent significant biogenic structuring and an understanding of their role in creation of habitat complexity and maintenance of biodiversity is crucial in developing conservation strategies. Nematodes are poorly known from seamounts but have the potential to provide important information on how disturbance and productivity affect seamount infaunal communities. Our study aims to provide an assessment of nematode community assemblages from the same depth across the SWIR seamounts and thus across a productivity gradient, using both morphological and molecular techniques in order to determine the extent to which disturbance and productivity gradients affect nematode assemblages. We also assess biogeographic patterns of nematodes across the SWIR and the role of biogenic habitat complexity.

 

 

For additional details on attending this or other seminars see http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/seminars-events/index.html