Skip navigation
You are here: Home > NaturePlus > Blogs

Blog Posts

Blog Posts

Items per page
1 ... 17 18 19 20 21 Previous Next
0

Cicely Proctor has joined us for a summer internship working with the Centre for Arts and Humanities Research (CAHR).

 

She is in her second year of a degree at Southampton Solent University, studying 'Writing, Fashion and Culture'.

 

IMG_3122.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

In her first 2 weeks she has already participated in behind the scenes tours for potential collaborators with CAHR, giving her an insight into the daily work of museum staff.

 

This has included watching the preservation of palaeontological specimens in our Conservation studio, the pressing of dried plant specimens by a herbarium technician and learning about curation of moth speciemsn undertaken by entomologist Martin Honey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cicely has been given the task of studying the recent Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) consultation relating to 'Classifying and measuring the creative industries'. Next month Cicely will be meeting with individual staff members from the Library & Archives team to learn more about the types of researchers who use our collections and how many could be classed as coming from the 'creative industries'. Information collected by Cicely will go towards a longer term plan of how the museum can encourage more researchers such as fashion designers or artists to use the collections.

 

When you speak to Cicely, it is clear how struck she is by the size of the collections that she has already witnessed behind the scenes, and how she never realised this as a regular visitor to the Museum.

 

We are looking forward to her working with us over the summer and hope that she really enjoys learning more about the museum, its collections and how researchers from all different walks of life could be interested in our collections.

2

IMG_1913.JPG

 

 

In March 2013 a short term funded project was started to catalogue miscellaneous Alfred Russel Wallace manuscripts. These items were recently added to the Library's larger Wallace collection, and consist of items such as printed ephemera, photographs, cuttings, maps (including constellation), notebooks and other miscellaneous items (for example, a lock of hair belonging to his friend Richard Spruce). These items are generally those collected by A. R. Wallace, rather than written or made by him

 

 

 

Diane Tough is the cataloguer employed to undertake this interesting project, which is funded until November 2013.

 

 

 

 

Information relating to each individual item is recorded into CALM, the Archives online catalogue, and is available immediately via our website for the use of researchers. Each item is given a individual reference number, described, measured and specific information is recorded; such as a physical description, any markings or notes that it contains etc. On average approximately 25 items are processed per day.

 

IMG_1916.JPG

 

 

As a result of the work she has already completed for this project, Diane has learnt new information about Wallace, his personal life and family. This includes;

 

 

      • His artistic talent
      • William, his brother, was also a talented artist
      • Wallace was interested in phrenology

 

Diane is thoroughly enjoying the variety of items that she is handling and the stories they tell. The following are examples of some of her favourites:

 

 

 

Address presented to the Reverend W. P. Stephens

St Savour's, Johannesburg - dated 1899 (hand coloured and on vellum) (WP18/77)

[Pictured with Diane above]

 

Results of a Phrenological study taken of A. R. Wallace by James Quilter Rumball - dated 1845. It includes the development chart and handwritten character analysis WP18/39 [Pictured above]

 

Wallace is scored on a scale of 6 (very small) to 10 (very large). Some examples include:

 

Locality - sense of place, of space - love of travelling = Score 9

Destructiveness - impluse to destroy, by word or deed = score 8

 

IMG_1919a.jpg

IMG_1917.JPG

 

Proofs of woodcut illustrations for Wallace's publication 'The Malay Archipelago', these are by multiple artists (WP6/1/7 1-34) [Pictured above]

 

Photograph of 369 Channel Street, Stockton, California (WP2/1/25) This is believed to be the house of Wallace's brother John, who Wallace visited during his tour of America and taken circa 1887. What is particularly interesting is that it depicts two youngsters in the foreground sitting on what look to be very early bicycles. [Pictured above]

 

0

Cover_evolve15.jpg

 

 

Out now is the Spring edition of EVOLVE, the Natural History Museum's glossy inhouse magazine.

 

 

News and articles included, which may be of particular interest for Library & Archive lovers are:

 

Martin Hinton 'My mysterious career' - by Karolyn Shindler

 

Wallace's letters online

 

Wallace species seeker extraordinaire - by Richard Conniff

 

Remarkable collections: What's new at the Museum - by Gemma Simmons

 

John Gould- by Gemma Simmons

 

Evolve is available to purchase via the Museum website, in the shop or members receive it free.

0

As Archivist for the Wallace Correspondence Project, I get to read a lot of Wallace’s letters and embedded amongst all of the intellectual debate are little gems that make you chuckle (or me at least!). The Victorians certainly had a way with words and their turns of phrase are sometimes hilarious, if not mildly offensive, but are above all a delight to read!

 

As we are well into the third year of the Wallace Correspondence Project and 6 months into Wallace100, I thought I’d share some of the little gems I’ve come across in the letters so far….

 

On moustaches: “Has Eliza Roberts got rid of her moustache yet? Tell her in private to use tweezers. A hair a day would exterminate it in a year or two without any one’s perceiving.” (WCP365 Wallace to Fanny Sims 10.12.1856).

 

On scientists: “I have found that a scientist can make an ass of himself as readily as any other man.” (WCP2599 J. Clegg Wright to Wallace 31.08.1893).

 

On boils: “I long to get into the country guided by your new lights, but I have been now for ten days confined to my room with what is disagreeable though far from dangerous - boils.” (WCP4095 Wallace to Darwin 23.05.1862)

 

On boils (again): “I am sorry to hear that you are suffering from Boils; I have often had fearful crops: I hope that the Doctors are right in saying that they are serviceable.” (WCP1849 Darwin to Wallace 24.05.1862)

 

On health: “My health is, & always will be, very poor: I am that miserable animal a regular valetudinarian.” (WCP1849 Darwin to Wallace 24.05.1862)

 

On handwriting: “I do not know whether you will care to read this scrawl.” (WCP1900 Darwin to Wallace 30.04.1868)

 

On truth: “I sometimes marvel how truth progresses, so difficult is it for one man to convince another, unless his mind is vacant.” (WCP1900 Darwin to Wallace 30.04.1868)

 

On spiders: “P.S. A big spider fell close to my hand in the middle of my signature wh[ich]. accounts for the hitch.” (WCP370 Wallace to George Silk 30.11.1858)

 

On being an enthusiast: “So far from being angry at being called an Enthusiast it is my pride & glory to be worthy to be so called. Who ever did any thing good or great who was not an enthusiast? The majority of mankind are enthusiasts only in one thing, in money-getting; & these call others enthusiasts as a term of reproach, because they think there is something in the world better than money getting.” (WCP371 Wallace to Thomas Sims 25.04.1859)

 

On not quitting the tropics: “to induce a Naturalist to quit his researches at their most interesting point requires some more cogent argument than the prospective loss of health.” (WCP1454 Wallace to J D Hooker 06.10.1858)

 

On suffering: “I have myself suffered much in the same way as you describe & I think more severely. The kind of "tedium vitae" you mention I also occasionally experience here. I impute it to a too monotonous existence.” (WCP374 Wallace to Henry Walter Bates 24.12.1860)

 

On freedom of thought: “Freedom of thought is essential to intellectual progress.” (WCP4866 Wallace to Charles Lyell 10.11.1872)

 

On the British weather: “I trust you have passed unscathed through the glacial period of January and the semi-tropical period one of February. Already they are bringing me nosegays of wild flowers – primroses, violets and buttercups.” (WCP1661 Richard Spruce to Fanny Sims  27.02.1867) – proving that the British weather was just as odd in the nineteenth century!

 

On death: “the writer, who has doubtless ere now been gathered to Abraham’s bosom.” (WCP3281 Walter William Skeat to Wallace 11.10.1909)

 

On the respect of women: “I trust you will not feel put out if, as an individual woman and by a private letter, I venture to offer you homage and thanks for your published utterance respecting women which I have read in the Daily Chronicle of today. At this time of day it is true our prospects are no longer what they were and you as their champion resemble happiness as characterized by Goethe.” (WCP3147 Caroline Augusta Foley to Wallace 04.12.1893)

 

On gifts of venison: “May I ask your acceptance of this little leg of venison?  It is ready to be cooked, I trust you will find it tender.” (WCP3196 Theodora Guest to Wallace 22.08.1900)

 

On cats: “The cats are all right. Cats always are. They never want enquiring about till they get over 12 years old”. (WCP297 Wallace to his daughter Violet 24.11.1887)

 

On bacon: “send me the address of the Bacon Man!!” (WCP273 Wallace to Violet 25.03.1896)

 

All of these letters are available to view on Wallace Letters Online. Why not see if you can find some more hidden gems embedded amongst the intellectual conversations!

 

Caroline Catchpole, Wallace Correspondence Project

0

harvard students 2013 1.jpg

 

 

Eleven Harvard students arrived from America this week to begin two weeks of work the NHM Library & Archives. The students are here as part of a eight week summer school, the first two weeks in London and then the rest of the time in Oxford.

 

During their time with us in the museum, they will work on transcribing Wallace letters from the collections as part of the Wallace Correspondence Project

 

The students are in the UK for a total of eight weeks and are funded by the David Rockefeller International Experience Grants Program (DRIEG). After they finish at the NHM next week they are attending the Harvard Summer School Programme course called "An exploration of evolutionary biology" at Oxford University.

 

For many of them this is their first experience of London and the UK, so thankfully the weather has finally turned summery for them!

 

We thank them for their hard work over the next two weeks and wish them luck for the rest of their trip.

0

Inside Life: 3D Micro-CT Applications for Life Sciences

 

 

Dan Sykes

Micro-CT Scanning Specialist, Imaging and Analysis Centre, Science Facilities, NHM

 

Friday 28 June 11:00

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

 

The Micro-CT facility at the NHM provides a cutting edge and innovative approach to museum science. The facility carries out projects covering a diverse range of research fields, including investigations into meteorites, paintings, fossils and many more. However, more recently the applications of micro-CT to biology have been rapidly expanding, allowing new ways of examining specimens in 3D. As this is a non-destructive, non-invasive technique it also allows us to study what’s inside important and rarecollection material, from our Egyptian mummified animal collection to virtually dissecting brains from insects’ heads. Through examining case studies, I will explore some of the most interesting and innovative studies and techniques using micro-CT at the museum. The aim of this talk is to encourage discussion about the potential of micro-CT to further museum research; and highlight interesting areas of future development that could open up new avenues of research.

 

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

0

Miniatures, morphology and molecules: problems with the phylogenetic position of Paedocypris

 

 

miniture fish.jpg

 

 

Ralf Britz

Vertebrates Division, Dept. Life Sciences, NHM

 

Wednesday 26 June 11:00

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

 

The highly miniaturized fish species of the cyprinid genus Paedocypris are among the smallest of all vertebrates. Their skeleton shows a puzzling mixture ofhighly reductive and morphologically novel characters. Numerous structures present in most bony fishes are absent in Paedocypris due to an organism wide case of progenesis or developmental truncation. I highlight the problems associated with working morphologically with such a truncated organism and offer some solutions. I also look in detail at the evidence from recent molecular systematic analyses some of which are in sharp contrast to the results based on morphology. I touch upon the general issue of morphology versus molecules and discuss it in the context of the phylogenetic position of Paedocypris.

 

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

0

I have just returned from the 16th IBA meeting, held in the Palazzo delle Scienze, 10-16 June. The meeting is held every three years and this one was the turn of the University of Catania, Sicily. Antonietta Rosso (Profesor of Palaeontology in the Dipartimento di Scienze Geologiche, Universita'degli Studi di Catania), jointly with Rossana Sanfilippo, organised the meeting and was our host. And they have done it really well.

 

2013-06-09 05.10.24-2 (Custom).jpg

Statue at the main entrance of the Palazzo delle Scienze, Catania, Sicily

 

It started on Monday 10 June with a session on Bryozoan Taxonomy, which was a really good beginning.

2013-06-11 00.08.17 (Custom).jpg

We are welcomed to the meeting

 

On the same day we had a reception - a cheese-party - in the lovely Botanical Garden of Catania, which was founded by a Benedictine monk, Francesco Tornabene Roccaforte (1813-1897) in 1858.

Untitled-1.jpg

The Botanical Garden of Catania

 

We have enjoyed a nice conference with 82 participations from many different continents. It is a wonderful opportunity to meet bryozoologists and to get to know their latest research. Since I joined the IBA, this group has become more and more international, and now includes students from the Middle East.

 

My own presentation was on Tuesday 11 June in the Cenozoic Bryozoans session and was about the Pliocene Bryozoans from Gran Canaria. This research started several years ago with a field work trip to Gran Canaria where Juan Francisco Betancort [Tachi] and Joaquin Meco, both of them from the Univeristy of the Las Palmas of Gran Canaria [ULPGC], showed us the locations where Sir Charles Lyell (1797-1875) collected fossil invertebrate fauna in order to falsify Leopold von Buch's (1774-1853) catastrophic theory of Craters of Elevation.

 

Untitled-1.jpg

The first slide of my presentation on Pliocene bryozoans from Gran Canaria

 

Untitled-2.jpg

Another slide from my presentation with taxonomical information

 

Some of the taxa found in the Pliocene fauna are still present in the Mediterranean Sea today. They allow us to infer the recolonisation of the Mediterranean from the North Atlantic, after the Messinian desiccation and subsequent flooding. There is an illustrative video on the BBC Earth YouTube channel that is related to this.

 

 

BBC video on Messinian desiccation

 

On Wednesday 12 June, we visited the archaeological area of Neopolis and the archaelogical museum, Paolo Orsi, which is very close to the Madonnina delle Lacrime in Syracuse. We even found bryozoans on some of the sculptures at the Museum!

2013-06-11 06.38.55-2 (Custom).jpg2013-06-11 08.09.13-2 (Custom).jpg

Left: Neopolis. Right: Realistic image of an old fisherman at the Paolo Orsi Museum

 

We continued our visit by walking around Syracuse. What a lovely city! I have to highlight the famous Cathedral of Syracuse, and the temple dedicated to Athena. Finally, we finished the day with a wonderful Italian-Sicilian dinner by the Mediterranean.

 

2013-06-11 10.32.01 (Custom).jpgView of the Piazza Duomo, Syracuse

 

The next day, I visited the Geological Museum in the Dipartimento Scienze Geologiche of the Universita Degli Studi during a meeting break guided by Rosella Bruno. It keeps hundreds of specimens and two of them caught my attention. One of the original specimens was a dwarf elephant skeleton found in the Grotta di Spinagallo, near Syracuse. The other one was a faked fossil of a recent dog.

 

2013-06-12 09.19.38-2 (Custom).jpg

Geological Museum entrance

 

2013-06-12 07.27.31 (Custom).jpg2013-06-12 07.38.11 (Custom).jpg

Left: Elephas falconeri, a dwarf elephant from Syracuse. Right: a faked fossil of a dog

 

On Friday 14 June our host Antonietta Rosso gave a talk on recent Mediterranean bryozoans, open shelf soft bottom bryozoans from the Ciclopi Marine Protected Area (E. Sicily, Mediterranean) and we finished the day with a concert at the Palazzo Biscari, considered the most beautiful and well kept palace in Catania. It is the kind of palace that makes you feel to live in other times!

 

2013-06-14 14.43.50 (Custom).jpgAntonietta Rosso during her talk on recent Mediterranean bryozoans

 

It has been a really nice conference with many kind of details, starting from the dinner by the sea, continuing with the tours and finishing with the closing dinner. Thank you so much for this 16th IBA Meeting and congratulations to the organisers and speakers!

1

Author: Marie

Date: 17 June 2013

Temperature: -24

Wind speed: 15

Temp with wind chill: -32

Sunrise: N/A

Sunset: N/A

 

You probably know that Scott's choice of ponies and motor sledges against dog-hauling contributed to his terrible fate. We have already mentioned the ponies, and now for the motors:

Back in France, a few kilometres from my home town, there is a mountain pass quite famous for having dodgy conditions in winter. On this specific pass, in 1908 French Antarctic explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot and Robert Falcon Scott, not convinced by dog-hauling sledges, conducted the first motor sledges test.   Two French companies worked together to produce the sledges they were willing to offer to both expeditions.

 

Charcot tried a 200kg motor sledge, which was really successful. The next day, Scott tried a 750kg sledge.  The weight appeared to be a major problem as the sledge sunk in the snow, stopping the chain rotation and so the motor.  But the load capacity (several tons against 400 pounds for a pony, 200 for a man and 100 per dog) was such an advantage that both explorers decided to carry the machine to the ice.

 

Capt Scott front of Glaciers Hotel.jpg

Capt. Scott at the Lautaret Pass, in front of Glaciers' Hotel

 

In 1909, Charcot shipped his motor sledges to Antarctica on his boat the Pourquoi Pas? considering them as an experiment for future expeditions and relying on man-hauling for the party.

 

The weight of Scott’s sledges was a predominant problem again as the party unloaded the cargo at Cape Evans in 1911. Being too heavy, one of them broke the ice and got lost in the sea.  The party had already decided on restrained use of the motor when engine complications started…

 

Unidentified componet.jpg

An unidentified component with a broken pipe....

 

I started working on a potential 'car part' or 'engine part' last week. They are still unidentified, but as Stefanie and I are just starting classes with our dear mechanic Lex, we hope to solve the mystery.

0

NaturalHistoryMuseum_PictureLibrary_022694_Comp.JPG

 

 

Mark Catesby was born in Essex in 1683, the son of John Catesby, a lawyer and a gentleman farmer. Catesby developed an interest in natural history after meeting naturalist John Ray. The Catesby family were of medium wealth and the inheritance Mark received upon the death of his father allowed him to pursue his love for natural history.

 

 

Catesby spent some time studying in London before voyaging to America in 1710 to stay with his sister in Williamsburg, Virginia. During this time he collected botanical specimens and seeds and sent them back to Thomas Fairchild, a nurseryman in Hoxton. This time spent in America advanced Catesby’s knowledge of plants and animals, gained him more experience of collecting and improved his drawing skills.

 

 

 

 

Above: Cancer terrestris Land crab plate 32 from 'Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahamas', Vol 2 by Mark Catesby NHM Image number: 022694

 

 

Whilst away his profile amongst the science community had grown. Eminent scientists Sir Hans Sloane and Dr William Sherrard had identified Catesby’s potential as a naturalist, even purchasing specimens from him themselves. NaturalHistoryMuseum_PictureLibrary_014700_Comp.JPG

 

 

 

In 1722 Sloane and the Royal Society financed a trip for Catesby to Carolina. Whilst based in Charlestown, he collected plants, birds and shells, sending many back to Sloane in London. At this point Catesby would have regarded himself predominantly as a botanist. However, Sloane’s demands for other specimens increased his knowledge and interest in ornithology.

 

Catesby travelled from Carolina to the eastern coast of North America, taking in Florida and later moving on to the West Indies, returning to England in 1726.

 

Upon his return he was encouraged to publish the illustrations made during his trip. This became a labour of love for Catesby. Despite having financial backing, he still had to oversee the entire production of his book Natural History of Carolina, Florida and Bahamas Islands. He even learnt how to etch copper plates, taking lessons from Joseph Goupy a French painter and engraver who resided in London. Not only did Catesby engrave the plates, he also hand coloured them until he could afford to employ help.

 

 

Left: Title page from The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama islands (1731-43) Vol. 1 by Mark Catesby. NHM Image number 014700

 

 

 

The Natural History of Carolina was eventually published in three parts; Volume 1 in 1731, Volume 2 in 1743 and finally a Supplement in 1746. The book covered birds, animals, fish, snakes, insects, plants, forest trees and shrubs. His book was the first to use folio-sized plates for natural history subjects. This allowed Catesby to draw many of his birds their actual size.

NaturalHistoryMuseum_PictureLibrary_014723_Comp.JPG

 

 

Throughout this tome are many wonderful and fascinating drawings. One of particular importance is that of the Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius). This bird once lived in huge flocks and it was reported that in 1866 one flock in southern Ontario was one mile wide and three hundred miles long, taking fourteen hours to pass over. It is estimated to have held in excess of 3.5 billion birds. They remained in such enormous numbers until the early 20th century, when hunting and habitat destruction led to the Passenger Pigeon’s eventual extinction. They were hunted for food, for their feathers to make beds and it was also believed the pigeon had medicinal properties. Martha, reportedly the last surviving Passenger Pigeon, died at the Cincinnati zoo in September 1914.

 

Catesby’s book was well received and remained in demand for a long period, primarily because it was the only book on North American natural history at the time. Catesby died in 1749 leaving all his works to his wife, who sold them on for £400. They were purchased by King George III and are now in the Royal Library at Windsor.

 

Above: Ectopistes migratorius, passenger pigeon Plate 23, hand coloured etching from The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama islands (1731-43) Vol. 1 by Mark Catesby. NHM Image number 014723

 

by Sarah Sworder, Reader Services Information Assistant

1

You may have noticed that I haven't posted regularly to my blog over the last couple of months and that's because I've been in Malaysia visiting my Masters student Atilia Bashardin at the Universiti Teknologie, PETRONAS, where I have just been appointed a visiting lecturer. This and the next two posts will be an annotated series of pictures covering my visit to Malaysia, fieldwork, the university and even a few pictures showing what a lucky geologist eats while they are in the field!

 

P1010835.JPG

 

Peninsular Malaysia does not, at first sight, look very promising for geologists as it is mainly flat, covered with palm oil plantations and paddy fields like this one above. Every now and again, amazing, imposing limestone hills rise from the flat landscape, while granites form a mountain backbone to the peninsular. As the granites formed beneath the surface of the earth, the heat given off metamorphosed the limestones, often turning them to marble. This gave them the hardness and resistance to erosion that causes them to stand out as we see them today.

 

P1010826.JPG

 

Because the limestone hills are geographically isolated from each other and heated to varying temperatures depending on proximity to the granites, it is difficult to work out if they relate to the same rock formations based soley on descriptions of the rocks exposed.

 

Knowing the relative ages of the hills and the distribution of rock formations present is vital for reconstructing the geological history of the area. The area surrounding the Malaysian peninsular has a complex geological history and now consists of roughly north-south trending major crustal units or terraines that docked together at various stages through geological time.

 

Studying conodonts from these limestones can help to date the rock formations, give an idea of the environments in which they were deposited and even suggest the maximum temperature to which they have been heated.

 

IMG_2328.jpg

 

It's important to be well fed while you are carrying out fieldwork. This curry lunch banquet above was served on a granite table lined with a bed of banana leaves. The food in this region is a delightful mix of Thai, Malay, Indian and Chinese, often combining these various tastes.

 

P1010706.JPG

PhD student Haylay Tsegab (right) is pictured above with his supervisor Dr Aaron Hunter (left), who was my host for the duration of the trip. Aaron has volunteered at the Museum and previously held a short term curatorial position in our Palaeontology Department (now part of Earth Sciences at the Museum). He is also co-supervisor of our Masters student Atilia Bashardin. Haylay is studying the carbonate sedimentology of some of the limestone hills in the Kinta Valley where the city of Ipoh is situated.

 

During our first day in the field we visited one of Haylay's study sites at Sungai Siput. Here they are going to drill a borehole through a section of relatively unmetamorphosed limestone. The digger behind them was used to clear the path to an old quarry so that the drilling equipment could be transported to the site.


P1010725.JPG

In the picture above, the hammer marks the approximate site where the borehole was due to be drilled a few days later. I took a sample for conodonts just to the left of the hammer in an attempt to date this succession of rocks that are believed to be Silurian age (approximately 415-440 million years old). I carried the 2kg sample home in my suitcase and it is now dissolving slowly in acetic acid (vinegar) in a lab down in the depths of the Palaeontology Building.

 

As well as dating the rock, it is hoped that the conodonts will be able to tell us the maximum temperature to which the rock has been heated: as conodonts are heated, they change from a pristine amber to black, grey and eventually white and these colour changes can be calibrated to show a maximum palaeo-temperature reading for the rock formation they came from. This is important as oil, gas and other minerals form under various temperature conditions.

 

IMG_2551.jpg

 

The limestone above has a large number of calcite veins running through it. The quarry was originally set up to provide ornamental stones like this one. Usually for a field picture like this, I would include a lens cap, coin or finger for scale. However, I didn't want to spoil this image so you will have to believe me that the field of view is approximately 20cm across.

 

The sample selected during field work contained as few calcite veins as possible because conodonts from these types of samples are likely to be fragmented due to the stresses and strains that the rocks have been subjected to. This section is important as it is relatively unmetamorphosed and early indications suggest that the limestone is black because of its high organic content. This, as well as its accessibility, is why this site has been chosen for drilling as part of Haylay's studies.

 

One of the questions remaining to be answered is whether these organic-rich-rocks are a potential source for hydrocarbons? The colour of any conodonts found should be able to tell us the answer to this. Malaysia's oil has been obtained from much younger rocks offshore to the east of peninsular Malaysia and North Borneo, not from the region we are studying. 

 

P1010836.JPG

 

The 'path' shown above is a typical limestone exposure reached after a drive north to Kg Ujung Bukit, Perlis. Here we took a sample for Atilia's M.Sc. project to study conodonts from Silurian rocks of the mainland and Langkawi Island. The rocks here have been given the same formation name as those exposed on Langkawi Island to the west. The fact that two different names have traditionally been given to this formation, the Setul Limestone Formation and the Mampelan Limestone Formation, shows some of the issues with interpreting the geology of the region.

 

P1010840.JPG

This is Aaron and Atilia after we had taken a sample of limestone that filled half of Atilia's rucksack. Usually conodont workers would take samples of at least a kilogramme in size and some have been known to take 50kg samples! Here we took about 5kg but didn't hang around for long after this picture was taken as we heard a snake in the undergrowth. We had probably disturbed it with our hammering!

 

P1010790.JPG

We followed up various reports of small quarries and rock exposures which led us to a small, shallow, disused quarry at the back of a house. The owners and their children were very interested to see why Atilia appeared to be trying to put piece of rock from their back garden into a plastic bag! While I was writing this blog post, I heard from Atilia that this sample has yielded some conodonts. Sometimes it can take weeks or months for samples to dissolve in weak acids, in this case, acetic acid. The tiny conodont elements then have to be picked out individually from under a microscope with a fine paint brush in the lab.

 

P1010786.JPG

 

Here we presumed that Atilia was trying to find out from the house owner if there are any more exposures of the limestone in the local area. Shortly after this, he led us to a quarry on his motorbike but sadly there was no limestone there. It may have already been quarried out. We did see some of the same rock lining a drainage ditch by the side of this road but resisted all temptation to sample it! It wouldn't have helped us as it was not part of an in-situ rock exposure so could have come from anywhere.

 

P1010833.JPG

Atilia demonstrating how to remain well covered up during mid-day fieldwork while carrying another limestone sample.

 

IMG_2424.jpg

It's important to remain hydrated while doing fieldwork in the humid conditions of South-East Asia. On most days there would be a large thunderstorm that cleared the air and, fortunately, we were never in the field during one of these. Most of these drinks shown above are iced water but usually we combined it with some lovely fruit juices and an occasional iced coffee. 

 

I have attempted to set the scene for some of the geological problems that we are hoping to solve using conodonts. My next post will detail our trip to Langkawi Island in search of yet more conodonts and hopefully more answers to our questions.

0

This month’s selected letter was written on 26 June 1898 to Michael Flürscheim (1844-1912), a German economist who worked on economic and social reforms that focused on the single tax, land nationalisation and an improved currency. This letter highlights Wallace’s involvement in socialism; an area he became very involved in later in his life.

 

The short letter begins with Wallace expressing regret that Flürscheim has moved to New Zealand and also that he has, as Wallace writes

 

“given up working primarily for land and social reform & are devoting yourself mainly to the Currency question.”

 

Wallace disagreed with Flürscheim on this matter and believed it wouldn’t “abolish the unemployed, or enable every man to get the whole produce of his labour.”

 

Flürscheim believed currency reform was needed to complement single tax and land reform to cure the ills of society. There were two types of currency reform at the turn of the twentieth century; one where the state would manufacture more money to put into circulation believing this would spur the economy on and the other, which Flürscheim advocated, wanted to replace the currency that was based on gold and silver with something such as a ‘labour note’ - where people could trade in hours of labour.

 

Wallace hoped “we shall soon have you back here working for land reform and the extension of cooperative industry” - two causes Wallace felt very strongly about.

 

Although becoming more active on social matters later on in his life, Wallace first encountered socialist ideas as a young man, being greatly influenced by the writings of Robert Owen (1771-1858). He attended lectures with his brother John when he moved to London at the Hall of Science in Tottenham Court Road.

 

Wallace became President in 1881 of the newly formed Land Nationalisation Society – a society that believed land should be the property of the state to ensure everyone could be free to use and enjoy it equally. He remained its President for 30 years and, as well as calling for public ownership of land, he also advocated the land colony as a solution for unemployment, a pure paper money system (Fiat Money), he supported women’s suffrage and wrote on the dangers and wastefulness of militarism.

 

At the July 1892 meeting of the Land Nationalisation Society, Wallace spoke in his Presidential Address to Herbert Spencer’s newly released book, Justice. Wallace explains that his first encounter with Spencer’s work was reading Social Statics in 1853. He says that through this work he learnt, in Spencer’s words, that “to deprive others of their rights to the use of the earth is to commit a crime inferior only in wickedness to the crime of taking

away their lives or their personal liberties”.

 

wallace-socialissues.jpg

WP5/1/2: 1892 Report of the Land Nationalisation Society containing Wallace's Presidential address

 

Wallace ended the letter to Flürscheim by informing him he had recently attended a Congress of Spiritualists in London, where he “tried to induce Spiritualists to take up the social problems” - a quote I love, as he seemed to be a man who was never one to pass up an opportunity to recruit more people to the socialist cause!

 

The Wallace Collection webpages contain more information about Wallace's socialism and features key socialist material we hold in the Wallace Family Archive in the library's Special Collections.

 

We have many letters written by Wallace in Wallace Letters Online that discuss and advocate socialism and if you are keen to explore more letters written to Flürscheim, we have 11 of them that you can read here.

 

Check back next month, when I'll be writing about another letter that caught my attention.

 

Caroline Catchpole, Wallace Correspondence Project

4

So let me tell you about my last bit of work experience - if you've already been enjoying Beulah Garner's Beetle blog, you'll know that recently she and her fellow coleopterists went on a trip to Borneo. For the sake of completeness, I should point out that the Borneo team for the trip also had a lepidopterist on board. And that was me! Hence, in the company of three beetle zealots that go by the name of Beulah the blaps, Max the Macrodonta and Howard the Temerarious, I thought I’d be up for a challenging field work experience.

 

Pic 3.jpg

Alessandro, Max, Howard, and Beulah socializing and relaxing in Kota Kinabalu, before the hard work begins.

 

Pic 1.jpg

Despite being a moth curator, I can’t resist showing a picture portraying myself with a beautiful newly emerged Troides amphrysus, a papilionid butterfly.


Pic 2.jpg

And here I am again, this time face to face with a handsome hawkmoth (Daphnis hypothous).

 

Once in the field the four of us did a great deal of sniffing, inspecting and probing, trying to ascertain each others’ intentions; and after our exigencies and flaws had been determined we recognized where each of us stood and accepted our echelons.

 

And so began our fieldwork experience which, apart from the rare squabbles caused by blunt episodes of trespassing in our private boundaries, turned out to be a rather successful one. After all we were there with a common aim that could have only been achieved with a team effort and we certainly had the enthusiasm to go with it.

 

Pic 4.jpg

Our first supper at the camp. Little did we know that from that day onwards, rice was to be the fundamental ingredient of all our meals, breakfast included…not to mention the questionable rice wine.

 

The aim of this trip was to collect insects from an area near the western edge of the Crocker Range, in the Sabah region of Borneo, an area not well represented in our Museum collections; all in order to expand our knowledge of the world’s biodiversity.

 

Pic 5.jpg

Our base was at ca. 1,200 metres above sea level and we had amazing views of the surrounding valleys and mountains.

 

PIc 6.jpg

Further in the distance the impressive 4,095 metre high Mount Kinabalu seemed to keep a constant vigil on our camp.

 

Different sampling methods are used to collect different groups of insects, and during this trip we employed a good range of them. We set up 7 malaise traps and 7 flight interceptor traps (FIT) in selected sites of the forest around the camp, to collect flying insects such as beetles, flies and Hymenoptera (bees and wasps).

 

Picture_7.jpg

Putting up flight interceptor and malaise traps, and digging for victory (or was it for dung traps?).

 

We gathered leaf litter, dead wood and other organic material, such as figs, Asplenium ferns and bracket fungi, and sampled them separately in Winkler bags or by hand; we filled buckets with rotting fish, fermented fruits and dung (I won't tell you whose it was) to attract beetles and other unfussy insects. We regularly went for long walks in nearby areas to collect insects by sweeping with nets.

 

Picture_8.jpg

On one of our long walks collecting insects by netting. We were often also sampling for insects in different types of organic material.

 

Pic 11.jpg

Some days the field work was so exhausting that even the experienced and indefatigable amongst us had to take a nap.

 

And as if that wasn’t enough, every day after having being mesmerized by yet another magnificent and unique sunset, we would turn on our light traps (4 of them to be precise) and spend hours checking each of them in turn, collecting whatever we thought was worth recording.

 

Pic_9.jpg

Every evening the sky and landscape around the camp would become the backdrop to breathtaking and exclusive sunsets.

 

Pic 10.jpg

Can photographing sunsets every evening, have disturbing consequences on people’s size? 

 

Sorry if I haven’t talked much about lepidopterans in this post, but I thought it was important to give a little introduction before getting down to business. So if you enjoyed reading this make sure you don’t miss my next entry where I will actually feature some lepidopterans and talk about catching moths in Borneo.

 

But ... just to wet your appetite...

Pic-19.jpg

Large - and beautiful - Atlas moths were regular visitors at our moth traps. This is Archaeoattacus staudingeri, a relative of the more common Attacus atlas, found in Borneo and other areas of the Sundaland region.

0

As curator of the brachiopod and cephalopod collections, I will be alternating my blog posts about each group of organisms. If you're not sure what a brachiopod or cephalopod is stay tuned, as I'll be explaining the ins and outs of these groups and why both are amazing in their own way....

 

In amongst our many cabinets are some rather special historical collections, specimens known as types, and lots of other equally amazing treasures. I'd really like to use this blog to show you around the collections I look after, which are held "behind the scenes".

 

If you follow the collections' Twitter feeds (one each for brachiopods and cephalopods) you will be aware that on a Friday I participate in #FossilFriday. If there's a specimen featured there that warrants more explanation I will do so here.

 

Sometimes I go out to fossil fairs as a representative of the Museum to talk to the public about the wonderful specimens I look after. I also go out collecting on field trips. When I'm out of the Museum doing these activities I will share what I've been up to.

 

Keep reading to find out just what I get up to as a curator here and explore with me the wonders of the collections!

zoe-hughes-in-field---crop.jpg

Getting stuck into fieldwork in an Oxfordshire quarry.

0

Participation and Collections Management: Is good collection management and genuine public participation really possible?

 

 

hands on.jpg

 

When?
Thursday 27th June, 2013, 2.30pm-4.00pm

 

Where?
Flett Lecture Theatre, NHM, South Kensington

 

Who?

Speakers: 
Tim Vickers, Collections Care Officer, Luton Culture

 

What’s it about?:
This talk will look at some of the speakers experience of allowing hands on use of core collections to engage with the public. Focused primarily on the Museums archaeological collections, it will cover some of the risks and benefits of this way of working from a curator’s view rather than just for those who participate.

 

Who should come?
If you are thinking about or are working on a collections management project where you would like to involve members of the public where the focus is being hands-on.

 

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 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

3

Author: Jamie Ward

Date: 12/06/2013

Temperature: -27.7 degrees celcius

Wind Speed: 22 knots

Temperature with wind chill: -45 degrees celcius

Sunrise: N/A

Sunset: N/A

 

For the members of Scott's Terra Nova expedition, the hut at Cape Evans provided a warm, secure shelter. But the fact that it had to also accommodate all their food and equipment, whilst at the same time maintaining a useable living space, meant that space was always at a premium.

 

Beginning the excavation of the south wall of theTerra Nova hut..jpg

Beginning the excavation of the south wall of the Terra Nova hut

 

Luckily, both wooden food boxes and to a lesser extent the horses' fodder bales, provided a ready supply of regular building blocks from which extensions to the hut could be created. With the addition of roofs made from surplus timbers, the remains of packing crates, and a final covering of roofing felt and canvas, stables were fabricated and Bowers' Annex was built against the southern wall of the hut to store much of the expedition food. At around 25kg each, neatly stacked Colman's flour boxes, produced excellent external walls, strong and heavy enough to resist the worst of the Antarctic weather.

 

The remains of Bowers' Annex.jpg

The remains of Bower's Annex

 

A few years ago, the remnants of the Annex were excavated from solid ice, beneath a deep snow drift and the remaining badly deteriorated boxes were carefully removed to Scott Base for conservation. After over three months' work, this task is now complete and a total of 79 boxes, most still with their original contents, will return home to Cape Evans this coming summer. 

 

Restored flour boxes.jpg

Conserved Colmans flour boxes - JW. New timber weathers to silvery grey over a few years.

 

0

The Library catalogue is available online at Library catalogue


If you wish to view these or any other items, please contact the library to arrange an appointment library@nhm.ac.uk or 020 7942 5460

 

Anthropology / Palaeontology
Palaeontology

 

The world at the time of Messel : puzzles in palaeobiology, palaeoenvironment, and the history of early primates : 22nd International Senckenberg Conference, Frankfurt am Main, 15th-19th November 2011 / Thomas Lehmann & Stephan F.K. Schaal, eds.
Frankfurt am Main : Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung, c2011.
P 12U q LEH

 

Mesozoic terrestrial ecosystems of the Korean Cretaceous dinosaur coast : a field guide to the excursions of the 11th Mesozoic terrestrial ecosystems symposium (August 19-22, 2012) / by Martin G. Lockley & Min Huh & Jeong Yul Kim ; organized by the 11th MTE Organizing Committee ; hosted by the Geological Society of Korea ; co-hosted by Korea Dinosaur Research Center, Chonnam National University
[Gwangju, Korea : Korea Dinosaur Research Center, Chonnam National University, 2012].
P 15A o SYM

 

Program : the 11th Symposium on Mesozoic terrestrial systems : biota and ecosystem, and their global correlation : Kimdaejung Convention Center, Gwangju City, South Korea, August 15th-18th, 2012 / organized by the 11th MTE Organizing Committee ; hosted by the Geological Society of Korea ; co-hosted by Korea Dinosaur Research Center, Chonnam National University
[Gwangju, Korea : Korea Dinosaur Research Center, Chonnam National University, 2012].
P 15A o SYM

 

History of life / Richard Cowen
Chichester, West Sussex, UK ; Hoboken, NJ : Wiley-Blackwell, 2013
P 15C q COW

 

Eurypterids illustrated : the search for prehistoric sea scorpions / Samuel J. Ciurca, Jr.
Rochester, New York : Paleo Research, 2008-2010.
P26 q CIU

 

Prehl'adná geologická mapa kvartéru Slovenskej Republiky = General quaternary geological map of the Slovak Republic / zostavili = compilation, Juraj Maglay, redaktor = ed.ed ; Martina Moravcová ... [et al.] ; Ministerstvo Životného Prostredia ... [et al.].
Bratislava : [s.n.], 2011.
P MAP ROOM 72S SLO

 


Botany

 

The reindeer botanist : Alf Erling Porsild, 1901-1977 / Wendy Dathan.
Calgary : University of Calgary Press, 2012.
92 POR

 

Guide d'identification des arbres du Burkina Faso / Moctar Sacande, Lassina Sanou et Henk Beentje.
Kew : Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2012.
581.9(662.5) SAC

 

Hardy cypripedium : species, hybrids and cultivation / Werner Frosch, Phillip Cribb.
Richmond : Kew Publishing, 2013.
582.4P4169 FRO Q

 

Genus Cyclamen : in science, cultivation, art and culture / edited by Brian Mathew ; watercolours by Christabel King and Pandora Sellars.
Richmond, Surrey : Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2013.
582.4P99 MAT Q


Entomology


The art of embroidered butterflies / Jane E. Hall
Tunbridge Wells : Search Press, 2012.
E 3A q HAL

 

Mariposas del Ecuador = Butterflies & moths of Ecuador / Museo de Zoologia. Vol. 14, Familia: Riodinidae / Francisco Piñas Rubio
Quito : Compañía de Jesús, 2006.
E DC RHOPALOCERA P.48 Vol. 14

 

Troficheskie sviazi gusenits sovkoobraznykh cheshuekrylykhh fauny Rossii (Lepidoptera, Noctuoidea: Nolidae, Erebidae, Euteliidae, Noctuidae) = Trophic connections of the larvae of noctuoidea of Russia / A. Ju. Matov, V.S. Kononenko.
Vladivostok : Dalʹnauka, 2012.
E MACROLEPIDOPTERA M.76


General


The human impact on the natural environment : past, present and future / Andrew S. Goudie
Chichester : John Wiley & Sons, 2013.
L 66A q GOU

 

Ghidul speciilor comune din Parcul Naţional Munţii Rodnei = Field guide to common species from the Rodna Mountains National Park / [text Claudiu Iușan, Alina Szabó]
Bistriţa : Karuna, 2009.
L 72N o IUS

 

Tibet wild : a naturalist's journeys on the roof of the world / George B. Schaller.
Washington, DC : Island Press, 2012.
L 73F o SCH

 

Memórias do Mar : biodiversidade, conservação e cultura no litoral Brasileiro / Leopold Cavaleri Gerdhardinger, Maíra Borgonha, Áthila Andrade Bertoncicni, editores
Florianópolis : Ecomares, 2010.
L 76D q GER

 

Manguezais do Rio de Janeiro.
[Rio de Janeiro, Brazil] : Prefeitura da Cidade do Rio de Janeiro, Secretaria Municipal de Meio Ambiente, [2000?]
L 76D q SEC

 

Il Museo regionale di scienze naturali : la regione promotrice di cultura naturalistica / a cura di Elena Giacobino e Daniele Ormezzano.
Torino : Museo regionale di scienze naturali, 2011.
L 85 o TUR

 

Preserving archives / Helen Forde and Jonathan Rhys-Lewis
London : Facet Publishing, 2013.
L ARCHIVES 025.85 FOR

 


Zoology


Halocyprid ostracods of the Arabian Sea region / Inna Drapun, Sharon L. Smith.
Muscat, Oman : Sultan Qaboos University, Academic Publication Board, 2011.
Z CRUSTACEA 32U DRA

 

Calanoid copepods of the Arabian Sea region / Irina Prusova, Sharon L. Smith, Elena Popova.
Muscat, Oman : Sultan Qaboos University, Academic Publication Board, 2011.
Z CRUSTACEA 32V PRU

 

The fishes of Zimbabwe and their biology / Brian Marshall.
Grahamstown, South Africa : South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, 2011.
Z FISH 74D MAR

 

Lemurs of Madagascar / Russell A. Mittermeier ... [et al.] ; illustrated by Stephen D. Nash.
Arlington, Va. : Conservation International, 2010
Z MAMMALS 17H LEM

 

E l'uomo incontrò il lupo : Domesticazione del lupo e origine del rapporto tra uomo e cane / a cura di Luciana Trovato, Roberta Cavelli
Torino : Regione Piemonte Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali Torino, 2011.
Z MAMMALS 17L q TRO

 

Biology and conservation of tropical Asian amphibians : proceedings of the conference "Biology of the Amphibians in the Sunda Region, South-east Asia" / edited by Indraneil Das, Alexander Haas and Andrew Alek Tuen.
Sarawak, Malaysia : Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, c2011.
Z REPTILES 73 DAS

0

Friday 7 June saw Wallace enthusiasts descend on the University of Bournemouth for a one day conference on Wallace, fittingly held in the Alfred Russel Wallace Lecture Theatre, organised by the Linnean Society and The Society for the History of Natural History.

 

Entitled "Unremitting passion for the beauty and mystery of the natural world" the day included 6 talks about different aspects of Wallace’s life and work, a theatre performance by Theatr na n’Og called "You should ask Wallace" and an evening reception at Bournemouth Society for Natural Sciences.

 

2013-06-07 13.30.30.jpg

 

The morning was kicked off by Andrew Sortwell and David Orr Kerr who gave a fascinating talk of following, quite literally, in Wallace’s footsteps with two expeditions to the Amazon, one in 1978 and one in 2007. They shared with us amazing photos of some of locations Wallace would have visited during his 1848-52 expedition there and shared with us photos of native boats, much like Wallace would have travelled in. In 1978 the Wallace Expedition to Amazonia spent three months in remote regions of the Amazon studying the flora and fauna and in 2007, the second expedition involved travelling to the Rio Negro and spending some time in an Indian Reserve. They also visited São Joaquim, now deserted but the village where Wallace nearly lost his life to illness during his expedition. Their talk was fascinating and it was great to see photos of specimens Wallace would have collected and also to see some of David’s beautiful watercolours from the trip.

 

Janet Ashdown, conservator at the Linnean Society was the next speaker and spoke about the project she worked on to conserve Wallace’s 10 notebooks from the Amazon and Malay Archipelago. The Society acquired the notebooks in 1936 after Wallace’s son William offered them via Edward Bagnall Poulton. In 2011 funding was awarded by the Mellon Foundation to digitise the notebooks, but they were in a poor state of repair and needed to be conserved first. Each notebook was in a varying state of disrepair with his Amazon notebook needing the least intervention. There were four notebooks that were really degraded with Janet commenting they had been strangely constructed with straw-board covers. There were also old repairs that had been undertaken and unfortunately old covers had to be permanently removed because of degradation, however they have been kept and the new covers have been modelled closely on the originals. This was a really insightful talk and I enjoyed learning about the method and the time it took to restore these notebooks to their former glory. These notebooks have also just been digitised and are free to view on the Linnean Society’s website.

 

The final talk before lunch was given by Professor Jim Costa on insights and observations into Wallace’s Species notebooks. Professor Costa’s research into these notebooks will be published in October this year in his new book entitled On the Organic Law of Change. The species notebook (held by the Linnean Society, mc. 180) covers the period 1855-1859 whilst he was in the Malay Archipelago, a period of "remarkable creativity" for Wallace as Jim put it which saw the publication of the 1855 Sarawak Law and the 1858 Ternate Essay that saw him catapulted to fame alongside Charles Darwin. Jim also highlights Wallace’s critique of Sir Charles Lyell in his notebook, showing Lyell to be an inspiration to Wallace during this time. Jim has studied, transcribed and annotated the notebook for his new book, which is bound to give new and interesting insights into Wallace and his time spent in the Malay Archipelago.

 

After lunch, I was lucky enough to have been asked to speak about the Wallace Correspondence Project and it was great to be able to share with so many people details about the project and to show people just what an amazing resource Wallace Letters Online is.

 

Also speaking in the afternoon was Annette Lord, a volunteer at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History who spoke about Oxford Wallace’s collection, which consists of over 300 paper items in the Wallace archive, mostly letters and postcards dating from 1860 to 1913 and tens of thousands of specimens collected by Wallace and numerous type specimens, including Wallace’s famous giant bee, Megachile pluto. It was really interesting to hear Annette talk about Oxford’s collections on Wallace and she recounted many great stories told in the letters, mostly to Edwards Bagnall Poulton and Raphael Meldola, all of which are available to view on Wallace Letters Online.

 

2013-06-07 15.50.49.jpg

Some lovely specimens from the Oxford Wallace Collection

 

The final talk of the day was given by Dr Charles Smith and focused on Wallace and Natural Selection. Charles explored Wallace’s 1858 Ternate paper - the one which he sent to Darwin and was subsequently read with Darwin’s work on 1 July 1858 at the Linnean Society - and asked how much we really knew about Wallace’s own evolution of thought and explored Wallace being influenced by the works of Alexander von Humboldt. A thoroughly interesting talk and a great end to the presentations.

 

We were then treated to an excellent performance by Theatr na n’Og with a play called "You should ask Wallace". The play tells Wallace’s story, with one actor playing Wallace who recounts his childhood, early surveying career and expeditions to the Amazon and Malay Archipelago. They perform the play in schools around Wales and this year are busy with performances to a wide range of audiences. It was excellent and the actor who played Wallace bore more than a passing resemblance to the young naturalist! It’s a great way to engage a younger audience in Wallace’s extraordinary life and to inspire them also and it was really interesting seeing the play as it helps you to better imagine the challenging feats Wallace undertook.

 

2013-06-07 16.43.06.jpg

A Q&A session with Theatr na n'Og after their great performance

 

To round off the day there was a drinks reception at Bournemouth Society for Natural Sciences, which gave the delegates a chance to chat to one another about the days interesting talks. It was lovely talking to people so enthusiastic about Wallace, in such interesting surroundings, with the Society’s headquarters full of interesting specimens.

 

2013-06-07 19.03.07.jpg

The lovely surroundings of the Bournemouth Society for Natural Sciences

 

2013-06-07 19.07.07.jpg

Wallace and Darwin both honoured at the Society's headquarters

 

I’d like to say a big thanks to the Linnean Society for organising such an interesting day; another great success for Wallace100!

0

Tom Richards from the Museum's Life Science department is an author on a paper in Nature that explores the genome of one of the most abundant species of planktonic plant - the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi.  Coccolithophores occur in great numbers in the ocean: the chalk cliffs at Dover are made up of the remains of their calcium carbonate skeletons.

 

The World's oceans are tremendously complex.  Currents move over thousands of kilometres, some descending as they are cooled by weather systems, or mixing at the surface with fresh waters, sediments and nutrients from continental rivers.  Life is immensely diverse, ranging from corals to the deep-sea vent faunas.  The highest biomass of life is in the shallow seas near to land, but the open ocean contains a constantly shifting system of tiny planktonic organisms ranging from bacteria to single-celled plants to grazing zooplankton and their predators. 

 

These planktonic ecosystems change with currents, seasons, nutrient availability and predation. Their growth, population explosions, deaths and decline interact with the planet's cycling of carbon and other nutrients.  These interactions are important in understanding ocean productivity and climate: there are links to carbon dioxide fluctuation, for example, as the plants absorb it during growth and release some at death.  Despite the tiny size of the organisms, their huge numbers over two-thirds of the planet's surface means that their role in planetary systems is very significant.

 

E. huxleyi experiences huge population explosions in the open ocean - planktonic blooms. Some species of phytoplankton bloom under very particular conditions of temperature and nutrient availability, but E. huxleyi thrives in a wide range of conditions, occuring from the warm waters of the equator to polar regions.

 

NaturalHistoryMuseum_PictureLibrary_033355_Comp.jpgEmiliania huxleyi, showing the distinctive calcium carbonate plates that cover its exterior. 

These may have important protective and light-reflecting qualities for the organism.

 

The paper finds that E. huxleyi strains from different areas share a core genome - this gives them a robust abilty to resist the inhibiting and damaging effects of intense sunlight, together with genes that allow effective growth in low phosphorus conditions.  There are genetic differences between the strains that lead to distinct abilities to thrive in different nitrogen, ammonia and metal conditions.  It seems that this, and other characteristics, give E. huxleyi the ability to bloom in very different oceanic environments - it is described as a species complex because of its genetic diversity.

 

This work will enable scientists to understand better the responses and influences of this very widespread species, and to investigate the complex processes and systems of the ocean that determine productivity and influence climate change.

 

Read, B.A. et al. (2013) Pan genome of the phytoplankton Emiliania underpins its global distribution. Nature doi:10.1038/nature12221

0

IMG_1947a.jpg

 

 

 

Last week we welcomed Ana-Maria Costa, the Library & Archive's first Synthesys funded researcher. She is with us for three weeks.

 

Ana-Maria is here as part of her PhD with the University of Lisbon, entitled 'The Natural History in Art and the Art in Natural History 1770-1810'.

 

During her stay she will be using the Botanical and Zoological artwork collections from the Library and in particular those relating to:

 

Captain James Cook's two voyages

First Fleet

William Bartram

 

 

 

 

 

 

In particular the goal of her PhD is to compare and contrast the 'cultural' skills of Portuguese artists with those of other European artists during the period 1770-1810.

 

IMG_1946a.jpg

 

 

When studying the collections, she is looking at a number of different levels:

 

Artistic - not only interested in the colours used, but form, line and composition. Also what the artist puts behind, whether the perspectives are correct and their use of light and shadow to create a 3D effect.

 

Scientific/taxonomic - has the species been identified and if so correctly.

 

 

Geographic - she is recording the geographical information of the specimen depicted in order to later plot these on a map.

 

Ana-Maria is in her third year of four and has already researched the art collections at the Libraries of the Natural History Museum and Botanical Gardens, Lisbon, National Museum, Lisbon and Botanical Gardens, Madrid.

 

By the end of her research here Ana-Maria is looking to have identified approximately 40 pieces of artwork to use for her PhD, in addition to those selected from the other institutions.

1

Author: Marie

Date: 09/05/2013

Temperature: -25 degrees C

Wind Speed: 10 knots

Temp with wind chill: -30 degrees C

Sunrise: n/a

Sunset: n/a

 

Light is life, and so is poetry. I had this very simple thought slowly building up in my mind throughout this week.

 

We walk out of the night on Sundays. A few weeks ago, we were walking to see, between two nights, an inch of blue sky, we were looking at appearing light from under an ice roof; Now, we walk again, just to stare at the white hidden into the complete darkness.

 

An inch of blue sky, a glance into a Velasquez book by the fireplace, poems on Auroras that Jaime translated, the Aurora I saw last night, and then this morning a question: what I am going to write on? What's really meaningful here? All these precious moment merged into evidence. We're living here, as anywhere, out of light and words. There are just different lights and different words.

 

Picture2.JPG

Blue light through the ice

 

Our flashes of light are made of moon rays on the ice shelf, our city's lamps are hanging from the stars in faded green auroral curtains and the sunray touching one's hand has been swapped for an electric sparkle.

 

Picture1.JPG

Enlighten cities of ice

 

From all over the world, we're here sharing our songs and our slangs, we remember Italian and Greek, comment on English Latin roots and on Verlaine's lover.

Here we live and that's how we stand.

0

Dates and times: Every day, 1 July - 23 November, 10.00-17.50 (last admission 17.30)

 

This summer, take time to uncover the extraordinary adventures of Alfred Russel Wallace in a new family friendly trail at the Natural History Museum. Running from Monday 1 July, the Wallace Discovery Trail celebrates his role as the co-discoverer of evolution by natural selection, with Charles Darwin. The free trail is part of our Wallace100 celebrations, a series of activities commemorating the centenary of Wallace’s death.

 

Wallace was a British naturalist and explorer who collected more than 100,000 specimens on several epic journeys and discovered over 5,000 new species to science. His observations and notes on animal diversity in the Amazon and southeast Asia helped him discover evolution by natural selection independently of Darwin.

 

Follow the trail through the Museum’s iconic building, from the Central Hall to the spirit collection, to discover some of Wallace’s most important specimens and retrace his journey around the world.

 

The trail includes many items that have never been on public display before, revealing highlights from Wallace’s life and work:

 

  • exotic birds, reptiles and insects he collected, among them toucans and birds of paradise
  • his watercolours and drawings
  • tools of his trade, such as his telescope and sextant
  • a portrait, unveiled earlier this year by comedian and Wallace-enthusiast Bill Bailey
  • an adult orang-utan, probably the largest of all the specimens he collected

 

Dr George Beccaloni, curator at the Natural History Museum and expert on Wallace says:

 

‘This trail explores Wallace’s extraordinary adventures in South America and southeast Asia, in his quest to understand how life on Earth evolved. His travels were funded by the sale of animal specimens he collected, and a selection of some of the most spectacular of these will be on display. Wallace achieved his goal and discovered the process of evolution by natural selection while in Indonesia in 1858, a scientific breakthrough that is considered to be one of the most important ever made by anyone. Although Wallace was one of the most famous scientists of his era, he has largely been forgotten. This trail will help to remind people of his extraordinary life and many great achievements.’

0

‘Wallace’s eureka moment: The discovery of natural selection’

 

Dr John van Wyhe, The Natural History Museum


The Natural History Museum 4 July 16:30 – 17:30, Flett Theatre

 


As part of the Wallace100 celebrations taking part in 2013, the Natural History Museum will be hosting a monthly lecture series. These lectures are part of the Museum’s participation in Wallace100, an international programme of projects and events celebrating the centenary of Wallace’s death on 7 November 2013. At these monthly events, leading biologists and historians will discuss different aspects of Wallace’s life and work. The series also highlights the significance of the Museum as a focal point for Wallace collections and studies.

 

The story of Alfred Russel Wallace getting the idea of natural selection in a fit of tropical fever is rightly a famous account of scientific discovery. But what prompted his eureka moment? There have been many theories about Wallace's eureka moment. During his talk, Dr van Wyhe will shed light on these, dispelling many, as he examines the facts and surviving evidence from the time. The truth turns out to be rather different from what we have long believed...

 

Find out the facts at our revealing talk, presented by renowned Wallace expert and historian of science, Dr John van Wyhe. This is the 6th in our series of Wallace100 lectures.

 

John van Wyhe is a historian of science who specialises on Darwin and Wallace. He is the director of Darwin Online and Wallace Online. His latest book is Dispelling the Darkness: Voyage in the Malay Archipelago and the discovery of evolution by Wallace and Darwin (2013).

 

Free tickets need to be booked in advance
Book tickets online
Doors open 16.00

 

Details of the event can also be found here: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit-us/whats-on/events/programs/nhm/wallace%27s_eureka_moment_-_wallace100_lecture.html

 

Details of the Wallace100 celebrations can be found here: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/science-of-natural-history/wallace/events/index.html

 

Details of Wallace100 events taking place at the NHM can be found here: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/wallace100events

0

Deep Sea ID: creating an iPhone and iPad app for science

 

Adrian Glover

AQUID (Aquatic Invertebrates Division), Dep. of Life Sciences, NHM

 

Wednesday 19th June 11:00 Sir Neil Chalmers seminar room, Darwin Centre LG16 (below Attenborough studio)

 

Deep Sea ID is the first iOS (iPhone and iPad) app from the NHM science group, released in March this year. It is a field guide interface to the World Register of Deep-Sea Species (WoRDSS) that currently stores on your device (for offline access) the taxonomic information for over 20,000 deep sea species, over 350 high resolution photographs of deep-sea specimens as well as links to online taxonomic tools, sources and important references.In this talk and demo I will explain why we made this app, how we did it, the importance of open data and take you on a visual tour through some of the amazing creatures of the deep sea.

 

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

 

64117_bathykurila-guaymasensis.jpgBathykurila guaymasensis


Credit: Adrian Glover.  http://www.marinespecies.org/deepsea/index.php  CC-BY-NC-SA

0

Conodonts are extinct phosphatic microfossils that 'look like' teeth and are used extensively for dating rocks roughly 500-205 million years old. Ever since they were first described as fish teeth by C. H. Pander in 1856 they have caused arguments over how they should be classified and, nearly 150 years later, continue to do so. Read on to find out if they really are teeth, why they are so difficult to classify, give names to and even decide which way up they should be!

 

 

Conodonts_blog.jpg

Images of platform, blade-like and coniform conodonts from the Museum collection. Note the presence of white matter inside and beneath the denticles of some of the specimens, a feature unique to conodonts.

 

For consistency, I shall refer to these individual phosphatic elements as conodonts and the creature that produced them as the conodont animal. Some consider this incorrect; you wouldn't refer to the 'cat animal' or the 'lion animal' for example. Often the individual specimens are referred to as conodont 'elements'.

 

  • What do they look like?

 

Conodonts are generally between 0.1mm to 2mm long, although some examples from a single deposit in South Africa measure up to 20mm. They take a variety of different forms including complex platforms, blade-like structures, simple cones and elongate bars with denticles (i.e. small teeth or tooth-like structures). Each specimen has a basal cavity and depending on preservation and species, white matter can be seen inside.

 

  • How do you find them?

 

Usually they are found in marine rocks (limestones or shales) and are released by dissolving them in acetic acid (the acid constituent of vinegar); a process that can take many weeks and sometimes months. The resulting residues are sieved and concentrated into a heavy fraction containing the conodonts by using a heavy liquid such as sodium polytungstate. The majority of collections consist of disarticulated remains and this is the main issue facing scientists studying their distribution.

 

pdt14622_Paul_Taylor_conodonts_Gotland_blog.jpg

A scanning electron microscope image of conodonts from the Silurian of Gotland, Sweden (photograph Dr Paul Taylor, NHM). Although many different shapes can be seen here, the specimens illustrated probably belong to only two species.

 

  • What is a species?

 

Early conodont workers described each shape encountered under a different species name as nothing was known about the animal that produced them, or even if it was an animal. Despite the later discovery of bedding plane assemblages of individual conodonts arranged in biological position, many workers continued to give separate names to each form.

 

In the latter stages of the 20th Century, arguments raged over whether to use multielement taxonomy, where different shaped but biologically related elements were grouped together under one species name. Some scientists preferred to continue to name each element separately and as a result, older published literature can be confusing.

 

Idiognathodus_composite_blog.jpg

 

 

A bedding plane assemblage of Idiognathodus from the Carboniferous of Bailey Falls, Illinois, USA. Fused clusters of conodonts and bedding plane assemblages like these are preserved in the fossil record only in exceptional circumstances. They give direct evidence of the biological grouping and positioning of the various elements in the conodont animal. Left: an SEM image. Right: the same specimen photographed under a light microscope. The black scale bar in the middle is about 0.5mm.

 

  • Are they teeth?

 

Although conodonts look like teeth, it has also been suggested that they could have functioned as sieve structures to filter fine particles. One of my favourite early interpretations of the conodont animal was published by Maurits Lindstrom in 1974. You can imagine these elongate conodonts with upper denticulated surfaces acting very much like a filter if arranged like this.

 

loo_roll_conodont_blog.jpg

 

An interpretation of the conodont animal as published by Lindstrom in 1974. I like to call this the 'loo roll' reconstruction!

 

Polygonal patterns on the upper surfaces of some conodonts show the impressions of cells and suggest that - at least at some stage - parts of some conodonts were fully enclosed in soft tissue. Wear patterns on the surfaces of conodonts and growth studies based on bedding plane assemblages suggest that for some conodonts, the elongate denticulated conodonts were used in a rasping action to capture food and pass it backwards to more blade and platform shaped cutting and grinding teeth. However, this is not universally accepted with some scientists suggesting that conodonts could not have functioned in a cutting action. 

 

Conodonts_polygonal_microsculpture.jpg

Polygonal microsculpture representing the impressions of cells on the platform surface of the Devonian conodont Ancyrodella.

 

  • What produced them?

 

The conodont animal was discovered by chance in a Scottish museum in the early 1980s by some scientists looking for shrimp fossils in the Carboniferous Granton Shrimp Bed. This story is often quoted by curators trying to justify the upkeep of large collections as it is an excellent example of a major discovery resulting from an old uncatalogued collection. The discovery ended one of the longest running sagas in palaeontology; what produced the conodonts?

 

IMG_2817_conodont_animal_blog.jpgThis is one of 10 specimens from the Granton Shrimp Bed of Edinburgh where details of the body of the conodont animal are preserved. The Museum purchased this specimen in the 1980s at around the time that the first paper on the conodont animal was published. The scale bar shows millimetres so the preserved part of the body is just over 1.5cm long.


Details from the 10 specimens available were amalgamated to produce a reconstruction of the conodont animal showing that it had an elongate body with chevron shaped muscle blocks, a caudal fin, a notochord running along its body and paired eyes. There are now other examples of soft body preservation of conodont animals including the giant conodont Promissum pulchrum from the Ordovician of South Africa. This has a very similar body plan to the Granton animals.

 

  • How should they be classified?

 

Although many early conodont workers were only interested in studying the stratigraphical distribution of conodonts for biostratigraphy (relative dating of rocks on the basis of their biological content), between 1876 and 1975 there were 46 different conodont affinities published. Some concluded that they were related to worms, snails, arthropods, chordates and even plants. Others considered them so different from anything else that they should represent a separate phylum, the Conodonta.

 

The precise interpretation of the preserved soft tissues of the conodont animal and histological sections through conodont hard tissues continues to divide the scientific community. Interpretations of conodont hard tissues as representing enamel, cellular bone and globular calcified cartilage have led many to classify them as early vertebrates placing them as more derived than the living lampreys and hagfish and precursors to the early fishes.

 

Not all scientists accept this because some vertebrate workers consider the tissues, particularly the conodont white matter, to be unique to conodonts and unrelated to the dentine and bone present in early fishes. This, allied to differing interpretations of the conodont soft tissues has led to suggestions that they are Chordates but unrelated to the Vertebrates.

 

 

Animal_App_lines_ed_Purnell_blog.jpg

The conodont feeding apparatus and its position within the conodont animal (boxed area) based on Idiognathodus and Clydagnathus respectively. Image courtesy and copyright of Prof. Mark Purnell, University of Leicester. See the text for an explanation of the labels.

 

  • What way up should conodonts be?

 

Before the discovery of the conodont animal and detailed studies of bedding plane assemblages, the exact biological positioning of conodonts within the mouth part of the conodont animal was conjectural. Various conventions used to describe anterior/posterior, upper/lower and inner/outer have subsequently proven to be incorrect. For example, in old terminology the 'anterior blade' of the P1 element is shown above to be a ventral blade.

 

P (Primo) elements were considered to be at the front of the mouth and S (Secundo) elements further back. Discovery of the conodont animal has shown that the reverse is true. Element terminology using the terms P, S and M is ingrained in the literature and will never be changed. However, many continue to use outdated terminology to describe anterior/posterior, upper/lower and inner/outer or use similarity of shape to infer similarity of biological positioning within the conodont animal.

 

  • Summary

 

I have given a very simplistic guide to conodonts here, showing some of the reasons why there have been and still are so many arguments over naming them, working out their function, classifying them and even orientating them. This post is not intended to champion the research of any particular academic or to give strong views on any of the arguments mentioned but if you are interested to receive further details of scientific literature discussing these issues then why not comment below or contact me directly.

0

I am in a hotel lobby in Lima, Peru (OK, that’s a bit of a lie - I was when I wrote this but now I'm back in UK…). There is, as with most cities globally, a high level of chaos around me involving road works, building works, giggling and cleaning. However I am in a happy place - mainly because I am in Peru and it is lovely to be back, but also because today I spent most of my time in the International Potato Centre (CIP) discussing a project and our projected findings with incredibly well informed folks (the Man of Potatoes below).  So let me fill you in with a few details...

 

Erica-1.jpgThe Man of Potatoes at CIP, Peru

 

This field trip is the first of many, which is part of a larger project looking at potatoes, tomatoes and aubergines, their wild relatives and their associated insect fauna. Botanists, entomologists, modellers and digitisers at the Museum have got together to look through the collections, mine them for data and then go out into the field to fill in the gaps in our knowledge to enable us to start to map what will happen to our economically important species in the future.

 

A couple of days ago, after months of planning, Dr Diana Percy (aka Psyllid lady; Psyllids are very, very, very small jumping bugs) and myself flew from a cold and rainy UK to a muggy and hot Lima to join various colleagues who where already there. 

 

Sandy Knapp, our intrepid leader, potato queen and lover of all things South American, was in Lima having come back from the field and took us this morning to the Institute. She has been working with various people at the Institute for a long time looking at the Solanaceae distribution in Peru but as well as working with the plants the Institute is also looking at the pest and pollinator species and their predators and parasitoids. This was great to hear as this was something that we were investigating too. The Centre consists of many plant workers, modellers, etc. and more importantly for me at this precise moment – entomologists.

 

We had a brief tour and then it was time for a very enlightening seminar (in Spanish) by Sandy to the group of scientists about Solanaceae and the work that she and other collaborators were performing involving the phylogentics of the group, as well as the project that we were undertaking over the next couple of years.

 

Erica-2.jpg

Sandy Knapp thanks collaborators on her project and shows a lovely photo of Tiina Saarkinen, who is in the field waiting for us to join her!

 

(Did you know that there are only 29 fossil records for the whole of Solanaceae? Which in laymen’s terms could mean that we have no real idea of where the potato came from…?)

 

Entomologists that we met were Dr Jurgen Kroschel as well as Veronica Cañedo Torres and Norma who were working on various agroecology and biodiversity studies focusing on potatoes and their associated insect communities. The facilities were great and we first walked into a lab where there were tiny pots containing one of the moth pest species.

 

Erica-3.jpgPots containing moth pest species of solanaceae

 

As well as looking at what species attack the potatoes they are looking at where on the plant the damage is occurring - i.e. is it the tuber (the lovely edible part) or is it the leaves, the stems etc; what part of the life cycle of the pest species is causing the damage (with the moths it is the caterpillar but with the beetles it is the larvae and the adult); but also which species are the most important and does it depend on where the plants are located (potatoes can be found thousands of meters up a mountain). So as well as the preserved material that they have caught out in the field through sweeping the plants, leaving out potatoes as bait, laying down pitfall traps etc they have reared material in the lab and have now colonies of the different insects.

 

We move past the living pots and head into the collection space proper. A lovely air conditioned room containing sealed cabinets full of wonderfully curated specimens. Veronica had prepared most of the material herself as well as identifying many of the species. There are, as with all collections, many more that had not been identified and this is where the collaborations between the institutes becomes fun - we can help each other out in terms of specimens and identifications and everyone benefits!

 

Erica-4.jpg

The fatties at the bottom of this drawer are tachinids which are fab parasitic flies.

 

Diana and I poked through the collections to gain insight into the types of species that they were collecting from the potatoes. Many of our preconceptions about which species would be present or would be more important were disbanded and the information that we gathered would help us strengthen our sampling strategy once we were in the field. (This is often the way of fieldwork - best laid plans and all that… flexibility is the name of the game... as well as entomological training; we have been trained by both the A-team and Blue Peter to enable us to build objects from a toilet roll and spare tyres to enable us to capture that elusive fly…)

 

We were then shown the rearing facilities - I could work here. We walked past carefully manicured gardens and trees with brilliant red tanager, the massive greenhouses that were chock full of potatoes, past the courts where dancing lessons were given on Wednesdays and into the new rearing facilities. Rooms with pots of insects in always makes me smile. Little containers, medium containers, large containers, all with potatoes and all with one species or another that is trying to maim or kill something.

 

Erica-5.jpg

Wounded potatoes

 

As well as the moths and the beetles, the major pests were the leaf mining flies which are easily recognisable by the excavated passage ways that they leave behind in the leaves.

 

Erica-6.jpg

Damage caused to leaves by leaf mining flies

 

These flies do not directly harm the tubers but reduce the overall fitness of the plant and so reduce the overall size and numbers of the potatoes.

 

They had large containers that housed either only flies or flies with different parasitoids to observe the affect of just pests or plant/pest interactions on the potatoes health. All very interesting stuff.

 

We left the Institute armed with scientific papers, species lists, sterilised sand (for rearing in the field ) and with more impatience to get into the field and see what was out there. Hopefully we will stop there once we are back from the field armed with more questions but sweetened with many specimens to look at and compare.

 

Good times lay ahead. more to follow on the search for wild potatoes and the joys of pootering at an altitude of 4,000m.....

0

The Library catalogue is available online at Library catalogue


If you wish to view these or any other items, please contact the library to arrange an appointment library@nhm.ac.uk or 020 7942 5460

 

Anthropology / Palaeontology


Anthropology

 

Adrar Bous : archaeology of a central Saharan granitic ring complex in Niger / J. Desmond Clark ... [et al.] ; Diane Gifford-Gonzalez, general editor.
Tervuren, Belgium : Royal Museum for Central Africa, 2008.
A 2 o CLA

 

Starting from scratch : site specific paintings that consider aspects of human activity from Britain's ancient past / Brian Graham
London : Hart Gallery, 2011
A 3A q GRA

 

Palaeontology

 

Late Devonian conodonts from northwestern Thailand / Norman M. Savage
Eugene, Oregon : Bourland, 2013.
P 24 q SAV

 

Le Alpi Carniche : uno scrigno geologico = Die Karnischen Alpen : ein geologisches Schatzkästchen / a cura di Giuseppe Muscio e Corrado Venturini ; [testi: Giuseppe Muscio ... et al. ; Disegni: Furio Colman ... et al. ; red.: Giuseppe Muscio ... et al. ; trad. di italiano a tedesco: PuntoLingue].
Udine : Museo Friulano di storia naturale, 2012.
P 72I o MUS

 

Fossil mammals of Asia : Neogene biostratigraphy and chronology / edited by Xiaoming Wang, Lawrence J. Flynn, and Mikael Fortelius.
New York : Columbia University Press, c2013
P 73 q WAN

 

Corridors to extinction and the Australian megafauna / Steve Webb
Amsterdam : Elsevier, 2013.
P 77A o WEB

 

James Hutton : the founder of modern geology / Donald B. McIntyre and Alan McKirdy
Edinburgh : NMS, 2012
P 96 o HUT

 


Botany


Proceedings of Cycad 2008 : the 8th International Conference on Cycad Biology, 13-15 January 2008, Panama City, Panama / editors: Dennis Wm. Stevenson, Roy Osborne, and Alberto Sidney Taylor Blake.
Bronx, N.Y. : New York Botanical Garden Press, 2012.
B 582.4P166 STE

 

The genus betula : a taxonomic revision of birches / by Kenneth Ashburner and Hugh A. McAllister ; illustrations by Josephine Hague.
London : Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2013.
B 582.4P159 ASH

 

The story of Kew Gardens in photographs / by Lynn Parker, Kiri Ross-Jones.
London : Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2013.
B 58.006 KEW PAR

 

Zhong giuo gian den zhi wu = Higher plants of China. Volume 14, [Index] / editors: Fu Xiaoping and Li Yong
[Qingdao] : Qingdao Publishing House, 2013.
B 581.9(51) HIG Q

 

Zhong giuo gian den zhi wu = Higher plants of China. Volume 1, [Bryophyta] / editors: Wu Pengchen [sic], Jia Yu and Zhang Li
[Qingdao] : Qingdao Publishing House, 2012.
B 581.9(51) HIG Q
                   

 

Entomology


Die Käfer Mitteleuropas. Bd. 4, Staphylinidae (exklusive Aleocharinae, Pselaphinae und Scydmaeninae) / Heinz Freude, Karl Wilhelm Harde, Gustav Adolf Lohse
Heidelberg : Spektrum, 2012.
E DC COLEOPTERA F.24 Band 4

 

A manual for the identification of the dragonflies and damselflies of New Guinea, Maluku, and the Solomon Islands / John Michalski ; ill. M. A. Lieftinck
Morristown, N.J. : Kanduanum Books, 2012.
E DC ODONATA M.22

 

Comportements d'Abeilles Colletidae (Hymenoptera) : Les genres <Hylaeus>, <Chilicola>, <Colletes>, <Pasiphae>, <Policana>, <Cadeguala>, <Caupolicana>, <Lonchopria> et <Diphaglossa> / Hippolyte Janvier ; edited with annotations by Holger H. Dathe, Michael Kuhlmann & Claire Villemant
Ansfelden : Entomofauna, 2012.
E HYMENOPTERA J.13a

 


General


The evolutionary strategies that shape ecosystems / J. Philip Grime, Simon Pierce.
Chichester, West Sussex, UK ; Hoboken, NJ : Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.
L 10E o GRI

 

Natural Skye / by Paul Yoxon and Grace M. Yoxon
Broadford, Isle of Skye : Skye Environmental Centre, 2012.
L 72Ab o YOX

 

Biodiversidad de Guatemala. vol. 1 / editado por Enio B. Cano.
Guatemala, Guatemala, Centroamérica : Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, 2006
L 75Eb q BIO

 

Wildlife photographer of the year. Portfolio 22 / edited by Rosamund Kidman Cox.
London : Natural History Museum, 2012.
L 83 q WIL

 

Science communication : a practical guide for scientists / Laura Bowater and Kay Yeoman.
Hoboken : Wiley, 2013.
L 98 o BOW

 

British Palaeozoic fossils / edited by L. Robin M. Cocks
London : Natural History Museum, 2012
L OFFICIAL PRESS BM Ca o BRI

 

British Mesozoic fossils / edited by Andrew B. Smith
London : Natural History Museum, 2012.
L OFFICIAL PRESS BM Ca o BRI

 

 

Ornithology (Tring)


Alexander Wilson : the Scot who founded American ornithology / Edward H. Burtt, Jr., William E. Davis, Jr.
Cambridge, Massachusetts : The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2013.
ORNITHOLOGY 96A WIL   

                

Analysis of Wetland Bird Survey (WEBS) data for the Wash SSSI/NNR / V.H. Ross-Smith, N.A. Calbrade & G.E. Austin
Thetford, Norfolk : British Trust for Ornithology, 2011.
ORNITHOLOGY S 103 M   

                

Atlas of duck populations in eastern Europe / Janis Viksne ... [et al.].
Vilnius, Lithuania : OMPO Vilnius, 2010.
ORNITHOLOGY 72Q VIK      

             

The illustrated guide to ducks and geese and other domestic fowl : how to choose them, how to keep them / [text and illustrations by Celia Lewis].
London ; New York : Bloomsbury Publishing, 2012.
ORNITHOLOGY 86A LEW

                   

A naturalist's guide to the birds of Borneo : Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Kalimantan / Wong Tsu Shi.
London : John Beaufoy Pub., 2012.
ORNITHOLOGY 77A WON 

                 

Owls of North America / Frances Backhouse.
Buffalo, N.Y. ; Richmond Hill, Ont. : Firefly Books, 2008.
ORNITHOLOGY 75 BAC  

                  

Parrots of Africa, Madagascar and the Mascarene Islands : biology, ecology and conservation / Mike Perrin ; with photographs by Cyril Laubscher.
Johannesburg : Wits University Press, 2012.
ORNITHOLOGY 74 PER

                   

The raptor guide of Southern Africa / Ulrich Oberprieler, Burger Cillié.
Hatfield, Pretoria : Game Parks Publishing, 2009.
ORNITHOLOGY 74E OBE                    

 

 

Zoology


Leech / Robert G.W. Kirk and Neil Pemberton.
London : Reaktion Books, 2013
Z 40D o KIR

 

Catalogue - fauna of Gammaridean Amphipoda (Crustacea, Malacostraca) of the Adriatic sea = Katalog - fauna Gammaridnih Amphipoda (Crustacea, Malacostraca) Jadranskog mora / Gordan S. Karaman ; urednik Gordon S. Karaman.
Podgorica : Montenegrin Academy of Sciences and Arts, 2011.
Z CRUSTACEA 32G KAR

 

Functional morphology and diversity. Vol.1, The natural history of the Crustacea / edited by Les Watling and Martin Thiel
New York : Oxford University Press, c2013
Z CRUSTACEA 32 WAT

 

Worcestershire's mammals : An atlas compiled from records collected between 1995 and 2007 together with historical information / G.H. Green ... [et al.]
Malvern : Aspect Design, 2012.
Z MAMMALS 72A q GRE

 

The Howard and Moore complete checklist of the birds of the world. Volume 1, Non-passerines / edited by Edward Dickinson and J.V. Remsen, Jr.
Eastbourne : Aves, 2013.
Z REFERENCE 18 HOW

 

The most complete <Oophaga pumilio> color morphguide : 102 different colorforms / locations / [C. van der Lingen, W. van der Lingen]
[S.l.] : [Edition Chimaira], 2012.
Z REPTILES 75 VAN

1

Author: Stefanie

Date: 29/05/2013

Temperature: -27 degrees C

Wind Speed: 10/13 kts

Temp with wind chill: -55 degrees C

Sunrise: n/a

Sunset: n/a

 

 

The environment in Antarctica is extremely dry. It is an average of 18% Relative Humidity in the lab at Scott Base and while the development of corrosion on metal artefacts is inhibited, the dry humidity is not so kind to organic materials. Great effort is made to prevent paper artefacts from curling during their treatments and to introduce a degree of humidity to aid the treatment of organic objects. A humidity chamber is normally constructed for this purpose:

Image1.jpg

 

Humidity chamber constructed by Stefan and Jam for the treatment of leather harnesses.

 

We also suffer the consequences of the dry environment and continuously strive to remain hydrated by drinking copious amounts of water. Our water bottles have become permanent accessories. Moisturisers and silicon barrier creams are found distributed throughout Scott Base to help combat flaking skin and cracking fingers. Some people apply sticky tape around their fingers to prevent their skin from completely splitting, some apply eye-drops daily and everyone is seen applying lip balm regularly. And so, one very memorable Sunday, we constructed our own humidity chamber. Rain was made by spraying a room down with pressure water and for a few glorious hours we basked in rain, puddles and high humidity… 

 

Image2 (Medium).jpg

Humidity Chamber constructed by Mike for the treatment of Scott Base staff.

0

Outside the Museum there are now about 700 free-flying tropical butterflies enjoying the exotic undergrowth of our Sensational Butterflies house. 'In 6 weeks there may be more than 1,000,' our butterfly house manager Luke Brown tells me excitedly, with news of the first zebra butterfly larvae appearing. These should metamorphose into 100s of adult butterflies over the next few weeks.

 

The enchanting yet fleeting stars of our butterfly show never cease to captivate us and this Sunday, Luke will be giving visitors to the Museum an extra flutter in his free talk in the Attenborough Studio. The half-hour talk, A House of Butterflies, runs at 12.30 and again at 14.30 on 9 June.

zebra-luke-sfavourite.jpg

Meet Heliconius charitonia commonly known as the zebra butterfly, and Luke Brown (below) commonly known as our butterfly house manager, in our butterfly house and find out more about both at our free talk this weekend. Close up zebra courtesy of Inzilbeth.

luke-fave-butterfly-1500.jpg

Accompanied by colleague Kerry, Luke's talk will explore some of our most-loved species including his own personal favourite, the zebra butterfly, Heliconius charitonia (pictured above). He hopes to bring along some caterpillars, eggs and specimens (but no live butterflies as they might not like the lights in the studio) and talk a little about the history of the butterfly house and the exhbition itself.

 

The first butterfly house arrived here in 2008 and has become a regular spring-summer annual attraction at the Museum, following a brief absence last year. This year's exhibition which opened at the end of March has been the most successful to date.

 

A butterfly fan since he was a little boy, Luke asked for a greenhouse for his sixth Christmas and ended up running his own company, The Butterfly Gardener Ltd and putting on butterfly shows all over the world. He looks forward to the continued success of Sensational Butterflies and taking his passion further afield to places like the Middle East and Brazil, with a personal project planned for the south coast.

 

Drop into the talk if you can and especially if you're visiting the Sensational Butterflies exhibition. Go on your own butterfly trail through the Museum taking in the Cocoon building and the Wildlife Garden nearby.

 

Don't forget to send in any great photos of butterflies wherever you may snap them and from inside Sensational Butterflies to our Pinterest board for a chance to win some butterfly goodies.  My recent favourites are of the glasswing and butterfly shoes, and congratulations to last month's competition winner.

 

Find out about visiting Sensational Butterflies and tickets and other butterfly events

A House of Butterflies is on 9 June and Butterflies in Disguise is on 15 June

Check out The Butterfly Gardener website

 

Get help with identifiying butterflies and caterpillars

 

If you can't make it to the Museum for our free events, we also webcast some live. Look out for these talks next week: The World I Want and Extinct Ice Age Giants

0

Author: Stefan

Date: 29/05/2013

Temperature: -27 degrees C

Windspeed: 10kts

Temp with wind chill: -39 degrees C

Sunrise: N/A

Sunset: N/A

 

It's been a particular pleasure this season to see some iconic pieces of the expeditioner's clothing pass through the conservation lab at Scott Base. It was noticeable last season that many of the gents clothing companies who had originally supplied the Terra Nova crew, were dedicating there AW2012 season to the heroic age. And a 100yrs of their own heritage.

 

Although companies such as Wolsey, Burberry, and Jaeger ran with collections that were heavily themed with clothes of the expeditions, one designer took it a step further and produced a limited edition range which celebrated individual garments attributed to shore party members. i.e. P O Evans's Jacket, and Charles Wright's Balaclava etc.

 

Nigel_Cabourn_14ozberlin_deck_jacket.jpg

Nigel Cabourn's 'Henry Bowers Deck Jacket' Credit: Nigel Cabourn

 

Nigel Cabourn (the designer wrote this about his work) "As a designer whose collections are inspired by history and real vintage clothing, my visit to the Polar Institute inspired me to base my AW12 collection on Scott and his team as a dedication to their fantastic feat. The wealth of information I found at the Institute spurred on my inspiration to create 12 individual garments that represent the achievements of Scott and his team on their last expedition"

 

Nigel_Cabourn_14ozberlin_expedition_smok.jpg

Nigel Cabourn's 'P.O. Evans Expedition Smok' Credit: Nigel Cabourn

 

Additonal item photos available here: http://14oz-berlin.blogspot.co.nz/2012/10/nigel-cabourn-limited-edition-ii-scotts.html

 

The collection is a very beautiful tribute to the men, and even though single garments run into the thousands of pounds, I think I may be treating myself to a winter coat when I return home if there are any still available. Happy shopping.