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Sexual selection in prehistoric animals: misidentifications and false positives

 

Prof Kevin Padian, Department of Integrative Biology & Museum of Paleontology, University of California, Berkeley

 

Tuesday 11th December 2012
Neil Chalmers Seminar Room, DC2, NHM, 1330

 

Darwin acknowledged that the roles of some morphological structures are difficult to determine.  But he was clear about what sexual selection is, and the role of sexual dimorphism in it.  Because Darwin invented sexual selection, and based it on observations that have never been falsified, his definition cannot be wrong.  It has three components: (1) it explains why sexual dimorphism exists, and its central role in sexual selection; (2) the dimorphic structures or behaviours are used by one gender to attract mates or repel rivals for mates; and (3) these structures and behaviours help the bearer gain access to mates.  Strangely, palaeontologists and neontologists have largely ignored him.  Assertions of sexual selection/dimorphism in the fossil record suffer from a lack of statistical rigor and an unwillingness to test hypotheses through independent lines of evidence.  No such study has had any independent assessment of the chronological age or stage of its individuals, although such information is frequently available.  We show why much alleged sexual dimorphism in fossil tetrapods is more likely simply ontogenetic change, and why both a statistically significant population sample and an independent assessment of age of specimens are needed before the hypothesis of sexual dimorphism can be tested.

 

 

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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The big bang: the impact of twenty years of molecular systematics on understanding the algae.

 

by Professor Juliet Brodie, NHM

 

Wednesday 28 November 2012

6pm (following AGM at 5pm)

Linnean Society, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BF

 

Molecular systematics occupies a minute fraction of time in the history of science, but its impact has been transformative in revealing hitherto unrecognised diversity of life on earth. Furthermore, it has enabled us to see the extent of genetic diversity that is not necessarily reflected in the morphology of organisms. This has led to a fundamental shift in species concepts and as a consequence has profound implications for understanding distribution, rarity and endemism. In this talk Juliet Brodie will explore these ideas using examples from algal groups that she has studied and attempt comparisons with other organisms. She will also argue the necessity of using molecular systematics in understanding the impact of environmental factors such as climate change and ocean acidification.

 

 

The meeting is open to visitors

 

Wine will be served after the lecture to members and guests

 

http://www.systass.org/events/presidents_lecture_2012.shtml

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What can psyllids tell us that other bugs can't?
A non-model model organism for studying plant-insect interactions

 

Diana Percy

Terrestrial Invertebrates, Dept.of Life Sciences, NHM

 

Wednesday 28 of November 11:00
Sir Neil Chalmers seminar room, Darwin Centre LG16 (below Attenborough studio)


Psyllids exhibit the greatest degree of host specificity amongst the sternorrhynchan plant-feeders, and they are the only members of this group to have retained a complex vibrational communication system [sound and light show includes backup band]. But can psyllids reveal things that studying other bugs can't? I will present examples of how systematic analyses of psyllid lineages can provide remarkable insights into host mediated diversification. From modest beginnings of “who eats what where?”, we can build up a picture of how these observed plant-insect interactions came to be. Combining these observations with molecular systematics and genomics approaches will help us interpret the past and look into the future to make predictions of “who will eat what where?” – the psyllid version of “eats shoots and leaves”.

 

 

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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Ralf Britz and collaborators from the Conservation Research Group from St Albert's College, Kochi, Kerala have published a series of papers describing three new fish species from South India.

 

Pristolepis rubripinnis, Dario urops and Pangio ammophila were discovered during the January 2012 NHM-funded visit of Dr Ralf Britz to Kochi, to work with Dr Rajeev Raghavan. Historical specimens of the fish collection in the Natural History Museum collected by Sir Francis Day in the 1860s and 70s played an important role in the resolution of taxonomic and nomenclatural issues before the species could be described.

 

This series of papers highlights our incomplete knowledge of one of the most important biodiversity hotspots in Asia, the Western Ghats, a mountain range along the west coast of Peninsular India. Both Pristolepis rubripinnis and Dario urops are of particular interest in that closely related species are found in north-eastern India - it is not clear how this distribution arose because there are no river connections between the two areas that would have allowed ancestral populations to separate, migrate and diverge into different species. 


Britz, R., Kumar, K. & Baby, F. (2012). Pristolepis rubripinnis, a new species of fish from southern India (Teleostei: Percomorpha: Pristolepididae). Zootaxa, 3345: 59-68.

Britz, R., Ali, A. & Philip, S. (2012). Dario urops, a new species of badid fish from the Western Ghats, southern India (Teleostei: Percomorpha: Badidae). Zootaxa, 3348: 63-68.

Britz, R., Ali, A. & R. Raghavan. (2012). Pangio ammophila, a new species of eel-loach from Karnataka, southern India (Teleostei: Cypriniformes: Cobitidae). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, 23: 45-50.

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Earth Science Department Seminar

Posted by C Lowry Nov 22, 2012

Palaeontology Seminar

 

Microstructure of modern sea pen axes – a tool for the systematics of fossil pennatulaceans (Octocorallia)

 

Dr Mike Reich, University of Göttingen

 

Thursday 29th November

Neil Chalmers Seminar Room, DC2, 12:00 (the first of two talks that day)

 

 

 

Pennatulaceans are considered to be a very distinct and specialised group of octocorallian cnidarians, known from soft bottom areas of the intertidal to the deep sea. Since they are largely composed of soft tissue, the systematics of modern sea pens (Anthozoa: Octocorallia) are mostly based on soft-part morphology. Among the only hard parts (an axial rod and various sclerites) present in most species, only the sclerites have been employed as systematic traits. However, both types of hard parts, especially the calcareous axial rod, are often the only remnants of fossil Pennatulacea. Fossil sea pen axes (known since the Late Cretaceous) have therefore mostly been placed in the ‘collective genus’ Graphularia without any further systematic assignment. A study of hard-part morphology, using 20 modern sea pen species from 10 of the 14 valid families, has shown that the microstructure of the axial rod is relatively consistent within a genus, whereas the cross-section may vary between the distal ends of the rachis and the peduncle. Using field emission SEM, the microstructure of at least a dozen fossil Graphularia species have been studied. By comparing the microstructure of modern and fossil sea pens, similarities allow a placement of fossil pennatulacean species close to modern genera and within modern families, demonstrating the value of axis microstructure as a systematic trait.

 

 

 

 

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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Palaeontology Seminar

 

The latitudinal biodiversity gradient through deep time

 

Dr Philip Mannion, Imperial College London

 

Thursday 29th November
Neil Chalmers Seminar Room, DC2, 16:00 (second of two talks that day)

 

 


Today, biodiversity increases from polar to equatorial regions. Despite representing a fundamental pattern governing the distribution of the vast majority of life on Earth today, the causes of this latitudinal biodiversity gradient remain unresolved. Understanding this pattern is critical to predictions of climatically-driven biodiversity loss. The fossil record offers a unique perspective on the evolution of this gradient, providing a dynamic system in which to explore spatiotemporal diversity fluctuations. Deep time studies indicate that a gradient was present from 500 million years ago, but that it has not been a persistent pattern throughout the history of complex life. Instead, recent work has revealed a palaeotemperate peak in Mesozoic dinosaurs and other early Cenozoic groups, suggesting that the steep, modern-type gradient might only have come into existence in the last 30 million years

 

 

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

Posted by C Lowry Nov 15, 2012

Cold water and hot air: the evolution of lunglessness in amphibians

Mark Wilkinson
Vertebrates, Dept of Life Sciences, NHM

Wednesday 21st November,11:00

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

 

Lunglessness is rare in Amphibians but has evolved independently at least once in each of the three main groups (frogs, salamanders, caecilians).  A 'classical' hypothesis for the evolution of lunglessness in salamanders explains it as an adaptation to reduce disadvantageous buoyancy in fast flowing waters. This hypothesis was first seriously challenged in the 1990's prior to the discoveries of lungless frogs and caecilians. I will review the arguments in the controversy, discuss the implications of the more recent discoveries and reveal some startling new findings regarding the true nature of the most recently described lungless caecilian.

 

 

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

0

Collection Management Seminar

Posted by C Lowry Nov 15, 2012

What?

What on earth is a Permanent Loan? Loans In review and the challenge of dealing with old loans.

 

When?

Friday 23rd November 2012, 2.30pm-4.00pm

 

 

Where?

Flett Lecture Theatre, NHM, South Kensington

 

 

Who? Speaker: 

Lee Murrell, Imperial War Museums, London

 

 

What’s it about?

IWM London is now well into its Loans Review Project. The output has already improved how loans are administered and led to the creation of my role. I’ll talk about the aims and methods of the review, some of the problems that came to light and look at some of the ways that it is integrated with other museum projects.

 

 

Who should come?

The seminar is open to all members of the museum who are interested in getting involved or learning more about a Review of Loans In. It is suggested that the following staff will find the seminar most useful.

 

Science Group: All senior departmental managers & collection management staff.

 

Public Engagement Group:  Any staff who work with and use collections or manage staff who work with collections.

 

 

We also welcome colleagues from other institutions who would find the seminar of interest. There is no booking fee and only large parties need to notify the organiser for catering purposes.

 

 

Tea and coffee will be available in the seminar room lobby area after the talk.

 

Suggestions for seminar speakers are always most welcome. Please contact the organiser Clare Valentine (c.valentine@nhm.ac.uk )

 

 

 

               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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Fungal-plant associations in Palaeozoic-Mesozoic times


Dr Christine Strullu-Derrien, Department of Earth Sciences, NHM


Thursday 15th November
Neil Chalmers Seminar Room, DC2, NHM 15:00

 


 

A fungal mode of life (mycelial growth and mode of nutrition) is shared by several living groups of organisms, notably Fungi (Eumycota) and Oomycetes (Stramenopila). Originally, a lot of these groups were called fungi, but now we know that they have quite diverse relationships among eukaryotes. These organisms are known to have coexisted with plants since the dawn of life on land, but their role in plant evolution is still poorly understood.


 

Recent research based on historic collections of petrified plants is opening up a rich new source of information for the study of fungal-plant associations. Dr Strullu-Derrien will present an overview of recent findings including fossil evidence for fungi and fungi-like symbionts in Palaeozoic and Mesozoic ecosystems.


 

 

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

0

RECENT PUBLICATIONS

Posted by C Lowry Nov 8, 2012

Publications for the previous 4 to 5 weeks (Search done 8th Nov.)

Search on the basis of ‘Nat SAME Hist SAME Mus* SAME Lon* using Web of Science + TRING

EARTH SCIENCES

ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL MINERALOGY

Buffet, P.E., Amiard-Triquet, C., DYBOWSKA, A., Risso-de Faverney, C., Guibbolini, M., VALSAMI-JONES, E. & Mouneyrac, C. 2012. Fate of isotopically labeled zinc oxide nanoparticles in sediment and effects on two endobenthic species, the clam Scrobicularia plana and the ragworm Hediste diversicolor. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 84: 191-198. 

Gioia, R., Li, J., Schuster, J., Zhang, Y.L., Zhang, G., Li, X.D., SPIRO, B., Bhatia, R.S., Dachs, J. & Jones, K.C. 2012. Factors Affecting the Occurrence and Transport of Atmospheric Organochlorines in the China Sea and the Northern Indian and South East Atlantic Oceans. Environmental Science & Technology, 46(18): 10012-10021. 

Keller, J. & ZAITSEV, A.N. 2012. Geochemistry and petrogenetic significance of natrocarbonatites at Oldoinyo Lengai, Tanzania: Composition of lavas from 1988 to 2007. Lithos, 148: 45-53. 

KHAN, F.R., MISRA, S.K., GARCIA-ALONSO, J., SMITH, B.D., STREKOPYTOV, S., RAINBOW, P.S., LUOMA, S.N. & VALSAMI-JONES, E. 2012. Correction: Bioaccumulation Dynamics and Modeling in an Estuarine Invertebrate Following Aqueous Exposure to Nanosized and Dissolved Silver (vol 46, pg 7621, 2012). Environmental Science & Technology, 46(18): 10381-10381. 

KNIGHT, K.S. 2012. Low temperature thermoelastic and structural properties of LaGaO3 perovskite in the Pbnm phase. Journal of Solid State Chemistry, 194: 286-296. 

Paar, W.H., Cooper, M.A., Moelo, Y., STANLEY, C.J., Putz, H., Topa, D., Roberts, A.C., Stirling, J., Raith, J.G. & Rowe, R. 2012. Eldragónite, Cu6BiSe4(Se2), a new mineral species from the El Dragón mine, Potosí, Bolivia, and its crystal structure. Canadian Mineralogist, 50(2): 281-294. 

Papp, G., Criddle, A.J. & STANLEY, C.J. 2012. A re-investigation of "Dognácskaite". Canadian Mineralogist, 50(2): 341-351. 

SCOTNEY, P.M., Carney, J.N. & Harwood, M. 2012. New information on Neoproterozoic-Cambrian geology and the Triassic unconformity around Groby, southern Charnwood Forest, UK. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, 59: 37-51. 

 

INVERTEBRATES AND PLANTS

LLOYD, G.T., Pearson, P.N., Young, J.R. & SMITH, A.B. 2012. Sampling bias and the fossil record of planktonic foraminifera on land and in the deep sea. Paleobiology, 38(4): 569-584. 

MA, X.Y., Hou, X.G., Aldridge, R.J., Siveter, D.J., Siveter, D.J., Gabbott, S.E., Purnell, M.A., Parker, A.R. & EDGECOMBE, G.D. 2012. Morphology of Cambrian lobopodian eyes from the Chengjiang Lagerstatte and their evolutionary significance. Arthropod Structure & Development, 41(5): 495-504. 

Mergl, M. & ZAMORA, S. 2012. New and revised occurrences of rhynchonelliformean brachiopods from the middle Cambrian of the Iberian Chains, NE Spain. Bulletin of Geosciences, 87(3): 571-586. 

Muadsub, S., Sutcharit, C., Pimvichai, P., Enghoff, H., EDGECOMBE, G.D. & Panha, S. 2012. Revision of the rare centipede genus Sterropristes Attems, 1934, with description of a new species from Thailand (Chilopoda: Scolopendromorpha: Scolopendridae). Zootaxa(3484): 35-52. 

SMITH, A.B. 2012. Cambrian problematica and the diversification of deuterostomes. Bmc Biology, 10: Article no. 79. DOI 10.1186/1741-7007-10-79. 

MINERAL AND PLANETARY SCIENCES

HUNT, A.C., Parkinson, I.J., Harris, N.B.W., Barry, T.L., Rogers, N.W. & Yondon, M. 2012. Cenozoic Volcanism on the Hangai Dome, Central Mongolia: Geochemical Evidence for Changing Melt Sources and Implications for Mechanisms of Melting. Journal of Petrology, 53(9): 1913-1942. 

STEELE, R.C.J., Coath, C.D., Regelous, M., RUSSELL, S. & Elliott, T. 2012. Neutron-poor nickel isotope anomalies in meteorites. Astrophysical Journal, 758(1): Article No. 59. DOI: 10.1088/0004-637x/758/1/59. 

Tomioka, N., MORLOK, A., Koike, C., Kohler, M. & GRADY, M. 2012. Laihunite in planetary materials: An FTIR and TEM study of oxidized synthetic and meteoritic Fe-rich olivine. Journal of Mineralogical and Petrological Sciences, 107(4): 157-166. 

WELCH, M.D. & Wunder, B. 2012. A single-crystal X-ray diffraction study of the 3.65-phase MgSi(OH)(6), a high-pressure hydroxide perovskite. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals, 39(9): 693-697. 

 

 

VERTEBRATES, ANTHROPOLOGY & MICROPALAEONTOLOGY

Edwards, D., RICHARDSON, J.B., Axe, L. & Davies, K.L. 2012. Correction: A new group of Early Devonian plants with valvate sporangia containing sculptured permanent dyads (vol 168, pg 229, 2012). Botanical Journal Of the Linnean Society, 170(2): 283-283. 

MAIDMENT, S.C.R. & BARRETT, P.M. 2012. Does morphological convergence imply functional similarity? A test using the evolution of quadrupedalism in ornithischian dinosaurs. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 279(1743): 3765-3771. 

Preece, R.C. & PARFITT, S.A. 2012. The Early and early Middle Pleistocene context of human occupation and lowland glaciation in Britain and northern Europe. Quaternary International, 271: 6-28. 

 

 

 

LIFE SCIENCES 

 

International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature. 2012. Editorial: Amendment of Articles 8, 9, 10, 21 and 78 of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature to expand and refine methods of publication. Zootaxa(3450): 1-7. 

International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature. 2012. Editorial: Amendment of Articles 8, 9, 10, 21 and 78 of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature to expand and refine methods of publication. ZooKeys(219): 1-10. 

 

AQUATIC INVERTEBRATES

Hill, A., Guralnick, R., Smith, A., Sallans, A., Gillespie, R., Denslow, M., Gross, J., Murrell, Z., CONYERS, T., Oboyski, P., Ball, J., Thomer, A., PRYS-JONES, R., de la Torre, J., Kociolek, P. & Fortson, L. 2012. The notes from nature tool for unlocking biodiversity records from museum records through citizen science. ZooKeys(209): 219-233. 

KHAN, F.R., MISRA, S.K., GARCIA-ALONSO, J., SMITH, B.D., STREKOPYTOV, S., RAINBOW, P.S., LUOMA, S.N. & VALSAMI-JONES, E. 2012. Correction: Bioaccumulation Dynamics and Modeling in an Estuarine Invertebrate Following Aqueous Exposure to Nanosized and Dissolved Silver (vol 46, pg 7621, 2012). Environmental Science & Technology, 46(18): 10381-10381.

Ng, P.K.L. & CLARK, P.F. 2012. Danielita Ng, Clark & Tan, 2010 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura: Ocypodoidea: Camptandriidae), preoccupied by Danielita Kiriakoff, 1970 (Lepidoptera: Glossata: Heteroneura: Noctuoidea: Notodontidae) [Letter]. Zootaxa(3490): 48-48. 

Williams, J.J., BROOKS, S.J. & Gosling, W.D. 2012. Response of chironomids to late Pleistocene and Holocene environmental change in the eastern Bolivian Andes. Journal of Paleolimnology, 48(3): 485-501. 

Winterton, S.L., Guek, H.P. & BROOKS, S.J. 2012. A charismatic new species of green lacewing discovered in Malaysia (Neuroptera, Chrysopidae): the confluence of citizen scientist, online image database and cybertaxonomy. ZooKeys(214): 1-11. 

 

 

GENOMIC AND MICROBIAL DIVERSITY

Abramovich, R.S., Pomati, F., JUNGBLUT, A.D., Guglielmin, M. & Neilan, B.A. 2012. T-RFLP Fingerprinting Analysis of Bacterial Communities in Debris Cones, Northern Victoria Land, Antarctica. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 23(3): 244-248. 

 

 

PARASITES & VECTORS

ATTWOOD, S.W. & Upatham, E.S. 2012. Observations on Neotricula aperta (Gastropoda: Pomatiopsidae) population densities in Thailand and central Laos: implications for the spread of Mekong schistosomiasis. Parasites & Vectors, 5: Article no. 126. DOI:10.1186/1756-3305-5-126. 

EMERY, A.M., ALLAN, F.E., RABONE, M.E. & ROLLINSON, D. 2012. Schistosomiasis collection at NHM (SCAN). Parasites & Vectors, 5: Article no. 185. DOI: 10.1186/1756-3305-5-185. 

Galaktionov, K.V., Blasco-Costa, I. & OLSON, P.D. 2012. Life cycles, molecular phylogeny and historical biogeography of the 'pygmaeus' microphallids (Digenea: Microphallidae): widespread parasites of marine and coastal birds in the Holarctic. Parasitology, 139(10): 1346-1360. 

Navidpour, S., Vazirianzadeh, B., HARBACH, R., Jahanifard, E. & Moravvej, S.A. 2012. The identification of culicine mosquitoes in the Shadegan wetland in southwestern Iran. Journal of Insect Science, 12: Article No. 105.

 

 

PLANTS

BYSTRIAKOVA, N., Peregrym, M., Erkens, R.H.J., Bezsmertna, O. & SCHNEIDER, H. 2012. Sampling bias in geographic and environmental space and its effect on the predictive power of species distribution models. Systematics and Biodiversity, 10(3): 305-315. 

Christenhusz, M.J.M. & SCHNEIDER, H. 2012. (2054) Proposal to conserve the name Drynaria against Aglaomorpha (Polypodiaceae). Taxon, 61(2): 465-466. 

ELLIS, L.T., Alegro, A., Bansal, P., Nath, V., Cykowska, B., Bednarek-Ochyra, H., Ochyra, R., Dulin, M.V., Erzberger, P., Garcia, C., Sergio, C., Claro, D., Stow, S., Hedderson, T.A., Hodgetts, N.G., Hugonnot, V., Kucera, J., Lara, F., Pertierra, L., Lebouvier, M., Liepina, L., Mezaka, A., Strazdina, L., Madzule, L., Reriha, I., Mazooji, A., Natcheva, R., Phephu, N., Philippov, D.A., Plasek, V., Cihal, L., Pocs, T., Porley, R.D., Sabovljevic, M., Salimpour, F., Motlagh, M.B., Sharifnia, F., Darzikolaei, S.A., Schafer-Verwimp, A., Segota, V., Shaw, A.J., Sim-Sim, M., Sollman, P., Spitale, D., Holzer, A., Stebel, A., Vana, J., van Rooy, J. & Voncina, G. 2012. New national and regional bryophyte records, 32. Journal of Bryology, 34: 231-246. 

JONES, K., Anderberg, A.A., De Craene, L.P.R. & Wanntorp, L. 2012. Origin, diversification, and evolution of Samolus valerandi (Samolaceae, Ericales). Plant Systematics and Evolution, 298(8): 1523-1531.

Ligrone, R., DUCKETT, J.G. & Renzaglia, K.S. 2012. The origin of the sporophyte shoot in land plants: a bryological perspective. Annals of Botany, 110(5): 935-941. 

SARKINEN, T., Staats, M., Richardson, J.E., Cowan, R.S. & Bakker, F.T. 2012. How to Open the Treasure Chest? Optimising DNA Extraction from Herbarium Specimens. PLoS ONE, 7(8): Article no. e43808. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0043808. 

 

 

TERRESTRIAL INVERTEBRATES

AGASSIZ, D.J.L. 2012. The Acentropinae (Lepidoptera: Pyraloidea: Crambidae) of Africa. Zootaxa(3494): 1-73.  (Scientific Associate)

BLAGODEROV, V., KITCHING, I.J., LIVERMORE, L., SIMONSEN, T.J. & SMITH, V.S. 2012. No specimen left behind: industrial scale digitization of natural history collections. ZooKeys(209): 133-146. 

Butcher, B.A., Smith, M.A., Sharkey, M.J. & QUICKE, D.L.J. 2012. A turbo-taxonomic study of Thai Aleiodes (Aleiodes) and Aleiodes (Arcaleiodes) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Rogadinae) based largely on COI barcoded specimens, with rapid descriptions of 179 new species. Zootaxa(3457): 7-+. 

QUICKE, D.L.J., BROAD, G.R. & Butcher, B.A. 2012. First host record for the Palaeotropical braconine wasp genus Cassidibracon Quicke (Hymenoptera, Braconidae) with the description of a new species from India. Journal of Hymenoptera Research, 28: 135-141. 

QUICKE, D.L.J., Smith, M.A., Miller, S.E., Hrcek, J. & Butcher, B. 2012. Colastomion Baker (Braconidae, Rogadinae): nine new species from Papua New Guinea reared from Crambidae. Journal of Hymenoptera Research, 28: 85-121.

Proshchalykin, M.Y. & KUHLMANN, M. 2012. The bees of the genus Colletes Latreille 1802 of the Ukraine, with a key to species (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Colletidae). Zootaxa(3488): 1-40. 

Wheeler, Q., Bourgoin, T., Coddington, J., Gostony, T., Hamilton, A., Larimer, R., POLASZEK, A., Schauff, M. & Solis, M.A. 2012. Nomenclatural benchmarking: the roles of digital typification and telemicroscopy. ZooKeys(209): 193-202. 

Regier, J.C., Mitter, C., Solis, M.A., Hayden, J.E., Landry, B., Nuss, M., SIMONSEN, T.J., Yen, S.H., Zwick, A. & Cummings, M.P. 2012. A molecular phylogeny for the pyraloid moths (Lepidoptera: Pyraloidea) and its implications for higher-level classification. Systematic Entomology, 37(4): 635-656. 

Seltmann, K.C., Yoder, M.J., Miko, I., Forshages, M., Bertone, M.A., Agosti, D., Austin, A.D., Balhoff, J.P., Borowiec, M.L., Brady, S.G., BROAD, G.R., Brothers, D.J., Burks, R.A., Buffington, M.L., Campbell, H.M., Dew, K.J., Ernst, A.E., Fernandez-Triana, J.L., Gates, M.W., Gibson, G.A.P., Jennings, J.T., Johnson, N.E., Karlsson, D., Kawada, R., Krogmann, L., Kula, R.R., Mullins, P.L., Ohl, M., Rasmussen, C., Ronquist, F., Schulmeister, S., Sharkey, M.J., Talamask, E., Tucker, E., Vilhelmsen, L., Ward, P.S., Wharton, R.A. & Deans, A.R. 2012. A hymenopterists' guide to the Hymenoptera Anatomy Ontology: utility, clarification, and future directions. Journal of Hymenoptera Research, 27: 67-88. 

SMITH, V.S. & BLAGODEROV, V. 2012. Bringing collections out of the dark. ZooKeys(209): 1-6. 

VERTEBRATES

AGORRETA, A. & RUBER, L. 2012. A standardized reanalysis of molecular phylogenetic hypotheses of Gobioidei. Systematics and Biodiversity, 10(3): 375-390. 

Hill, A., Guralnick, R., Smith, A., Sallans, A., Gillespie, R., Denslow, M., Gross, J., Murrell, Z., CONYERS, T., Oboyski, P., Ball, J., Thomer, A., PRYS-JONES, R., de la Torre, J., Kociolek, P. & Fortson, L. 2012. The notes from nature tool for unlocking biodiversity records from museum records through citizen science. ZooKeys(209): 219-233.

KHAN, F.R., MISRA, S.K., GARCIA-ALONSO, J., SMITH, B.D., STREKOPYTOV, S., RAINBOW, P.S., LUOMA, S.N. & VALSAMI-JONES, E. 2012. Correction: Bioaccumulation Dynamics and Modeling in an Estuarine Invertebrate Following Aqueous Exposure to Nanosized and Dissolved Silver (vol 46, pg 7621, 2012). Environmental Science & Technology, 46(18): 10381-10381.

Murphy, J.C., Mumpuni, de Lang, R., GOWER, D.J. & Sanders, K.L. 2012. The Moluccan short-tailed snakes of the genus Brachyorrhos  Kuhl (Squamata: Serpentes: Homalopsidae), and the status of Calamophis Meyer. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 60(2): 501-514.

RASMUSSEN, P.C., Allen, D.N.S., COLLAR, N.J., DeMeulemeester, B., Hutchinson, R.O., Jakosalem, P.G.C., Kennedy, R.S., Lambert, F.R. & Paguntalan, L.M. 2012. Vocal divergence and new species in the Philippine Hawk Owl Ninox philippensis complex. Forktail(28): 1-20. 

RUSSELL, D.G.D., Sladen, W.J.L. & Ainley, D.G. 2012. Dr. George Murray Levick (1876-1956): unpublished notes on the sexual habits of the Adelie penguin. Polar Record, 48(247): 387-393.  WILKINSON, M. 2012. Caecilians. Current Biology, 22(17): R668-R669.

SCIENCE FACILITIES

KHAN, F.R., MISRA, S.K., GARCIA-ALONSO, J., SMITH, B.D., STREKOPYTOV, S., RAINBOW, P.S., LUOMA, S.N. & VALSAMI-JONES, E. 2012. Correction: Bioaccumulation Dynamics and Modeling in an Estuarine Invertebrate Following Aqueous Exposure to Nanosized and Dissolved Silver (vol 46, pg 7621, 2012). Environmental Science & Technology, 46(18): 10381-10381. 

Schmahl, W.W., Griesshaber, E., Kelm, K., BALL, A., Goetz, A., Xu, D.Y., Kreitmeier, L. & Jordan, G. 2012. Towards systematics of calcite biocrystals: insight from the inside. Zeitschrift Fur Kristallographie, 227(8): 604-611. 

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Life Sciences Seminar

Posted by C Lowry Oct 23, 2012

Australia’s forgotten spider hunters –

Systematics and biology of pompilid wasps (Hymenoptera: Pompilidae)

 

 

Lars Krogmann

Dep.of Entomology, State Museum of Natural History, Stuttgart, Germany

Friday 26th of October 11:00

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

 

Spider wasps (Pompilidae) is a distinctive group of wasps of rather homogeneous morphology and biology. Female wasps search for spiders which they paralyse and provide as food for their developing larvae. Pompilids are recognised as one of the most difficult wasp groups in terms of species taxonomy and from the point of view of phylogeny and classification. The Australian fauna is highly diverse but still largely unknown with an estimate of 500-600 species of spider wasps, about 60% of which are still undescribed. The generic level classification of described taxa is extremely chaotic and the absence of identification keys has rendered the Australian fauna largely inaccessible for biological research for more than two centuries. The subfamily Pepsinae comprises the poorest studied Australian genera, many of which were described on the basis of a single specimen. Numerous pepsine genera exhibit a striking level of sexual dimorphism, which complicates sex associations. A generic level revision of the Australian Pompilidae is presented along with information on their biodiversity and biogeography. After this revision, 49 pompilid genera are recognized in four subfamilies, which are diagnosed and included in a comprehensive identification key. Five genera are described as new, in addition to five that are newly recorded and six that are excluded from the Australian fauna. Large amounts of new distributional data and new host records have been collected based on museum collections and recent fieldwork. Among the new host records is the infamous redback spider (Latrodectus hasselti), which was found to be parasitized by a species of the newly revised pompilid genus Agenioideus.

 

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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Collection Management Seminar

 

What?

A Quantum of Control – Collecting and Preserving Natural History Collections

 

When?

Thursday 25th October 2012, 2.30pm-4.00pm

Where?

Flett Lecture Theatre, NHM, South Kensington

 

Who? Speakers: 
Chris Collins, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 5BD.

 

What’s it about?

Modern Collections are a rich resource for scientists who wish to undertake large-scale analysis of our natural world. As techniques develop so an increasing number of these collections come within reach of molecular genomic analysis or interpretation through improving imaging or other analytical techniques. The role of conservation is to ensure the preservation of an object in as close a state as possible to its collection condition (or entry in the museum) while maintaining its physical access to the widest (legal) possible range of users. In doing this we have some difficult decisions to make all of which will compromise the specimen and its access.

 

 

The museum continues to use a range of techniques to collect and preserve specimens, yet most of the processes used to stabilize especially organic objects are poorly understood and have a major influence on the preservation of objects for current and future research. So what do we know about the techniques we use, and what can collectors and other staff do to ensure the better preservation of their collections. Better understanding of deterioration processes, improved planning between collection, research and estates could enhance both the conditions in which the collections are preserved, the data sets we strive to preserve for research and also enhance our science outreach. This talk looks at the range of techniques and standards we use, the ethics that bound the field and future techniques that could improve the data sets we collect.  It also discusses how museums can use approaches in conservation to better integrate our preservation, educational, scientific services to improve access to collections for all users of the museum. 

 

 

Who should come?

The seminar is open to all members of the museum but it is suggested that the following staff will find the seminar most useful.

 

 

Science Group: All senior departmental managers & collection management staff.

 

 

Public Engagement Group:  Any staff who work with and use collections or manage staff who work with collections.

 

We also welcome colleagues from other institutions who would find the seminar of interest. There is no booking fee and only large parties need to notify the organiser for catering purposes.

Tea and coffee will be available in the seminar room lobby area after the talk.

Suggestions for seminar speakers are always most welcome. Please contact the organiser Clare Valentine (c.valentine@nhm.ac.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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Tuesday 23rd October
Neil Chalmers Seminar Room (DC2. LG16), 11:00

 

Biodiversity through Time – Why Understanding the Rock Record Matters

Dr Andrew SMITH, Earth Sciences, The Natural History Museum

This seminar is part of the new MRes course jointly organised by UCL, the NHM and the IoZ. Although this is primarily for the benefit of the MRes students, if you would like to attend, please feel free to do so. 

 

 

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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Some metals are an essential part of the metabolism of living organisms - Iron, Calcium, Sodium and Potassium, for example.  Others can be poisonous in the short term or over time - Lead and Mercury are both familiar examples. 

 

However, the impact of these toxic metals depends first on the way in which they behave in chemical terms in the environment - whether they are available to be absorbed by the organism (bioavailable).  Second, it depends on the way in which they are treated by the organism once absorbed.  Some toxic metals are easily excreted by organisms; others can gradually accumulate to the point of toxic effect over time; yet others may be bound up by proteins and rendered non-toxic to be stored in relatively inert form inside the organism (bioaccumulation) so organisms can be described as tolerant of the toxic metals and may survive in polluted environments.

 

It has been proposed that the bioaccumulated concentrations of toxic metals in tolerant biomonitor organisms can be used as indicators of metal bioavailability - where bioaccumulated concentrations are high, bioavailability is high.  This could be used to predict the ecological impact of those metals on groups of organisms that are more sensitive to metal pollution - direct measurement of low levels of metal pollution impact over time for sensitive organisms is both difficult and expensive.

 

Phil Rainbow, Sam Luoma, Brian Smith (Life Sciences) and colleagues addressed this proposal in the mining-affected streams of Cornwall. Mines operated over many years, now disused, have resulted in soil and stream pollution by metal-rich tailings and ore. 

 

Their hypothesis was that metal concentrations in the caddisfly larvae Hydropsyche siltalai and Plectrocnemia conspersa, as tolerant biomonitors, indicate metal bioavailability in contaminated streams, and can be calibrated against metal-specific ecological responses of more sensitive mayflies. Bioaccumulated concentrations of Copper, Arsenic, Zinc and Lead in H. siltalai from Cornish streams were measured and related to the mayfly assemblage.

 

Caddis NaturalHistoryMuseum_PictureLibrary_002034_Comp.jpg

Caddisfly larva - showing its protective case made of stones and vegetation

 

They found that Mayflies were always sparse where bioavailabilities (measured from caddis) were high.  However, mayflies were abundant and diverse where bioavailabilities of all metals were low.  This was particularly evident when the combined abundance of two particular groups of mayflies (heptageniid and ephemerellid) was measured.

 

The results offer promise that bioaccumulated concentrations of metals in tolerant biomonitors can be used to diagnose ecological impacts on stream benthos (organisms living on the stream bed) from metal stress.

 



P.S. Rainbow, A.G. Hildrew, B.D. Smith, T. Geatches and S.N. Luoma (2012). Caddisflies as biomonitors identifying thresholds of toxic metal bioavailability that affect the stream benthos. Environmental Pollution 166, 196-207.mayfly NaturalHistoryMuseum_PictureLibrary_002019_Comp-1.jpg

Ephemera danica - the larva of a mayfly

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The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is an international agreement under the UN umbrella that focuses on biodiversity information, conservation and sustainable use. Most of the World's countries have signed up to the CBD since it was initiated in 1992. It represents a common understanding of what biodiversity is; who owns and controls genetic resources; what information is needed to protect biodiversity and make decisions about its use; and how countries work together on all sorts of issues.

 

Dr Chris Lyal of the NHM has developed a lot of expertise on policy,  collaboration and capacity building under the CBD.  He is the focal  point for the UK for the Global Taxonomy Initative, a CBD programme that  aims to share taxonomic information and expertise. As a scientist, Chris is an expert on the taxonomy of weevils, a group of beetles that are significant crop pests - this involves deep knowledge of classification, naming and description of new species from around the world.

 

The Conference of the Parties to CBD (COP) is held every couple of years and COP 11 is currently being held in Hyderabad in central India.  Chris is there on behalf of the  NHM and has been in discussion with delegates from governments and other organisations on the science behind biodiversity and CBD initiatives.

 

One of the foci for CBD is invasive species.  There have always been natural patterns of change in the distribution of plants and animals. However, when humans cause species to be introduced - by accident or design - to new areas of the World they can cause major impacts.  They may become pests on crops or cause unexpected declines in natural biodiversity, for example, and can have huge economic costs. 

 

A new Global Invasive Alien Species Information Partnership has been formed to share and develop information on invasive species and to support development of expertise. Chris Lyal attended the inaugural signing of the partnership agreement and will be leading the NHM's contribution.

 

Chris at COP.jpg

Chris (standing) signing the GIASIP agreement on behalf of the NHM


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