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Palaeontology Seminar

Posted by C Lowry Apr 24, 2012

Palaeontology Seminar


Floral palaeoecology of the Middle Jurassic of Argentina using palynological analysis and its potential application to hydrocarbon exploration



Thursday 26th April
Neil Chalmers Seminar Room, DC2, 16:00



Dr. Stephen Stukins, Department of Palaeontology, NHM



Palaeoenvironmental reconstructions using palynology are often based upon allochthonous sporomorphs but often fail to take into account how transportation and depositional processes alter the assemblages, leading to misinterpretations. To resolve this, a methodology has been developed that aims to eliminate the bias of the sedimentation process and gives a new interpretation on palaeoenvironmental analysis. This talk reviews the approach using a case study from the Middle Jurassic of the Neuquén Basin, Argentina.


The findings show a dynamic ecosystem with broad ecological trends, one opposing the static models of vegetation ecology often presented from palaeo scenarios. In addition, the palaeoenvironmental analysis is combined with sedimentological and geochemical parameters to give an insight into future predictive models for the exploration of complex, marginal marine deposits such as those witnessed in the stunning outcrops of the Lajas Formation.


For additional details on attending this or other seminars see


As part of the Annual NHM Integrated Pest Management Awareness


Thursday 26th April 2012

2.30pm - 4.00pm

Flett Lecture Theatre, NHM, South Kensington London, SW7 5BD


Armando Mendez, Suzanne Ryder and David A. Smith from the Natural History Museum

Regular trapping and periodical inspections alerted Natural History Museum’s IPM Group to a rise in the number of webbing clothes moths, Tineola bisselliella, in the Museum’s Mammal corridor in late 2010.  This awareness led to the combined use of pheromone lure traps and a new visual display of trapping data.  This was used with the collections management system KE-EMu  to closely follow the evolution of the infestation.


At the time, a rodent infestation was discovered in a Museum themed gallery, quite distant from the original moth infestation. However, in this rodent location, Tineola moths were also discovered in textile materials contaminated by rodents. The use of pheromone traps and digital cameras proved that both infestations were linked and that there was a strong possibility that the moths were thriving in the welcoming environment created by the rodents. The pests were using under-floor ventilation ducts to move around the Museum’s public galleries, posing a threat to the Mammal specimens on display in those galleries.


To deal with the problems, the Museum’s IPM group coordinated the efforts of several teams to apply remedies based on IPM principles and best practice.Housekeeping, Design & Installation and Estates maintenance teams are working together, coordinated by the IPM group, to control this infestation. A trial of a new pheromone distraction product is also underway.


  • The seminar is open to all museum professionals. We 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.
  • NHM staff from Science Group and Public Engagement Group are encouraged to attend, whether managers, collections management staff or those who work with and use collections or manage staff who work with collections.


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 (

NHM, Collection Management Seminar (see NHM Website for further details on how to attend


Publications for the previous 4 -5 weeks (Search done 21st February.)




ELLIS, L.T. 2011. Type specimens of taxa described by C. F. Schwägrichen in the moss genera Calymperes and Syrrhopodon (Musci: Calymperaceae). Candollea, 66(2): 317-329.      

ELLIS, L.T., Darzikolaei, S.A., Shirzadian, S., Bakalin, V.A., Bednarek-Ochyra, H., Ochyra, R., Claro, D., Dulin, M.V., Eckel, P.M., Erzberger, P., Eziz, R., Sulayman, M., Garcia, C., Sergio, C., Stow, S., Hedderson, T., Hedenas, L., Kurschner, H., Li, W., Nebel, M., Nieuwkoop, J., Philippov, D.A., Plasek, V., Sawicki, J., Schafer-Verwimp, A., Stefanut, S. & Vana, J. 2011. New national and regional bryophyte records, 29. Journal of Bryology, 33: 316-323.  

Jüttner, I. & COX, E.J. 2011. Achnanthidium pseudoconspicuum comb. nov.: morphology and ecology of the species and a comparison with related taxa. Diatom Research, 26(1-2): 21-28.  

KENRICK, P., Wellman, C.H., SCHNEIDER, H. & EDGECOMBE, G.D. 2012. A timeline for terrestrialization: consequences for the carbon cycle in the Palaeozoic. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 367(1588): 519-536.  

KNAPP, S., McNeill, J.  & Turland,  N.J. 2011. Changes to publication requirements made at the XVIII International Botanical Congress in Melbourne - what does e-publication mean for you? Brittonia, 63(4): 505-509.  

KNAPP, S., McNeill, J.  & Turland,  N.J. 2011. Changes to Publication Requirements Made at the XVIII International Botanical Congress in Melbourne-What Does e-Publication Mean for You? Novon, 21(4): 440-443.  

KNAPP, S., McNeill, J.  & Turland,  N.J. 2011. Fungal nomenclature. Changes to publication requirements made at the XVIII International Botanical Congress in Melbourne - what does e-publication mean for you? Mycotaxon, 117: 509-515.  

MARTIN-CERECEDA, M. & COX, E.J. 2011. Morphological variation in a small Thalassiosira species (Bacillariophyta) under different culture regimes. Botanica Marina, 54(6): 563-574.  

Metcalf, J.S., Beattie, K.A., Purdie, E.L., BRYANT, J.A., IRVINE, L.M. & Codd, G.A. 2011. Analysis of microcystins and microcystin genes in 60-170-year-old dried herbarium specimens of cyanobacteria. Harmful Algae: (Article in Press).   

Price, M.J. & ELLIS, L.T. 2011. A lectotype for Breutelia chrysocoma (Hedw.) Lindb., (Bryophyta; Bartramiaceae). Journal of Bryology, 33: 308-315.  

Santos-Guerra, A., JARVIS, C.E., CARINE, M.A., Maunder, M. & Francisco-Ortega, J. 2011. Late 17th century herbarium collections from the Canary Islands: The plants collected by James Cuninghame in La Palma. Taxon, 60(6): 1734-1753.  

SÄRKINEN, T., Iganci, J.R.V., Linares-Palomino, R., Simon, M.F. & Prado, D.E. 2011. Forgotten forests - issues and prospects in biome mapping using Seasonally Dry Tropical Forests as a case study. BMC Ecology, 11(27): doi:10.1186/1472-6785-11-27.  

Varin, T., Lovejoy, C., JUNGBLUT, A.D., Vincent, W.F. & Corbeil, J. 2012. Metagenomic Analysis of Stress Genes in Microbial Mat Communities from Antarctica and the High Arctic. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 78(2): 549-559.  

Veillette, J., Lovejoy, C., Potvin, M., Harding, T., JUNGBLUT, A.D., Antoniades, D., Chénard, C., Suttle, C.A. & Vincent, W.F. 2011. Milne fiord epishelf lake: A coastal arctic ecosystem vulnerable to climate change. Ecoscience, 18(3): 304-316.    

WILLIAMS, D.M. 2011. Additions to and comments on the bibliography of Robert Ross. Diatom Research, 26(3-4): 317-318.  

WILLIAMS, D.M. 2011. Synedra, Ulnaria: definitions and descriptions - a partial resolution. Diatom Research, 26(1-2): 149-153.  

WILLIAMS, D.M. & Ebach, M.C. 2012. Confusing homologs as homologies: A reply to "On homology". Cladistics: (Article in Press).  




Carolan, J.C., Murray, T.E., Fitzpatrick, U., Crossley, J., Schmidt, H., Cederberg, B., McNally, L., Paxton, R.J., WILLIAMS, P.H. & Brown, M.J.F. 2012. Colour patterns do not diagnose species: Quantitative evaluation of a DNA barcoded cryptic bumblebee complex. PLoS ONE, 7(1).      

COOK, S., Moureau, G., Kitchen, A., Gould, E.A., De Lamballerie, X., Holmes, E.C. & HARBACH, R. 2012. Molecular evolution of the insect-specific flaviviruses. Journal of General Virology, 93(2): 223-234.     

Dai, W., Viraktamath,  C.A., WEBB, M.D. & Zhang, Y. 2012. Revision of the oriental leafhopper genus parallygus Melichar (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae: Deltocephalinae) with description of new species. Zootaxa(3157): 41-53.    

Fayle, T.M., Edwards, D.P., Turner, E.C., Dumbrell, A.J., EGGLETON, P. & Foster, W.A. 2012. Public goods, public services and by-product mutualism in an ant-fern symbiosis. Oikos: (Article in Press).      

Finn, D.S., Bonada, N., MURRIA, C. & Hughes, J.M. 2011. Small but mighty: headwaters are vital to stream network biodiversity at two levels of organization. Journal of the North American Benthological Society, 30(4): 963-980.  

Franco, A.O., Davies, C.R., Mylne, A., Dedet, J.P., Gallego, M., Ballart, C., Gramiccia, M., Gradoni, L., Molina, R., Galvez, R., Morillas-Marquez, F., Baron-Lopez, S., Pires, C.A., Afonso, M.O., READY, P.D. & Cox, J. 2011. Predicting the distribution of canine leishmaniasis in western Europe based on environmental variables. Parasitology, 138(14): 1878-1891.  

Frutos, P., Hoste, H., Sotiraki, S., HALL, M. & Jackson, F. 2011. Specificities of parasitism in goats and sheep: Interactions with nutrition and control strategies. Small Ruminant Research: (Article in Press).      

GE, D., Gómez-Zurita, J., CHESTERS, D., Yang, X. & VOGLER, A.P. 2012. Suprageneric systematics of flea beetles (Chrysomelidae: Alticinae) inferred from multilocus sequence data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 62(3): 793-805. (Article in Press)    

KUHLMANN, M., Guo, D., Veldtman, R. & Donaldson, J. 2012. Consequences of warming up a hotspot:species range shifts within a centre of bee diversity. Diversity and Distributions, ??: 1-13 (Article in Press).      

Millet, L., Rius, D., Galop, D., Heiri, O. & BROOKS, S.J. 2012. Chironomid-based reconstruction of Lateglacial summer temperatures from the Ech palaeolake record (French western Pyrenees). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 315-316: 86-99.      

POLASZEK, A., Rugman-Jones, P.F., Stouthamer, R., Hernandez-Suarez, E., Cabello, T. & Perez, M.D. 2012. Molecular and morphological diagnoses of five species of Trichogramma: biological control agents of Chrysodeixis chalcites (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and Tuta absoluta (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) in the Canary Islands. Biocontrol, 57(1): 21-35.  

QUICKE, D.L.J. & Butcher, B.A. 2011. Corrigendum to revision of the genus ischnobracon Baltazar (hymenoptera: Braconidae: Braconinae) by Areekul Butcher and Quicke (2010). Journal of Natural History, 45(39-40): 2525-2526.      

Rodriguez-Roche, R., Villegas, E., COOK, S., Poh Kim, P.A.W., Hinojosa, Y., Rosario, D., Villalobos, I., Bendezu, H., Hibberd, M.L. & Guzman, M.G. 2012. Population structure of the dengue viruses, Aragua, Venezuela, 2006-2007. Insights into dengue evolution under hyperendemic transmission. Infection, Genetics and Evolution: (Article in Press).      

ROSSER, N. & EGGLETON, P. 2012. Can higher taxa be used as a surrogate for species-level data in biodiversity surveys of litter/soil insects? Journal of Insect Conservation, 16(1): 87-92.  

Sotiraki, S. & HALL, M.J.R. 2011. A review of comparative aspects of myiasis in goats and sheep in Europe. Small Ruminant Research: (Article in Press).      

Stewart, J.R., Aspinall, S., Beech, M., FENBERG, P., Hellyer, P., Larkin, N., Lokier, S.W., Marx, F.G., Meyer, M., Miller, R., RAINBOW, P.S., TAYLOR, J.D., WHITTAKER, J.E., Al-Mehsin, K. & Strohmenger, C.J. 2011. Biotically constrained palaeoenvironmental conditions of a mid-Holocene intertidal lagoon on the southern shore of the Arabian Gulf: evidence associated with a whale skeleton at Musaffah, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Quaternary Science Reviews, 30(25-26): 3675-3690.  

Toth, M., Magyari, E.K., BROOKS, S.J., Braun, M., Buczko, K., Balint, M. & Heiri, O. 2012. A chironomid-based reconstruction of late glacial summer temperatures in the southern Carpathians (Romania). Quaternary Research, 77(1): 122-131.  

Van Asch, N., Lutz, A.F., Duijkers, M.C.H., Heiri, O., BROOKS, S.J. & Hoek, W.Z. 2012. Rapid climate change during the Weichselian Lateglacial in Ireland: Chironomid-inferred summer temperatures from Fiddaun, Co. Galway. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 315-316: 1-11.      

Williams, J.J., Gosling, W.D., BROOKS, S.J., Coe, A.L. & Xu, S. 2011. Vegetation, climate and fire in the eastern Andes (Bolivia) during the last 18,000 years. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, 312(1-2): 115-126.  

Yusah, K.M., FAYLE, T.M., Harris, G. & Foster, W.A. 2012. Optimizing Diversity Assessment Protocols for High Canopy Ants in Tropical Rain Forest. Biotropica, 44(1): 73-81.  

Zahiri, R., HOLLOWAY, J., KITCHING, I.J., Lafontaine, J.D., Mutanen, M. & Wahlberg, N. 2012. Molecular phylogenetics of Erebidae (Lepidoptera, Noctuoidea). Systematic Entomology, 37(1): 102-124.      




Anders, C., Bringa, E.M., Ziegenhain, G., GRAHAM, G.A., Hansen, J.F., Park, N., Teslich, N.E. & Urbassek, H.M. 2012. Why Nanoprojectiles Work Differently than Macroimpactors: The Role of Plastic Flow. Physical Review Letters, 108(2).  

Cong, Y., Banta, G.T., Selck, H., BERHANU, D., VALSAMI-JONES, E. & Forbes, V.E. 2011. Toxic effects and bioaccumulation of nano-, micron- and ionic-Ag in the polychaete, Nereis diversicolor. Aquatic Toxicology, 105(3-4): 403-411.  

Cuif, J.P., Dauphin, Y., HOWARD, L., Nouet, J., Rouziere, S. & Salome, M. 2011. Is the pearl layer a reversed shell? A re-examination of the theory of pearl formation through physical characterizations of pearl and shell developmental stages in Pinctada margaritifera. Aquatic Living Resources, 24(4): 411-424.  

Emmerton, S., Muxworthy, A.R., HEZEL, D.C. & BLAND, P.A. 2011. Magnetic characteristics of CV chondrules with paleointensity implications. Journal of Geophysical Research-Planets, 116(12).  

Griffin, L.D., ELANGOVAN, P., Mundell, A. & HEZEL, D.C. 2012. Improved segmentation of meteorite micro-CT images using local histograms. Computers and Geosciences, 39: 129-134.      

Hopkinson, L., Kristova, P., Rutt, K. & CRESSEY, G. 2012. Phase transitions in the system MgO-CO(2)-H(2)O during CO(2) degassing of Mg-bearing solutions. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 76: 1-13.  

Kampf, A.R., Mlls, S.J., Housley, R.M., RUMSEY, M.S. & SPRATT, J. 2012. Lead-tellurium oxysalts from Otto Mountain near Baker, California: VII. Chromschieffelinite, Pb(10)Te(6)O(20)(OH)(14)(CrO(4))(1120)5, the chromate analog of schieffelinite. American Mineralogist, 97(1): 212-219.  

Konopelko, D.L., Biske, Y.S., Kullerud, K., SELTMANN, R. & Divaev, F.K. 2011. The Koshrabad granite massif in Uzbekistan: petrogenesis, metallogeny, and geodynamic setting. Russian Geology and Geophysics, 52(12): 1563-1573.  

Kuznetsova, L.G., Zolotarev, A.A., Frank-Kamenetskaya, O.V., Rozhdestvenskaya, I.V., Bronzova, Y.M., SPRATTE, J. & Ertl, A. 2011. Chemical composition and species attribution of tourmalines from a rare-metal pegmatite vein with scapolite, Sangilen Upland, Tuva. Geology of Ore Deposits, 53(8): 806-817. 

Lambeck, K., Purcell, A., Flemming, N.C., VITA-FINZI, C., Alsharekh, A.M. & Bailey, G.N. 2011. Sea level and shoreline reconstructions for the Red Sea: isostatic and tectonic considerations and implications for hominin migration out of Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews, 30(25-26): 3542-3574.  

Lappe, S., Church, N.S., Kasama, T., Fanta, A.B.D., Bromiley, G., Dunin-Borkowski, R.E., Feinberg, J.M., RUSSELL, S. & Harrison, R.J. 2011. Mineral magnetism of dusty olivine: A credible recorder of pre-accretionary remanence. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, 12.  

MISRA, S.K., DYBOESKA, A., BERHANU, D., Croteau, M.N., Luoma, S.N., Boccaccini, A.R. & VALSAMI-JONES, E. 2012. Isotopically modified nanoparticles for enhanced detection in bioaccumulation studies. Environmental Science and Technology, 46(2): 1216-1222.      

Nouet, J., Baronnet, A. & HOWARD, L. 2012. Crystallization in organo-mineral micro-domains in the crossed-lamellar layer of Nerita undata (Gastropoda, Neritopsina). Micron, 43(2-3): 456-462.      

Patzer, A., HEZEL, D.C., Bendel, V. & Pack, A. 2012. Chondritic ingredients: I. Usual suspects and some oddballs in the Leoville CV3 meteorite. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 47(1): 142-157.  

Ruenraroengsak, P., Novak, P., BERHANU, D., Thorley, A.J., Valsami-Jones, E., Gorelik, J., Korchev, Y.E. & Tetley, T.D. 2012. Respiratory epithelial cytotoxicity and membrane damage (holes) caused by amine-modified nanoparticles. Nanotoxicology, 6(1): 94-108.  

Safonova, I.Y., Simonov, V.A., Kurganskaya, E.V., Obut, O.T., Romer, R.L. & SELTMANN, R. 2012. Late Paleozoic oceanic basalts hosted by the Char suture-shear zone, East Kazakhstan: Geological position, geochemistry, petrogenesis and tectonic setting. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences: (Article in Press).      

SKARTSILA, K. & Spanos, N. 2012. Adsorption monitoring of phospho-l-serine on hydroxyapatite. Colloid and Polymer Science: 1-9 (Article in Press).      

Spurný, P., BLAND, P.A., Shrbený, L., Borovička, J., Ceplecha, Z., Singelton, A., Bevan, A.W.R., Vaughan, D., Towner, M.C., McClafferty, T.P., Toumi, R. & DEACON, G. 2012. The Bunburra Rockhole Meteorite fall in SW Australia: Fireball trajectory, luminosity, dynamics, orbit, and impact position from photographic and photoelectric records. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 47(2): 163-185. (Article in Press)     

Veksler, I.V., Dorfman, A.M., Dulski, P., Kamenetsky, V.S., Danyushevsky, L.V., JEFFRIES, T. & Dingwell, D.B. 2012. Partitioning of elements between silicate melt and immiscible fluoride, chloride, carbonate, phosphate and sulfate melts, with implications to the origin of natrocarbonatite. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 79: 20-40.  

VITA-FINZI, C. 2012. Misattributed tsunami 2: The Tōhoku Japan (M w 9.0) 2011.3.11 earthquake. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 123(1): 19-21.      

Weider, S.Z., Kellett, B.J., Swinyard, B.M., Crawford, I.A., Joy, K.H., Grande, M., Howe, C.J., Huovelin, J., Narendranath, S., Alha, L., ANAND, M., Athiray, P.S., Bhandari, N., Carter, J.A., Cook, A.C., Duston, L.C., Fernandes, V.A., Gasnault, O., Goswami, J.N., Gow, J.P.D., Holland, A.D., Koschny, D., Lawrence, D.J., Maddison, B.J., Maurice, S., McKay, D.J., Okada, T., Pieters, C., Rothery, D.A., RUSSELL, S.S., Shrivastava, A., Smith, D.R. & Wieczorek, M. 2012. The Chandrayaan-1 X-ray Spectrometer: First results. Planetary and Space Science, 60(1): 217-228.      

ZAITSEV, A.N., Chakhmouradian, A.R., Siidra, O.I., SPRATT, J., WILLIAMS, C.T., STANLEY, C.J., Petrov, S.V., Britvin, S.N. & Polyakova, E.A. 2011. Fluorine-, yttrium- and lanthanide-rich cerianite-(Ce) from carbonatitic rocks of the Kerimasi volcano and surrounding explosion craters, Gregory Rift, northern Tanzania. Mineralogical Magazine, 75(6): 2813-2822.  




Bastir, M., Rosas, A., Gunz, P., Pena-Melian, A., Manzi, G., Harvati, K., KRUSZYNSKI, R., STRINGER, C. & Hublin, J.J. 2011. Evolution of the base of the brain in highly encephalized human species. Nature Communications, 2(1).  

Bates, K.T., MAIDMENT, S.C.R., Allen, V. & BARRETT, P.M. 2012. Computational modelling of locomotor muscle moment arms in the basal dinosaur Lesothosaurus diagnosticus: Assessing convergence between birds and basal ornithischians. Journal of Anatomy, 220(3): 212-232. (Article in Press)     

BENNETT, S.P., BARRETT, P.M., COLLINSON, M.E., MOORE-FAY, S., Davis, P.G. & PALMER, C.P. 2012. A new specimen of Ichthyosaurus communis from Dorset, UK, and its bearing on the stratigraphical range of the species. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 123(1): 146-154.      

Briant, R.M., Kilfeather, A.A., PARFITT, S., Penkman, K.E.H., Preece, R.C., Roe, H.M., Schwenninger, J.L., Wenban-Smith, F.F. & WHITTAKER, J.E. 2012. Integrated chronological control on an archaeologically significant Pleistocene river terrace sequence: The Thames-Medway, eastern Essex, England. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 123(1): 87-108.      

Cooper, M.R. & OWEN, H.G. 2011. Evolutionary relationships among Schloenbachiidae (Cretaceous Ammonoidea: Hoplitoidea), with a revised classification of the family. Neues Jahrbuch Fur Geologie Und Palaontologie-Abhandlungen, 262(3): 289-307.  

DI MARTINO, E. & TAYLOR, P.D. 2012. Morphology and palaeobiogeography of Retelepralia, a distinctive cheilostome bryozoan new to the fossil record. Neues Jahrbuch Fur Geologie Und Palaontologie-Abhandlungen, 263(1): 67-74.  

Donovan, S.K., Jagt, J.W.M. & LEWIS, D.N. 2011. Notes on some trace fossils and other parataxa from the Maastrichtian type area, southeast Netherlands and northeast Belgium. Netherlands Journal of Geosciences-Geologie En Mijnbouw, 90(2-3): 99-109.  

Evans, D.C., BARRETT, P.M. & Seymour, K.L. 2012. Revised identification of a reported Iguanodon-grade ornithopod tooth from the Scollard Formation, Alberta, Canada. Cretaceous Research, 33(1): 11-14.  

Farke, A.A., Ryan, M.J., BARRETT, P.M., Tanke, D.H., Braman, D.R., Loewen, M.A. & GRAHAM, M.R. 2011. A new centrosaurine from the Late Cretaceous of Alberta, Canada, and the evolution of parietal ornamentation in horned dinosaurs. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, 56(4): 691-702.  

FORTEY, R.A. 2011. A critical graptolite correlation into the Lower Ordovician of Gondwana. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, 58(4): 223-226.      

Giribet, G. & EDGECOMBE, G.D. 2012. Reevaluating the arthropod tree of life. Annual Review of Entomology, 57: 167-186.      

Huang, B., Rong, J. & COCKS, L.R.M. 2012. Global palaeobiogeographical patterns in brachiopods from survival to recovery after the end-Ordovician mass extinction. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology: (Article in Press).      

HUMPHREY, L., BELLO, S. & Rousham, E. 2012. Sex differences in infant mortality in Spitalfields, London, 1750-1839. Journal of Biosocial Science, 44(1): 95-119.  

KENRICK, P., Wellman, C.H., SCHNEIDER, H. & EDGECOMBE, G.D. 2012. A timeline for terrestrialization: consequences for the carbon cycle in the Palaeozoic. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 367(1588): 519-536.  

LLOYD, G.T. 2012. A refined modelling approach to assess the influence of sampling on palaeobiodiversity curves: new support for declining Cretaceous dinosaur richness. Biology Letters, 8(1): 123-126.  

LLOYD, G.T., YOUNG, J.R. & SMITH, A.B. 2012. Taxonomic Structure of the Fossil Record is Shaped by Sampling Bias. Systematic Biology, 61(1): 80-89.  

Milian, M.I., Weissert, H.J., OWEN, H., Fernandez-Mendiola, P.A. & Garcia-Mondejar, J. 2011. The Madotz Urgonian platform (Aralar, northern Spain): Paleoecological changes in response to Early Aptian global environmental events. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, 312(1-2): 167-180.  

Perry, C.T., Smithers, S.G., ROCHE, R.C. & Wassenburg, J. 2011. Recurrent patterns of coral community and sediment facies development through successive phases of Holocene inner-shelf reef growth and decline. Marine Geology, 289(1-4): 60-71.  

Royse, K.R., De Freitas, M., Burgess, W.G., Cosgrove, J., Ghail, R.C., Gibbard, P., King, C., Lawrence, U., Mortimore, R.N., OWEN, H. & Skipper, J. 2012. Geology of London, UK. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 123(1): 22-45.      

SELDEN, P.A., Nam, K.S., Kim, S.H. & Kim, H.J. 2012. A fossil spider from the cretaceous of Korea. Journal of Paleontology, 86(1): 1-6.  

SMITH, A.B. & BARRETT, P.M. 2012. Modelling the past: new generation approaches to understanding biological patterns in the fossil record Introduction. Biology Letters, 8(1): 112-114.  

Stewart, J.R., Aspinall, S., Beech, M., FENBERG, P., Hellyer, P., Larkin, N., Lokier, S.W., Marx, F.G., Meyer, M., Miller, R., RAINBOW, P.S., TAYLOR, J.D., WHITTAKER, J.E., Al-Mehsin, K. & Strohmenger, C.J. 2011. Biotically constrained palaeoenvironmental conditions of a mid-Holocene intertidal lagoon on the southern shore of the Arabian Gulf: evidence associated with a whale skeleton at Musaffah, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Quaternary Science Reviews, 30(25-26): 3675-3690.  

Vahtera, V., EDGECOMBE, G.D. & Giribet, G. 2012. Evolution of blindness in scolopendromorph centipedes (Chilopoda: Scolopendromorpha): insight from an expanded sampling of molecular data. Cladistics, 28(1): 4-20.  

WAESCHENBACH, A., TAYLOR, P.D. & LITTLEWOOD, D.T.J. 2012. A molecular phylogeny of bryozoans. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 62(2): 718-735.  

YOUNG, M.T., Bell, M.A., De Andrade, M.B. & Brusatte, S.L. 2011. Body size estimation and evolution in metriorhynchid crocodylomorphs: implications for species diversification and niche partitioning. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 163(4): 1199-1216.  

ZAMORA, S. & SMITH, A.B. 2012. Cambrian stalked echinoderms show unexpected plasticity of arm construction. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 279(1727): 293-298.  




Betson, M., Nejsum, P., LLEWELLYN-HUGHES, J., GRIFFIN, C., Atuhaire, A., Arinaitwe, M., Adriko, M., Ruggiana, A., Turyakira, G., Kabatereine, N.B. & Stothard, J.R. 2012. Genetic diversity of Ascaris in southwestern Uganda. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 106(2): 75-83.      

El-Rashidy, H.H. & BOXSHALL, G.A. 2012. A new copepod (Siphonostomatoida: Lernanthropidae) parasitic on a Red Sea immigrant dragonet (Actinopterygii: Callionymidae), with a review of records of parasitic copepods from dragonets. Systematic Parasitology, 81(2): 87-96.  

Foata, J., Quilichini, Y., Justine, J.L., BRAY, R.A. & Marchand, B. 2012. Ultrastructural study of spermiogenesis and the spermatozoon of Cavisoma magnum (Southwell, 1927) (Acanthocephala, Palaeacanthocephala, Cavisomidae), from Siganus lineatus (Pisces, Teleostei, Siganidae) (Valenciennes, 1835) in New Caledonia. Micron, 43(2-3): 141-149.      

Horne, E.C., BRAY, R.A. & Bousfield, B. 2011. The presence of the trematodes Cardiocephaloides physalis and Renicola sloanei in the African Penguin Spheniscus demersus on the east coast of South Africa. Ostrich, 82(2): 157-160.  

HUME, J.P. 2011. Systematics, morphology, and ecology of pigeons and doves (Aves: Columbidae) of the Mascarene Islands, with three new species. Zootaxa(3124): 1-+.  

HUYS, R., Fatih, F., Ohtsuka, S. & LLEWELLYN-HUGHES, J. 2012. Evolution of the bomolochiform superfamily complex (Copepoda: Cyclopoida): New insights from ssrDNA and morphology, and origin of umazuracolids from polychaete-infesting ancestors rejected. International Journal for Parasitology, 42(1): 71-92.      

Li, L., GIBSON, D.I., Liu, Y.Y. & Zhang, L.P. 2012. Morphological and molecular study of the poorly known species Pseudanisakis rajae (Yamaguti, 1941) (Nematoda: Acanthocheilidae) from elasmobranchs in the Yellow Sea and Taiwan Strait off the coast of China. Systematic Parasitology, 81(2): 115-123.  

MARTIN-CERECEDA, M. & COX, E.J. 2011. Morphological variation in a small Thalassiosira species (Bacillariophyta) under different culture regimes. Botanica Marina, 54(6): 563-574.  

MORTON, B. & Lee, C.N.W. 2012. The composition and spatial distribution of scavenging hyperbenthos in the Cape d'Aguilar Marine Reserve, Hong Kong. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 92(1): 39-47.

Ohtsuka, S., BOXSHALL, G.A. & Srinui, K. 2012. A New Species of Paramacrochiron (Copepoda: Cyclopoida: Macrochironidae) Associated with the Rhizostome Medusa Rhopilema hispidum Collected from the Gulf of Thailand, with a Phylogenetic Analysis of the Family Macrochironidae. Zoological Science, 29(2): 127-133.  

Olempska, E., HORNE, D.J. & Szaniawski, H. 2012. First record of preserved soft parts in a Palaeozoic podocopid (Metacopina) ostracod, Cytherellina submagna: phylogenetic implications. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 279(1728): 564-570.

RAINBOW, P.S. & LUOMA, S.N. 2011. Metal toxicity, uptake and bioaccumulation in aquatic invertebrates-Modelling zinc in crustaceans. Aquatic Toxicology, 105(3-4): 455-465.  

Rasmussen, A.R., Ineich, I., Elmberg, J. & McCARTHY, C. 2011. Status of the Asiatic Sea Snakes of the Hydrophis nigrocinctus group (H. nigrocinctus, H. hendersoni, and H. walli; Elapidae, Hydrophiinae). Amphibia-Reptilia, 32(4): 459-464

RICHARD, J., De Grave, S. & CLARK, P.F. 2012. A new atyid genus and species from Madagascar (Crustacea: Decapoda: Caridea). Zootaxa(3162): 31-38.      

Stach, T., GRUHL, A. & Kaul-Strehlow, S. 2012. The central and peripheral nervous system of Cephalodiscus gracilis (Pterobranchia, Deuterostomia). Zoomorphology, 131(1): 11-24. (Article in Press)     

STANDLEY, C.J., Vounatsou, P., Gosoniu, L., Jørgensen, A., Adriko, M., Lwambo, N.J.S., Lange, C.N., Kabatereine, N.B. & STOTHARD, J.R. 2012. The distribution of Biomphalaria (Gastropoda: Planorbidae) in Lake Victoria with ecological and spatial predictions using Bayesian modelling. Hydrobiologia, 683(1): 249-264. (Article in Press)

Stewart, J.R., Aspinall, S., Beech, M., FENBERG, P., Hellyer, P., Larkin, N., Lokier, S.W., Marx, F.G., Meyer, M., Miller, R., RAINBOW, P.S., TAYLOR, J.D., WHITTAKER, J.E., Al-Mehsin, K. & Strohmenger, C.J. 2011. Biotically constrained palaeoenvironmental conditions of a mid-Holocene intertidal lagoon on the southern shore of the Arabian Gulf: evidence associated with a whale skeleton at Musaffah, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Quaternary Science Reviews, 30(25-26): 3675-3690.  

Swiderski, Z., Poddubnaya, L.G., GIBSON, D.I., Levron, C. & Mlocicki, D. 2011. Egg formation and the early embryonic development of Aspidogaster limacoides Diesing, 1835 (Aspidogastrea: Aspidogastridae), with comments on their phylogenetic significance. Parasitology International, 60(4): 371-380.  

WAESCHENBACH, A., TAYLOR, P.D. & LITTLEWOOD, D.T.J. 2012. A molecular phylogeny of bryozoans. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 62(2): 718-735.  

Young, N.D., Jex, A.R., Li, B., Liu, S., Yang, L., Xiong, Z., Li, Y., Cantacessi, C., Hall, R.S., Xu, X., Chen, F., Wu, X., Zerlotini, A., Oliveira, G., Hofmann, A., Zhang, G., Fang, X., Kang, Y., Campbell, B.E., Loukas, A., Ranganathan, S., ROLLINSON, D., Rinaldi, G., Brindley, P.J., Yang, H., Wang, J. & Gasser, R.B. 2012. Whole-genome sequence of Schistosoma haematobium. Nature Genetics, 44(2): 221-225. (Article in Press)     

Zuccon, D., PRYS-JONES, R., Rasmussen, P.C. & Ericson, P.G.P. 2012. The phylogenetic relationships and generic limits of finches (Fringillidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 62(2): 581-596.  


Zoology Seminar

Posted by C Lowry Apr 11, 2012

Zoology Seminar

Integrating Molecules and Morphology: Consensus or Conflict in the Symbiotic Copepods?


Department of Zoology, NHM


TUESDAY 17th April, 12pm

Neil Chalmers Science Seminar Room (DC.LG16)


No group of plants or animals on Earth exhibits the range of morphological diversity as seen among the extant Crustacea. This structural disparity is best demonstrated by the symbiotic Copepoda. Given their moderately high host specificity in conjunction with the incredible spectrum of potential marine hosts, it is highly conceivable that parasitic copepods significantly outnumber their free-living counterparts in species diversity. Their successful colonization or utilization of virtually every metazoan phylum has generated a great diversity in copepod body morphology, which is arguably unparalleled among the Crustacea. For example, some highly modified copepods such as the polychaete-associated Herpyllobiidae and Melinnacheridae lack any external trace that could positively identify their crustacean affinity and their divergent body plans defy any attempts to place them in a higher level classification on morphological grounds alone. Other families such as the Monstrillidae and Thaumatopsyllidae demonstrate how extremely powerful natural selection can be in shaping morphology to meet functional needs so that distantly related taxa may appear uncannily similar. Small subunit ribosomal sequence data (18S rDNA) can help resolving some of the controversial issues that had reached a temporary impasse in the phylogeny and classification of the symbiotic copepods, such as the placement of the Monstrillidae and Thaumatopsyllidae, the paraphyly of the Cyclopoida and the origin of parasitism in the freshwater environment. Examples will be given that demonstrate the usefulness of such data in the classification of highly transformed and morphologically reduced taxa, the inference of colonization events and the placement of incertae sedis known exclusively from juvenile stages. I will present evidence that illustrates how the use of 18S sequence data can lead to the discovery of previously overlooked morphological characters and how they can potentially impact on the ordinal level classification of the Copepoda.



For additional details on attending this or other seminars see


Palaeontology Department Seminar


Taking a deep breath: bones, air sacs and the evolution of archosaur respiratory systems


Dr. Paul Barrett, Department of Palaeontology, NHM


Thursday 12th April
Neil Chalmers Seminar Room, DC2,




Birds have highly specialised respiratory systems that involve unidirectional movement of air through stiff, small lungs and a complex system of associated air sacs. These air sacs invade many postcranial skeletal elements during development, leaving characteristic traces. Similar features are present in many saurischian dinosaurs, and it seems likely that the accompanying soft-tissue features were present in these animals too. More vexed is the question of how ancient these features are and whether they had a wider distribution among archosaurs. A survey of numerous extinct and extant archosaurs shows unambiguous evidence for an ancient origin of these bird-like features, with their presence in many bird-line archosaurs. The possession of air sacs in crocodile-line archosaurs is more difficult to determine, but some features of the bony anatomy, and recently published work on the physiology of living crocodiles, suggests that many features formerly considered to be unique to birds actually had a much wider distribution. This has several interesting implications for the evolution of activity levels and locomotion in both bird- and croc-line archosaurs.




For additional details on attending this or other seminars see


Recent Publications - March

Posted by C Lowry Apr 5, 2012

Publications for last 4 Weeks to (Search done on 20th March.)

(Search on the basis of ‘Nat SAME Hist SAME Mus* SAME Lon*

Web of Science + TRING)


Levkov, Z. & WILLIAMS, D.M. 2011. Fifteen new diatom (Bacillariophyta) species from Lake Ohrid, Macedonia. Phytotaxa, 30: 1-41.       

Prieto, M., Martinez, I., Aragon, G., GUEIDAN, C. & Lutzoni, F. 2012. Molecular phylogeny of Heteroplacidium, Placidium, and related catapyrenioid genera (Verrucariaceae, lichen-forming Ascomycota. American Journal of Botany, 99(1): 23-35.       


Aristov, D.S. & RASNITSYN, A.P. 2012. Revision of the family Idelinellidae, with a review of the Permian Eoblattida (Insecta). Paleontological Journal, 46(1): 49-60.       

Khalaim, A.I. & BROAD, G.R. 2012. Tersilochinae (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) of Costa Rica, part 1. Genera Allophrys Forster, Barycnemis Forster and Meggoleus Townes. Zootaxa(3185): 36-52.       

PERCY, D.M., Rung, A. & Hoddle, M.S. 2012. An annotated checklist of the psyllids of California (Hemiptera: Psylloidea). Zootaxa(3193): 1-27.       


Biske, Y.S., Alexeiev, D.V., Wang, B., Wang, F., Getman, O.F., Jenchuraeva, A.V., SELTMANN, R. & Aristov, V.A. 2012. Structures of the late palaeozoic thrust belt in the Chinese South Tian Shan. Doklady Earth Sciences, 442(1): 8-12.       


Crompton, R.H., Pataky, T.C., Savage, R., D'Aout, K., Bennett, M.R., DAY, M.H., Bates, K., Morse, S. & Sellers, W.I. 2012. Human-like external function of the foot, and fully upright gait, confirmed in the 3.66 million year old Laetoli hominin footprints by topographic statistics, experimental footprint-formation and computer simulation. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 9(69): 707-719.       

LLOYD, G.T., Young, J.R. & SMITH, A.B. 2012. Comparative quality and fidelity of deep-sea and land-based nannofossil records. Geology, 40(2): 155-158.       

POTTER, T.L., PEDDER, B.E. & Feist-Burkhardt, S. 2012. Cambrian Furongian Series acritarchs from the Comley area, Shropshire, England. Journal of Micropalaeontology, 31: 1-28.       

RUSHTON, A.W.A. 2011. Deflexed didymograptids from the Lower Ordovician Skiddaw Group of northern England. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, 58: 319-327.       


BOXSHALL, G.A. & Jaume, D. 2012. Three new species of copepods (Copepoda: Calanoida and Cyclopoida) from anchialine habitats in Indonesia. Zootaxa(3150): 36-58.       

BRITZ, R., Kottelat, M. & Hui, T.H. 2011. Fangfangia spinicleithralis, a new genus and species of miniature cyprinid fish from the peat swamp forests of Borneo (Teleostei: Cyprinidae). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, 22(4): 327-335.       

GRAVES, C. 2012. Mamilloecia indica (Halocyprididae: Ostracoda) a new genus and species from the Northwest Indian Ocean. Journal of Natural History, 46(9-10): 517-556.       

Jones, R., Brown, D.S., HARRIS, E., JONES, J., Symondson, W.O.C., Bruford, M.W. & Cable, J. 2012. First record of Neoxysomatium brevicaudatum through the non-invasive sampling of Anguis fragilis: complementary morphological and molecular detection. Journal of Helminthology, 86(1): 125-129.       

Kabatereine, N.B., STANDLEY, C.J., SOUSA-FIGUEIREDO, J.C., Fleming, F.M., STOTHARD, J.R., Talisuna, A. & Fenwick, A. 2011. Integrated prevalence mapping of schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiasis and malaria in lakeside and island communities in Lake Victoria, Uganda. Parasites & Vectors, 4.       

KHAN, F.R., Bury, N.R. & Hogstrand, C. 2012. Copper and zinc detoxification in Gammarus pulex (L.). Journal of Experimental Biology, 215(5): 822-832.       

KHAN, F.R., Keller, W., Yan, N.D., Welsh, P.G., Wood, C.M. & McGeer, J.C. 2012. Application of Biotic Ligand and Toxic Unit Modeling Approaches to Predict Improvements in Zooplankton Species Richness in Smelter-Damaged Lakes near Sudbury, Ontario. Environmental Science & Technology, 46(3): 1641-1649.       

Meijer, H.J.M., Gill, A., de Louw, P.G.B., Ostende, L., HUME, J.P. & Rijsdijk, K.F. 2012. Dodo remains from an in situ context from Mare aux Songes, Mauritius. Naturwissenschaften, 99(3): 177-184.       

Oliver, P.G. & TAYLOR, J.D. 2012. Bacterial symbiosis in the Nucinellidae (Bivalvia: Solemyida) with descriptions of two new species. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 78: 81-91.       


5th Annual Palaeontographical Society Address


Virtual Fossils and the Herefordshire Lagerstatte


Dr Mark Sutton
Imperial College, London


Wednesday, April 18th 4.15 pm
Flett Lecture Theatre, Natural History Museum



Three-dimensional soft-bodied fossils represent some of the richest sources of palaeobiological data available, but are often difficult to work with using conventional techniques. Various technologies, both new and old, now exist to recover 3D morphology from such material. Most of these are tomographic in nature, based around the recovery of parallel 'slice images' through the fossil, either directly through serial grinding or sawing, or indirectly through scanning techniques. Reconstruction of tomographic datasets as three-dimensional interactive ‘virtual fossils’ on a computer screen not only provides a practical way to study difficult material, but brings a host of benefits along with it.

The Herefordshire Lagerstätte is a Silurian-aged deposit preserving a range of marine invertebrates in three-dimensions, complete with soft-tissues. These are essentially impossible to extract or image in their entirety without the use of tomographic techniques. The deposit hence provides a testbed and showcase for the ‘virtual fossil’ paradigm; prior to the advent of these techniques its significance was unclear, while after 12 years of ‘virtual’ study it is arguably the most significant invertebrate fossil locality known from Britain. Studies having yielded a wealth of new and often rather unexpected anatomical information on molluscs, echinoderms, brachiopods, polychaetes, and most especially arthropods. New finds discussed in this lecture include a chiton-like mollusc, a horseshoe-crab-like arthropod, and a potential stem-group Euarthropod, but further spectacular animals continue to emerge.

All welcome. Tea/coffee available in the Flett Foyer from 3.45 pm onwards


For details on attending this or other seminars see


Palaeontology Department Seminar


Quantifying Holocene sea-level change in the UK


Dr. Tom Hill

Department of Palaeontology, NHM


THURSDAY 15th March
Neil Chalmers Seminar Room, DC2,

16:00 - 17:00



When comparing mid twentieth century measurements of annual sea-level rise (c. 1.8mm/yr) to the current observed rate of c. 3.3mm/yr, there is clear evidence for rising sea levels in response to human-induced global warming. But as tide gauge records are only available for the last few centuries, how do we know such changes are indeed human-induced or in fact simply part of natural cycles of sea-level change that have prevailed for hundreds and thousands of years?


Biostratigraphic analyses of Holocene coastal sediments from around the UK offer one route through which the elevation of past sea level can be quantified. In southwest England, extensive sequences of interbedded estuarine silts and freshwater peats have accumulated within the Severn Estuary basin, suitable for sedimentary coring and subsequent laboratory analyses. Preserved in abundance are diatoms, unicellular microscopic algae that live in all subaqueous environments, requiring specific environmental conditions to survive. By analysing the diatom assemblages at different depths within the sediment cores and relating the species abundance and diversity encountered to those present along the contemporary Severn Estuary coastline, it was possible to quantify the palaeo-elevation at which the estuarine sediments were deposited, relative to past sea level. Such information yields an insight into the way sea level has changed during the last 10,000 yrs and complements other, more traditional techniques of sea-level reconstruction.




For additional details on attending this or other seminars see


Zoology Department Seminar


Parasites and Food Webs



Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara


TUESDAY 27th March,

Neil Chalmers Science Seminar Room (DC.LG16)

12:00 -13:00




Ecologists use food webs to help make sense of the complexity of the natural world and the food web has become the key conceptual framework for ecology. Recently, parasitologists have pointed out that parasites make up half of biodiversity, yet are almost never included in food webs.  Here, I will discuss how food webs affect parasites, how parasites affect predator-prey interactions, how parasites affect the complexity of food webs and finally what parasites can tell us about ecological complexity. I argue that most of what we have learned about food webs, and therefore ecology, is incomplete without a full consideration of parasites.



For additional details on attending this or other seminars see


Collection Management Seminar


Swop Shop: from one dinosaur to the next!   Museum Professionals skill and knowledge sharing


Rachel Mackay, Visitor Experience Manager, NHM and LMG Share London Representative
Nancy Groves, Editor, The Guardian’s Culture Professionals Network
Julie Reynolds, Blogger, London Museums Group


WEDNESDAY 21st March, Flett Lecture Theatre, NHM, South Kensington



Established in 2006, London Museums Group (LMG) is the representative group of all museums and the museum workforce in the Greater London area.  All individuals working in and for museums and related organisations in London, whether paid or unpaid, whether directly or as freelancers, can become members of the wider London Museums Group.

LMG consultation in the sector has proved a real hunger for a self-sustaining forum where museum professionals can share skills, knowledge and expertise.  London Museums Group’s Share London is an exciting new scheme that hopes to provide the answer. The scheme aims to support professional and personal development and make the excellent skills sharing that already goes on in the sector more accessible. We hope everyone involved – whether receiving support or giving it – will benefit from developing new skills and making new contacts.

Rachel Mackay, Share London’s Representative will introduce LMG and Share London and show how you can register offers of support and needs through the web site. Offers can be anything from stewarding at events or offering unused equipment to offering workshops, job shadowing and mentoring.

Judy Lindsay, Chair, of LMG published a blog on Share London for the new Cultural Professionals Network Guardian blog space: Museums sharing (with) a passion, and Nancy Groves the Editor will introduce this sharing network of creative professionals and give an insight into how museums can approach the culture journalists at the main Guardian newspaper.

To conclude, LMG Blogger in Residence Julie Reynolds and University of Manchester Professional Doctorate Museum Studies Student, will share human narratives of a skill sharing scheme that involved Louise Tomsett, Curator, Mammal Group, Zoology Department at the National History Museum and Milly Farrell, Curator, Odontological Collection at the Hunterian Museum [housed at the Royal College of Surgeons). Julie’s research focuses on the hidden knowledge around collections and human narratives and the talk will highlight the skills and knowledge shared, the benefits and challenges of the scheme through the curator’s voices and objects in their collections.

The seminar is open to all museum professionals.



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 (


For additional details on attending this or other seminars see


Zoology Department Seminar

Structural Weakening of Corralline Algae Skeleton in Response to Ocean Acidification


School of Earth Science, University of Bristol


TUESDAY 6th March,

Neil Chalmers Science Seminar Room (DC.LG16)

12:00 -13:00


Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere have risen by over 100 μatm (from 280 μatm to 390 μatm) due to anthropogenic input. The ocean has absorbed about one-third of the anthropogenically derived CO2 which has resulted in a lowering of the carbonate saturation and a reduction of the average global surface ocean pH by almost 0.15 units, a process termed "ocean acidification". These chemical changes are suggested to have direct implications for physiological processes such as photosynthesis, calcification or internal pH regulation in a wide range of marine organisms. To test these effects on marine calcifiers living in high latitude, the coralline alga Lithothamnion glaciale was cultured for 3 months at different pCO2 concentrations. Here we show continued calcification of L. glaciale in undersaturated/high pCO2 conditions but with major changes in the ultrastructure leading to an increase in the total strain energy of nearly an order of magnitude and an uneven distribution of the stress inside the skeleton. This weakening of the structure is likely to reduce the ability of the alga to resist boring by predators and wave energy with severe consequences to the benthic community structure.



For additional details on attending this or other seminars see


Palaeontology Department Seminar



Chert on the beach


Dr. Lil Stevens,

Department of Palaeontology, NHM


Thursday 1st March
Neil Chalmers Seminar Room, DC2,

16:00 - 17:00




In 2004 an amateur collector found a dull brown cobble on the beach at Sandsend, part of the Yorkshire Jurassic coast. Hammer at the ready, he broke the cobble into eleven pieces and looked into its interior. It was probably raining, which would have helped him to see small pieces of fossilised plants preserved within the chert, including what looked like reproductive structures. The cobble made its way to Birmingham University and after many months of sectioning and polishing, there began to emerge the most beautifully preserved Palaeozoic plant and crustacean remains I have ever seen.

Contained in the cobble were vegetative and reproductive fragments of an arborescent lycopsid with cellular preservation. The cone fragments were described as Flemingites arcuatus sp. nov. and analyses confirmed a provisional assignment to Paralycopodites stem genus. Associated with the plant remains were many small univalve crustaceans described as Ebullitiocaris elatus sp. nov., the same genus as those found in the Devonian Rhynie chert from Scotland. Extremely rarely for this age of fossil, both internal organs and appendages are visible and show a long morphological stasis and even some features still retained by modern Cladocera.

The cobble has preserved organisms of mid to late Carboniferous age and is therefore ex-situ. Chert content analysis and the level and mode of preservation of the fossils suggests not necessarily a hot spring environment, but a swamp certainly influenced by some sort of hydrothermal volcanic activity that caused rapid solidification. Comparison with other cherts has not helped to narrow down the original locality and it is thought that although the cobble was probably transported south east by glacial activity, it is also possible that it was dumped as ballast on the busy shipping routes around north east Britain, and so could have originated from almost anywhere in the world.




For additional details on attending this or other seminars see


Zoology Seminar

28th February, 12 noon

Neil Chalmers Science Seminar Room  (DC.LG16)


Contact: Ronald Jenner, Zoology

The Mysterious World of Vampire Amoebae and  Plasmodiophorid Plant Parasites

Department of Zoology, NHM

Vampire amoebae  (Vampyrellida) and plasmodiophorid plant parasites (Phytomyxea) have been known  since the second half of the XIXth century, yet have been given very little  attention up to now in spite of their fascinating biology. The taxonomic  position of both groups has been much debated for over a century, but recent  molecular work showed them to be sister lineages within the eukaryotic  supergroup Rhizaria. From their common ancestor, the Vampyrellida evolved to  become super-predators of algae, fungi and other microorganisms in all marine  and terrestrial microbial ecosystems, with some species adopting a peculiar mode  of feeding that earned them the name of vampire amoebae. In contrast, the  Phytomyxea evolved to become obligate, endobiotic parasites of higher plants,  diatoms, brown algae and oomycetes. Members of this group can cause devastating  and significant plant diseases (e.g. Plasmodiophora brassicae causing  clubroot disease), while others will spend their life hidden inside their hosts  without causing any visible symptoms. As part of our research group’s focus on  the biodiversity, evolution, and ecological importance of poorly known members  of the Rhizaria, we will present some of our results and illustrate the  enigmatic nature and contrasting lifestyles of vampire amoebae and  plasmodiophorid plant parasites.


Palaeontology Department Seminar


Australia Home to the Oldest Continual Culture


Emma Loban and Carole Christopherson

Human Remains Unit, Department of Palaeontology, NHM


Thursday 16th February
Neil Chalmers Seminar Room, DC2, NHM

16:00 - 17:00




For 2000 generations Australia has been home to the oldest continuing human culture in history. For over 40,000 years Indigenous people have explored, discovered, named and lived on the entire land mass and islands of Australia.


There are two distinct Indigenous groups of Australia; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.


Aboriginal people of Australia are not all the same and there is not one language or culture. Within Aboriginal Australia are hundreds of distinctly different cultures that continue to exist today.  Who are the Yolgnu, Wararkbi, Tiwi, Walpiri, Warramungu, Arrente, Kamilori?


Torres Strait Islander people are a minority group, within a minority group.  What makes this group of people unique? How many islands make up the gateway to Australia? What are their connections to the Australian mainland?


Although two groups of distinct peoples, what are the similarities between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders? Join us in a presentation about Indigenous Australia and the Diversity of people. Carol and Emma will explore shared history, geography, linguistics, kinship, world views, Indigenous perspectives on repatriation and their work here at The Natural History Museum.



For additional details on attending this or other seminars see


Collection Management Seminar



Are we there yet? Maps and geographic information at the NHM : findings of the Library Map Collections Review



April Carlucci

Library and Archives, NHM


Thursday 23rd February 2012

Flett Lecture Theatre, NHM, South Kensington




With more than twenty years experience working with maps in libraries, April joined the NHM in June 2011 to conduct a review of the Library’s map collections, as part of the Library’s ongoing strategy work, and now feeding into the Director of Science’s  working groups. The remit of the Review is to assess the Library’s current collections; talk with Science and Public Engagement colleagues about their needs for geographic information and how those needs are being met; to place the Museum’s map collections in their national and international contexts; and to identify opportunities for partnerships, cooperative ventures and revenue generation. April discusses her findings, including the remarkably consistent needs for geographic information across the Science departments; what other natural history museums are doing in this area; what resources are being missed; and the risks to the collections, research and engaging the public that are being taken with the current approach. The Review concludes in March, and, as a work still in progress, she is eager to hear comments  on her findings from all those in the Museum who use cartographic and geographic information in their work.


The seminar is open to all NHM staff  and 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 (


For additional details on attending this or other seminars see

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