Skip navigation
You are here: Home > NaturePlus > Blogs > Tags

Blog Posts

Blog Posts

Items per page
1

NaturalHistoryMuseum_058502_Corals_fish-250.jpgCoral reefs are one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. They are built by corals, bryozoans, sponges, crustaceans and molluscs and also provide a home to larger animals. So you can only imagine the variety of fossils we will have on display at Science Uncovered this Friday from our researchers' recent collecting spree in Indonesia.

 


Our Science Station will be located in an alcove of Central Hall (orange no. 7 on the map [PDF]) and will showcase the work of 11 early stage researchers as they collaborate on the Throughflow Project. Their aim is to find out why the coral reefs in South East Asia are the most diverse in the world and how corals have responded to climate change.We have an array of fossil corals as well as a fossil giant clam we are preparing especially for the event, and much more.

 

Like many of the Science Stations at the event you will have the chance to meet the Museum scientists who conduct research on and are responsible for the care of these amazing specimens. We can answer your questions (for example, some of you may be wondering what a bryozoan is from my earlier sentence) and you’ll also be able to play our game "Coral Match," be the first to identify a sample of fossil corals, or become a "Foram Hunter" and use a microscope to find the single celled organisms we use to date our fossil samples. So come along and get involved!

 

NaturalHistoryMuseum_057264_IA-1000.jpg

What would a Giant Clam like this one look like after it became fossilised around 25 million years ago?
© Terry Dormer / The Natural History Museum, London

 

 

What is the Throughflow Project?

 

The Throughflow Project is named after the only marine current that connects the Pacific and the Indian oceans, the Indonesian Throughflow. Scientific evidence shows a sudden increase in coral diversity around 25 million years ago during the Miocene. It is estimated that this is also a time when most modern taxa evolved. We already know that this was as a time of tectonic activity in the area as well as global climate change but what we want to determine is the effect this had on the coral reefs at the time.

 

The research groups’ webpage, www.ipaeg.org, has more information about the science of the project and the blogs from the Throughflow scientists are well worth a read.

 

 

11 early stage researchers.jpg

Our (lucky) researchers during the fieldtrip to Indonesia

 

Funded by the Marie Curie Initial Training Network and the FP7 People Programme, the project involves collaborations between seven European organisations as well as partners from Indonesia. At the Natural History Museum the Marie Curie Fellows are Emanuela Di Martino and Nadia Santodomingo who work on Bryozoans and Corals respectively. Meanwhile I’m joining them in the process of washing and then curating three tons of fossil coral samples with another five tons being shipped form Indonesia as we speak. Just to put that into perspective the average weight of an African elephant is around 4.6 tons. These fossil corals will form an important part of our collections for future research, especially in regard to climate change studies.

 

So please come and visit us at Science Uncovered.
See you there

 

Lyndsey Douglas

Indian and Indo-Pacific Corals Project Officer

 

About Science Uncovered 2011:

 

Science Uncovered is a free event on Friday 23 September 2011 at the Natural History Museum.  All events and tours at Science Uncovered will be free but, due to time and space constraints, some will require you to book free tickets in advance.

To find out more visit Science Uncovered on the Museum’s website.

 

The Natural History Museum at Tring, Hertfordshire, will also be holding its own Science Uncovered event. Find out more about Science Uncovered in Tring.

 

Online community

 

To get involved before the night, visit our Science Uncovered online community where you can get previews of what’s happening and join in with discussions and debates.

0

So, come Friday 23 September, it’ll be time for us dusty old curators to kick off our sensible sandals and get fashion forward for this year’s free Science Uncovered event.

 

If you were expecting this:

 

socks and sandals curatorweb.jpg

...think again, because for one night only we are sexy, sophisticated and scientific – like this:

 

sexysocks.jpg

No? If you don’t believe me, you better come along to find out

 

Science Uncovered 2010 was the first year that the Museum opened its doors to the public on such an unprecedented scale. We were expecting a few thousand; but after a few weeks of blogging, twittering and Face-booking over 6000 of you came to see the secrets of the Natural History Museum revealed – some for the first time.

 

And not only our prized treasures of science, but our scientific staff, who, just like our specimens, don’t get out much! My experience last year was incredible, from 5pm to 10pm my colleagues and I did not stop talking – to you! It was simply amazing, invigorating and yes, exhausting to have the opportunity to engage on such a wide scale, and also on such an intimate scale with hundreds of conversations about the Museum, our specimens, and most pertinently our research.

 

Last year I spent my time on the Identification and Advisory Service’s ‘Identification Roadshow’ where we invited you to bring along your natural history finds for on the spot identification. Here I am, looking a little bit overwhelmed, along with Stuart Hine, Richard Lane and Gill Stevens in the foreground, along Dino-way, where this year you will find the entomology station.

 

science uncovered beulahweb.jpg

 

But this year I move over to my first love, the beetles!

 

Here’s one I found in Southeast London this summer, you may recognise it? And it may make an appearance on the night!

 

stag beetle science uncoveredweb.jpg

 

With over 400,000 species of beetles in the world, and the NHM’s collection holding representatives of at least half of that figure, it’s quite hard to choose what we might talk about or put on display on the night. But because beetles are so diverse and occupy so many niches in the natural and unnatural environment we won’t be short on conversation; naturally we will show you specimens that exhibit sexual dimorphism (differences between the sexes), the incredible size range of beetles – from the smallest to the largest:

 

titanus-giganteus-10_90029_1conrad.jpg

 

Here is Conrad, a Scarab expert who will be there on the night, with one of the largest beetles in the world, the aptly named Titanus giganteus which may make an appearance…

 

We will also show you some of the most beautiful creatures in the world, for example this wonderful Plusiotis, a member of the shining leaf-chafer beetle sub-family. Chrysina aurigans (Rothschild & Jordan, 1894): collected by Martin Brendell in the cloud forests of Costa Rica.

max-barclay-chafer-beetle-banner-490_35211_1.jpg

 

 

Here is Max Barclay, who will be available on the night at our entomology fieldwork Science Station armed with field equipment and some examples of what we find when we head off to research remote areas throughout the world.

 

Other colleagues include Hillery Warner, who is expert in photographing our specimens; see some of her work on Flickr here.

 

And the formidable Peter Hammond, previously senior researcher in Coleoptera, and now a Scientific associate, here is Peter, armed with those two most important of entomologist accessories: a pint of beer and a specimen tube (for beetles, of course…!)

 

peter hammond.jpg

We can’t wait…can you?

 

About Science Uncovered 2011:

 

Science Uncovered is a free event on Friday 23 September 2011 at the Natural History Museum.  All events and tours at Science Uncovered will be free but, due to time and space constraints, some will require you to book free tickets in advance.

To find out more visit Science Uncovered on the Museum’s website.

 

The Natural History Museum at Tring, Hertfordshire, will also be holding its own Science Uncovered event. Find out more about Science Uncovered in Tring.

 

Online community

 

To get involved before the night, visit our Science Uncovered online community where you can get previews of what’s happening and join in with discussions and debates.

0

Two upcoming events will enable you to see the original specimens and the scale models of the ostracod that showed evidence of sexual reproduction through the use of giant sperm 140 million years ago.

 

At Science Uncovered on 23 September (see flyer below for details), I'll be on the Palaeontology table from 16.00-17.00. And, a few days before, at 14.30 on 19 September I'll also be taking part in the 'Microscopic sex' talk for Nature Live in the Attenborough Studio in the Darwin Centre.

 

I hope to see you at one or the other (or both!).

 

Science Uncovered_E-INVITE.JPG