Skip navigation
You are here: Home > NaturePlus > Science News > Science News > 2014 > June
0

Margaret Cawsey, Curator of Data, Australian National Wildlife Collection, CSIRO

 

Friday 4 July 11:00

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

 

Specimen-based collection records from museums and herbaria are often regarded as a more authoritative basis for research than observational assertions. Through the Atlas of Living Australia (www.ala.org.au), Australian collections have a centralised venue for sharing their biodiversity data on a large scale. *3.3 million collection records are brought together with a variety of tools that enable researchers to select, interrogate, map and analyse these data. Scientists are taking advantage of the increasing accessibility and large numbers of these records to enhance their research - illustrative examples are presented. Advantage also accrues to collections, in that the value of their data to researchers, policy-makers, environmental managers and the community at large is demonstrated by data download statistics. The Atlas also provides tools for researchers to communicate with curators, in effect permitting collections to crowd-source the expert identification of data errors, facilitating rapid correction.


(*3.1 million have locational coordinates)

 

 

 

More information on attending seminars at http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/news-events/seminars/

0

Wednesday 2 July 11:00

 

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

 

 

Insects of Porton Down

 

Duncan Sivell, Curator of Diptera, NHM

 

Porton Down, in Wiltshire, is a wildlife-rich site that is, unsurprisingly, poorly collected.  We have been on several collecting trips to Porton Down and involved in training staff there in collecting and sorting insects. Here I present some preliminary results from the first two years of this collaboration.

 


Sampling insects from wild potatoes and tomatoes in Peru

 

Daniel Whitmore, Curator of Diptera, NHM


One of the goals of the NHM’s Crops Wild Relatives Initiative is to map and model the distributions of plant wild relatives and their potential insect pests, based on the digitisation of museum collections and on the collection of new data from the wild. In late February-early March 2014 I participated in one of the CWR field trips in Peru. We explored four valleys in the Lima and Ancash departments from sea level up to 4700 m, sampling from ca. 30 sites and 130 plants. In this talk I will present an overview of the habitats we visited, the plants we sampled from, the collecting methods used and some (very) preliminary results, as well as a few entomological highlights from the trip.

 

More information on attending seminars at http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/news-events/seminars/

0

Sounds of Australia (ext).jpg

0

Nora Castañeda

 

International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)

 

Friday 27 June 11:00

 

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

 

 

Crop wild relatives (CWR) are increasingly used in breeding due to unique traits that are transferable thanks to their genetic closeness to cultivated species. Despite their importance, they are underrepresented in ex situ genebanks and threats such as land use and climate change may jeopardize their survival in their natural habitats. As part of the Project "Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change: Collecting, Protecting and Preparing the Crop Wild Relatives", we have prioritized taxa requiring urgent collection for ex situ conservation and mapped the distributions of near 1000 crop wild relatives, finding patterns of species richness globally.

 

More information on attending seminars at http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/news-events/seminars/

0

Dr Mark Wilson – Professor of Natural Sciences and Geology, The College of Wooster, Ohio, USA

 

Earth Sciences Seminar Room

 

(Basement, WEB 05, the previous Mineralogy Seminar Room)

 

24th June - 4.00 pm

 

The rocks of the marine Callovian sections (around 164 million years old) in southern Israel give us a rare look at tropical invertebrate faunas in the Jurassic. The Matmor Formation in particular is rich in sponges, corals, bryozoans, molluscs, and echinoderms. In the past decade many new taxa have been described from the unit, allowing us to begin comparing temperate and tropical Jurassic communities. These fossils are abundant and well preserved in a detailed stratigraphic framework. They represent an important assemblage for studying the evolution and biogeography of Jurassic invertebrates.

 

More information on attending seminars at http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/news-events/seminars/

0

Dr Jim Costa


Executive Director, Highlands Biological Station,  Highlands, NC, USA and

Professor of Biology, Western Carolina  University, Cullowhee, NC, USA

 

Wednesday 30th July 2014 16.30–17.30

 

Flett Events Theatre - Exhibition Road Entrance

 

All welcome!

 

Alfred Russel Wallace was the last of the great Victorian naturalists, and by the end of his long life in 1913 he was also one of the most famous scientists in the world, lauded by leading learned societies, British royalty and US Presidents alike. Against all odds—lacking wealth, formal education, social standing or connections—Wallace became the pre-eminent tropical naturalist of his day. He founded one entirely new discipline—evolutionary biogeography—and, with Darwin, co-founded another: evolutionary biology. Yet today Darwin's name is universally recognised, while Wallace is all but unknown.

 

Darwinwallace.jpg

In this lecture, Jim traces the independent development of Wallace's and Darwin's evolutionary insights, exploring the fascinating parallels, intersections and departures in their thinking. Drawing on Wallace's 'Species Notebook'  (the most important of Wallace's field notebooks kept during his southeast Asian explorations of the 1850s) he puts Wallace's thinking into a new light in relation to that of his more illustrious colleague. He also examines the ups and downs of Wallace's relationship with Darwin, and critically evaluates the misleading conspiracy theories that Wallace was wronged by Darwin and his circle over credit for the discovery of natural selection. Tracing the arc of Wallace's reputation from meteoric rise in the 19th century to virtual eclipse in the 20th, Costa restores Wallace to his proper place in the limelight with Darwin.

 

About Jim Costa


Jim’s research ranges from insect social behaviour to the history of evolutionary thinking. As a recent fellow-in-residence at the Berlin Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin, Germany, Jim completed two books about  Wallace. On the Organic Law of Change (Harvard, 2013) is an annotated transcription of the most important field notebook kept by Wallace during his explorations in southeast Asia, providing new insights into the development of Wallace's evolutionary thinking in the 1850s. In the companion volume Wallace, Darwin, and the Origin of Species (Harvard, 2014) Jim analyses Wallace's ideas and arguments about evolution in the notebook period in comparison with those of Darwin, and examines the relationship between these two giants of evolutionary biology.

 

The annual Wallace Lecture is organised by the NHM’s Wallace Correspondence Project - http://wallaceletters.info/

0

Chris Yesson

 

Department of Life Sciences, NHM

 

Friday 13 June 11:00

 

Earth Sciences (Mineralogy) Seminar Room, Basement, WEB 05

 

Chris Yesson will be talking about his two concurrent research projects.  On first sight it may seem that examining the distribution of coastal seaweeds of the UK may not have much overlap with a study assessing the impact of trawling on benthic habitats on the continental shelf of west Greenland, but commonalities in approaches to spatial and imaging analysis means there is more overlap that just one researcher jumping between topics.

 

More information on attending seminars at http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/news-events/seminars/

0

Ellie Adamson,   Department of Life Sciences, NHM

 

Wednesday 11 June 11:00

 

Earth Sciences (Mineralogy) Seminar Room, Basement, WEB 05

 

 

Freshwater habitats in tropical Asia are home to many interesting endemic freshwater fishes. Their diversification history is frequently explained in terms of eustacy and past river geomorphology.

 

This talk will discuss vicariant patterns in fishes across freshwater habitats from India to Wallace’s line, based on the distribution of their genetic diversity. In particular, I’ll focus on the biogeography of snakeheads and gouramis.

 

More information on attending seminars at http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/news-events/seminars/