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Publications for the previous 4 weeks (Search done 7th February 2013)

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







Ehlmann, B.L., Berger, G., Mangold, N., MICHALSKI, J.R., Catling, D.C., Ruff, S.W., Chassefiere, E., Niles, P.B., Chevrier, V. & Poulet, F. 2013. Geochemical Consequences of Widespread Clay Mineral Formation in Mars' Ancient Crust. Space Science Reviews, 174(1-4): 329-364. (  )

Kroner, A., Alexeiev, D.V., Rojas-Agramonte, Y., Hegner, E., Wong, J., Xia, X., Belousova, E., Mikolaichuk, A.V., SELTMANN, R., Liu, D. & Kiselev, V.V. 2013. Mesoproterozoic (Grenville-age) terranes in the Kyrgyz North Tianshan: Zircon ages and Nd-Hf isotopic constraints on the origin and evolution of basement blocks in the southern Central Asian Orogen. Gondwana Research, 23(1): 272-295.  ( )

MISRA, S.K., DYBOWSKA, A., BERHANU, D., Luoma, S.N. & VALSAMI-JONES, E. 2012. The complexity of nanoparticle dissolution and its importance in nanotoxicological studies. Science of the Total Environment, 438: 225-232. ( )

Niles, P.B., Catling, D.C., Berger, G., Chassefiere, E., Ehlmann, B.L., MICHALSKI, J.R., Morris, R., Ruff, S.W. & Sutter, B. 2013. Geochemistry of Carbonates on Mars: Implications for Climate History and Nature of Aqueous Environments. Space Science Reviews, 174(1-4): 301-328. (

ZAITSEV, A.N., WILLIAMS, C.T., WALL, F. & Zolotarev, A.A. 2012. Evolution of chemical composition of pyrochlore group minerals from phoscorites and carbonatites of the Khibina alkaline massif. Geology of Ore Deposits, 54(7): 503-515.  ( )





Lamsdell, J.C., Hosgor, I. & SELDEN, P.A. 2013. A new Ordovician eurypterid (Arthropoda: Chelicerata) from southeast Turkey: Evidence for a cryptic Ordovician record of Eurypterida. Gondwana Research, 23(1): 354-366. (




Siidra, O.I., Krivovichev, S.V., Turner, R.W., RUMSEY, M.S. & SPRATT, J. 2013. Crystal chemistry of layered Pb oxychloride minerals with PbO-related structures: Part I. Crystal structure of hereroite, Pb32O20(O,square) (AsO4)(2) (Si,As,V,Mo)O-4 (2)Cl-10. American Mineralogist, 98(1): 248-255.  ( )

Siidra, O.I., Krivovichev, S.V., Turner, R.W., RUMSEY, M.S. & SPRATT, J. 2013. Crystal chemistry of layered Pb oxychloride minerals with PbO-related structures: Part II. Crystal structure of vladkrivovichevite, Pb32O18 Pb4Mn2O Cl-14(BO3)(8)center dot 2H(2)O. American Mineralogist, 98(1): 256-261. ( )





ANDREWS, P. & Fernandez-Jalvo, Y. 2012. Bronze Age barrows at Longstone Edge: Taphonomy and site formation. Quaternary International, 275: 43-54.  (

Brace, S., Palkopoulou, E., Dalen, L., LISTER, A.M., Miller, R., Otte, M., Germonpre, M., Blockley, S.P.E., Stewart, J.R. & Barnes, I. 2012. Serial population extinctions in a small mammal indicate Late Pleistocene ecosystem instability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(50): 20532-20536. ( )

Compton, T. & STRINGER, C. 2012. The human remains. Pp. 118-230 in S. Aldhouse-Green, R. Peterson and E.A. Walker (eds) Neanderthals in Wales: Pontnewydd and the Elwy Valley caves. 

Coulombe, P., Qualls, C., KRUSZYNSKI, R., Nerlich, A., Bianucci, R., Harris, R., Mermier, C. & Appenzeller, O. 2012. Network Science in Egyptology. Plos One, 7(11).   ( )

CURRANT, A.P. & Eastham, A. 2012. The fauna. Pp. 100-117 in S. Aldhouse-Green, R. Peterson and E.A. Walker (eds) Neanderthals in Wales: Pontnewydd and the Elwy Valley caves. 

ERICSSON, R., Knight, R. & JOHANSON, Z. 2013. Evolution and development of the vertebrate neck. Journal of Anatomy, 222(1): 67-78.  ( )

Graham, A. & JOHANSON, Z. 2013. Special Issue on 'Vertebrate Evolutionary Development Biology'. Journal of Anatomy, 222(1): 1-1.  ( )

Pinhasi, R., Nioradze, M., Tushabramishvili, N., Lordkipanidze, D., Pleurdeau, D., Moncel, M.H., Adler, D.S., STRINGER, C. & Higham, T.F.G. 2012. New chronology for the Middle Palaeolithic of the southern Caucasus suggests early demise of Neanderthals in this region. Journal of Human Evolution, 63(6): 770-780.  ( )








MORTON, B. 2012. Graveyards under the sea. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 64(11): 2273-2274.   ( )

Hollander, J., Smadja, C.M., Butlin, R.K. & REID, D.G. 2013. Genital divergence in sympatric sister snails. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 26(1): 210-215. ( )





Guillou, L., Bachar, D., Audic, S., BASS, D., BERNEY, C., Bittner, L., Boutte, C., Burgaud, G., de Vargas, C., Decelle, J., del Campo, J., Dolan, J.R., Dunthorn, M., Edvardsen, B., Holzmann, M., Kooistra, W., Lara, E., Le Bescot, N., Logares, R., Mahe, F., Massana, R., Montresor, M., Morard, R., Not, F., Pawlowski, J., Probert, I., Sauvadet, A.L., Siano, R., Stoeck, T., Vaulot, D., Zimmermann, P. & Christen, R. 2013. The Protist Ribosomal Reference database (PR2): a catalog of unicellular eukaryote Small Sub-Unit rRNA sequences with curated taxonomy. Nucleic Acids Research, 41(D1): D597-D604.  ( )

HAWKSWORTH, D.L. 2013. The oldest sequenced fungal specimen. Lichenologist, 45(1): 131-132.  ( )

Pan, H.B., Gao, F., Lin, X.F., WARREN, A. & Song, W.B. 2013. Three New Loxophyllum Species (Ciliophora: Pleurostomatida) from China with a Brief Review of the Marine and Brackish Loxophyllum Species. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology, 60(1): 44-56.  ( )

Pawlowski, J., Audic, S., Adl, S., BASS, D., Belbahri, L., BERNEY, C., Bowser, S.S., Cepicka, I., Decelle, J., Dunthorn, M., Fiore-Donno, A.M., Gile, G.H., Holzmann, M., Jahn, R., Jirku, M., Keeling, P.J., Kostka, M., Kudryavtsev, A., Lara, E., Lukes, J., Mann, D.G., Mitchell, E.A.D., Nitsche, F., Romeralo, M., Saunders, G.W., Simpson, A.G.B., Smirnov, A.V., Spouge, J.L., Stern, R.F., Stoeck, T., Zimmermann, J., Schindel, D. & de Vargas, C. 2012. CBOL Protist Working Group: Barcoding Eukaryotic Richness beyond the Animal, Plant, and Fungal Kingdoms. Plos Biology, 10(11): Article no. e1001419. ( )

Xu, H.L., Jiang, Y., Zhang, W., Zhu, M.Z., Al-Rasheid, K.A.S. & WARREN, A. 2013. Annual variations in body-size spectra of planktonic ciliate communities and their relationships to environmental conditions: a case study in Jiaozhou Bay, northern China. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 93(1): 47-55.  ( )





Chen, B., HARBACH, R.E., Walton, C., He, Z.B., Zhong, D.B., Yan, G.Y. & Butlin, R.K. 2012. Population genetics of the malaria vector Anopheles aconitus in China and Southeast Asia. Infection Genetics and Evolution, 12(8): 1958-1967.  ( )

DANABALAN, R., Ponsonby, D.J. & LINTON, Y.M. 2012. A critical assessment of available molecular identification tools for determining the status of Culex pipiens s.l. in the United Kingdom. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, 28(4): 68-74. 

Gasser, R.B., Jabbar, A., Mohandas, N., Schnyder, M., Deplazes, P., LITTLEWOOD, D.T.J. & Jex, A.R. 2012. Mitochondrial genome of Angiostrongylus vasorum: Comparison with congeners and implications for studying the population genetics and epidemiology of this parasite. Infection Genetics and Evolution, 12(8): 1884-1891.  ( )

HARBACH, R.E. 2012. Culex pipiens: species versus species complex - taxonomic history and perspective. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, 28(4): 10-23. 

KNOPP, S., Mohammed, K.A., Ali, S.M., Khamis, I.S., Ame, S.M., Albonico, M., GOUVRAS, A., Fenwick, A., Savioli, L., Colley, D.G., Utzinger, J., Person, B. & ROLLINSON, D. 2012. Study and implementation of urogenital schistosomiasis elimination in Zanzibar (Unguja and Pemba islands) using an integrated multidisciplinary approach. Bmc Public Health, 12.  ( )

RICHARDS, C.S., ROWLINSON, C.C., CUTTIFORD, L., Grimsley, R. & HALL, M.J.R. 2013. Decomposed liver has a significantly adverse affect on the development rate of the blowfly Calliphora vicina. International Journal of Legal Medicine, 127(1): 259-262. 

( )

RICHARDS, C.S., ROWLINSON, C.C. & HALL, M.J.R. 2013. Effects of storage temperature on the change in size of Calliphora vicina larvae during preservation in 80% ethanol. International Journal of Legal Medicine, 127(1): 231-241.  ( )





Kelly, L.J., Leitch, A.R., Clarkson, J.J., KNAPP, S. & Chase, M.W. 2013. Reconstructing the complex evolutionary origin of wild allopolyploid tobaccos (Nicotiana section Suaveolentes). Evolution, 67(1): 80-94.  ( )

ELLIS, L.T. 2012. Typification of Dawsonia polytrichoides R.Br. (Musci, Polytrichaceae). Journal of Bryology, 34: 296-U7.  ( )

ELLIS, L.T., Bednarek-Ochyra, H., Ochyra, R., Cykowska, B., Dulin, M.V., Ezer, T., Kara, R., Flores, J.R., Suarez, G.M., Garcia, C., Martins, A., Sergio, C., Garilleti, R., Kirmaci, M., Agcagil, E., Kurbatova, L.E., Lebouvier, M., Papp, B., Szurdoki, E., Philippov, D.A., Plasek, V., Pocs, T., Sabovljevic, M., Sawicki, J., Sim-Sim, M., Szuecs, P., Bidlo, A., Vana, J., Vigalondo, B., Lara, F., Draper, I., Virchenko, V.M. & Wolski, G.J. 2012. New national and regional bryophyte records, 33. Journal of Bryology, 34: 281-291.  (





CAMERON, R.A.D., Triantis, K.A., Parent, C.E., Guilhaumon, F., Alonso, M.R., Ibanez, M., Martins, A.M.D., Ladle, R.J. & Whittaker, R.J. 2013. Snails on oceanic islands: testing the general dynamic model of oceanic island biogeography using linear mixed effect models. Journal of Biogeography, 40(1): 117-130. ( )

HANSSON, C. & Shevtsova, E. 2012. Revision of the European species of Omphale Haliday (Hymenoptera, Chalcidoidea, Eulophidae). Zookeys(232): 1-157.  ( )

Mironov, V.G. & GALSWORTHY, A.C. 2012. A generic level review of Eupithecia Curtis and some closely related genera based on the Palaearctic, Nearctic and Oriental fauna (Lepidoptera, Geometridae, Larentiinae). Zootaxa(3587): 46-64.  

Rougerie, R., Haxaire, J., KITCHING, I.J. & Hebert, P.D.N. 2012. DNA barcodes and morphology reveal a hybrid hawkmoth in Tahiti (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae). Invertebrate Systematics, 26(5-6): 445-450.  ( )

SHUBERT, E. 2012. Use and misuse of the Impact Factor. Systematics and Biodiversity, 10(4): 391-394.  ( )

TENNENT, W.J. & Rawlins, A. 2012. A new Jamides Huebner, 1819 from the islands of North Maluku, Indonesia (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae). Nachrichten des Entomologischen Vereins Apollo, 33(2-3): 139-141.  

Wang, R.-R., WEBB, M.D. & Liang, A.-P. 2012. Review of Lavora Muir (Hemiptera: Fulgoromorpha: Tropiduchidae) with descriptions of two new species from Solomon Islands. Insect Systematics & Evolution, 43(3-4): 299-319.  ( )





BRITZ, R., Ali, A., Philip, S., Kumar, K. & Raghavan, R. 2012. First record from the wild of Carinotetraodon imitator in Peninsular India (Teleostei: Tetraodontiformes: Tetraodontidae). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, 23(2): 105-109. 

Helgen, K.M., PORTELA-MIGUEZ, R., Kohen, J.L. & Helgen, L.E. 2012. Twentieth century occurrence of the Long-Beaked Echidna Zaglossus bruijnii in the Kimberley region of Australia. Zookeys(255): 103-132.  ( )

HU, X., Huang, J. & WARREN, A. 2012. The morphology and phylogeny of two euplotid ciliates, Diophrys blakeneyensis spec. nov and Diophrys oligothrix Borror, 1965 (Protozoa, Ciliophora, Euplotida). International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, 62: 2757-2773.   ( )

Kotharambath, R., WILKINSON, M., Oommen, O.V., George, S., Nussbaum, R.A. & GOWER, D.J. 2012. On the systematics, distribution and conservation status of Ichthyophis longicephalus Pillai, 1986 (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Ichthyophiidae). Journal of Natural History, 46(47-48): 2935-2959.  ( )





Chalar, C., Salome, M., Senorale-Pose, M., Marin, M., WILLIAMS, C.T. & Dauphin, Y. 2013. A high resolution analysis of the structure and chemical composition of the calcareous corpuscles from Mesocestoides corti. Micron, 44: 185-192.  ( )

Dauphin, Y., BALL, A.D., Castillo-Michel, H., Chevallard, C., Cuif, J.-P., Farre, B., Pouvreau, S. & Salome, M. 2013. In situ distribution and characterization of the organic content of the oyster shell Crassostrea gigas (Mollusca, Bivalvia). Micron, 44: 373-383 ( )

Oliveira, S.S., Amorim, D.d.S. & BLAGODEROV, V. 2012. Redescription of the enigmatic Thoracotropis cypriformis Freeman (Diptera, Mycetophilidae). Revista Brasileira De Entomologia, 56(4): 458-462. 

Price, M.C., KEARSLEY, A.T. & Burchell, M.J. 2013. Validation of the Preston-Tonks-Wallace strength model at strain rates approaching similar to 10(11) s(-1) for Al-1100, tantalum and copper using hypervelocity impact crater morphologies. International Journal of Impact Engineering, 52: 1-10.  ( )

Schmahl, W.W., Griesshaber, E., Kelm, K., Goetz, A., Jordan, G., BALL, A., Xu, D.Y., Merkel, C. & Brand, U. 2012. Hierarchical structure of marine shell biomaterials: biomechanical functionalization of calcite by brachiopods. Zeitschrift Fur Kristallographie, 227(11): 793-804.  ( )

Siidra, O.I., Krivovichev, S.V., Turner, R.W., RUMSEY, M.S. & SPRATT, J. 2013. Crystal chemistry of layered Pb oxychloride minerals with PbO-related structures: Part I. Crystal structure of hereroite, Pb32O20(O,square) (AsO4)(2) (Si,As,V,Mo)O-4 (2)Cl-10. American Mineralogist, 98(1): 248-255.  ( )

Siidra, O.I., Krivovichev, S.V., Turner, R.W., RUMSEY, M.S. & SPRATT, J. 2013. Crystal chemistry of layered Pb oxychloride minerals with PbO-related structures: Part II. Crystal structure of vladkrivovichevite, Pb32O18 Pb4Mn2O Cl-14(BO3)(8)center dot 2H(2)O. American Mineralogist, 98(1): 256-261.  ( )

ZAITSEV, A.N., WILLIAMS, C.T., WALL, F. & Zolotarev, A.A. 2012. Evolution of chemical composition of pyrochlore group minerals from phoscorites and carbonatites of the Khibina alkaline massif. Geology of Ore Deposits, 54(7): 503-515.  ( )


The great majority of the more than 400 families of snails are found only in the sea, while about 5% of them are exclusively freshwater. Very few snail groups are common in both environments and just three marine families have rare freshwater members.


One of these is the Littorinidae (periwinkles), familiar from rocky shores. In the nineteenth century three freshwater periwinkle species (genus Cremnoconchus) were discovered in the mountainous Western Ghats of India, living in fast-flowing streams at altitudes between 300 and 1400 m. These have not been studied for over 100 years.


Cremnoconchus.JPGFigure from the original description of Cremnoconchus (images 1-7) Image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library.


In a collaboration with scientists from the NHM's partner organisation the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bangalore, David Reid revisited the type localities of the three known species to collect new specimens. (The type locality is the place in which the reference specimen was found that was originally used to describe and name the species.) These were studied to find out more about the snails and allowed the relationships between the species to be investigagted in more detail and revised.  There are distinctive differences between the species particularly in terms of their radula (the rasping tongue of snails), their reproductive systems and the calcified operculum (the disc that fits into the shell opening when the snail retreats into the shell, providing additional protection from predators and desiccation).


In addition, an unknown radiation of six new Cremnoconchus species was discovered in the central Western Ghats, 500 km south of the previously known range where David and his collaborators looked at the known species.


Cremnoconchus is interesting in evolutionary terms: the current evidence suggests that its closest living relatives are marine snails found only in New Zealand and Australia, suggesting that the ancestral population was split by the breakup of the ancient continent Gondwana during the Cretaceous, between 145 and 65 million years ago.  However, more evidence and DNA studies would be needed to confirm this hypothesis.

Each of the six new species was restricted to a single stream system on the steep western escarpment of the Deccan Plateau, with limited overlap in distribution in two places.  This suggests that populations of ancestral species were isolated by waterfalls or other features allowing evolutionary divergence over time The habitat of these snails is fragile, being very limited in scale and threatened by tourism, road construction and domestic pollution: all the species are judged to be endangered.


Reid, D.G., Aravind, N.A. & Madhyastha, N.A. (2013) A unique radiation of marine littorinid snails in the freshwater streams of the Western Ghats of India: the genus Cremnoconchus W.T. Blanford, 1869 (Gastropoda: Littorinidae). Zoological  Journal of the Linnean Society. 167: 93-135.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1096-3642.2012.00875.x


Studying new minerals: the nature and value of novelty - Dr Mark Welch (NHM).  Tuesday 26th March 2013, 1600h, Earth Sciences Seminar Room


The geological history of the Earth over the past 4.5 billion years has seen immense diversity in the physical and chemical conditions in the crust.  In these various conditions, different minerals form and for many years a significant part of Museum research undertaken by the Department of Earth Sciences has been the identification and characterisation of minerals new to science. Characterisation of minerals involves a comprehensive determination of atomic-scale structure, composition and diagnostic physical properties using both traditional techniques and advanced analytical equipment.


Apart from their novelty, new minerals offer the chance to develop models of structural hierarchies in which major building principles are uncovered by relating these minerals to others. Time and again new minerals provide insights into perplexing mineralogical problems that often bear upon wider geological or technological issues, such as the possibilities for effective storage or immobilisation of toxic elements, transformations between environmentally radical and benign minerals, or new directions for preparing new synthetic analogues of technological materials such as nanoporous and microporous catalysts and molecular sieves.


In this talk an outline of the new-mineral research currently undertaken will be given, describing the experimental techniques involved in characterising new minerals. A few examples illustrating how the study of new minerals has provided fertile ground for wider scientific research will be described.


For additional details on attending this or other seminars see


Collection Management Seminar

Posted by C Lowry Mar 14, 2013


Updates from Touring Exhibitions and the Central Hall Redevelopment teams


Wednesday 20th March 2013, 2.30pm-4.00pm


Neil Chalmers Science Seminar Room (Darwin Centre, Lower Ground 16), NHM, South Kensington



Gemma Levett, Operations Manager -Touring Exhibitions, Public Engagement Group, NHM.
Georgina Bishop, Interpretation Developer, Interpretation and Design and
Jennifer Flippance, Project Manager, Programme and Production Dept., Public Engagement Group, NHM.


What’s it about?


Touring Exhibitions
The NHM has been touring exhibitions to venues around the world for over 20 years. Traditionally these exhibitions have featured state of the art animatronic models and scientific information related to them. In addition to these exhibitions, more recently we have begun to produce and tour collections rich exhibitions. In this presentation Gemma will talk about the current exhibitions on tour, the policies and procedures for touring specimen driven exhibitions and the benefits of touring our collections and interpretation.


Redeveloping Central Hall
The museum is currently undertaking an exciting redevelopment of Central Hall that will transform this historic and much-loved space. New displays will excite and engage visitors, celebrating the natural world and creating an awareness of the depth of knowledge the Museums’ collections and scientists have brought to society.

The first phase, Treasures, opened in November 2012 and we’re now working towards the redevelopment of the First and Second Floor balconies. The Ground Floor will comprise the final phase.

This talk will outline the approach we are taking to working with Collections, selecting specimens and what we seek to achieve through the displays.

Who should come?
The seminar is open to all members of the museum, but 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 (


For additional details on attending this or other seminars see


Department of Life Sciences Seminars



The genomes of four tapeworm species reveal adaptations to parasitism


Magdalena Zarowiecki

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute


Wednesday 13 of March 11:00
Sir Neil Chalmers seminar room, Darwin Centre LG16 (below Attenborough studio)

Tapeworms cause debilitating neglected diseases that can be deadly and often require surgery due to ineffective drugs. Here I will present the first analysis of tapeworm genome sequences using the human-infective species Echinococcus multilocularis, E. granulosus, Taenia solium and the laboratory model Hymenolepis microstoma. The 114-120 megabase genomes offer insights into the evolution of parasitism. Synteny is maintained with distantly related blood flukes but we find extreme losses of genes and pathways ubiquitous in other animals, including 34 homeobox families and several determinants of stem cell fate. Also evident, tapeworms have species-specific expansions of non-canonical heat shock proteins and families of known antigens; specialised detoxification pathways, and metabolism finely tuned to rely on nutrients scavenged from their hosts. We identify new potential drug targets, including those on which existing pharmaceuticals may act.





Isomorphology and the Natural History Museum


Gemma Anderson

Artist/PhD Researcher, Falmouth University, Cornwall/ University of the Arts, London


Friday 15 of March 11:00
Sir Neil Chalmers seminar room, Darwin Centre LG16 (below Attenborough studio)

Isomorphology (a term which I have coined. Etymology, from Greek: Isos (‘Same/Equal’), Morphe (‘Form’), Logos (‘Study’)) is the comparative, drawing-based method of enquiry into the shared forms and symmetries of animal, mineral and vegetable morphologies. I will discuss how research and practice with the Natural History Museum collections has developed the concept of Isomorphology. The drawing process itself is intrinsic to the epistemological value of Isomorphology and can be understood through the following principles: Observation, Trained Judgment and Abstraction. Goethe’s (1749-1832) concepts of ‘Delicate Empiricism’ and of the ‘Ur-Phenomena’ are of particular relevance to the development of the concept of Isomorphology.

Incorporating both artistic and scientific methods, Isomorphology reaches beyond conventional scientific understanding, operating to liberate form from the confines of traditional scientific classification, and to abstract form and to relativize that abstraction. In developing the skill of abstract thinking it is possible to observe afresh, to form an individual understanding and to discover previously unperceived relations between objects. Isomorphology encourages both non-linear learning and ‘unlearning’, de-constructing inherited taxonomies in order to create new knowledge and new approaches. I will discuss how a series of Isomorphology workshops have developed a playful educational model of Isomorphology as a creative, drawing-based approach to encountering and learning about the natural world.

Through Isomorphology, I am arguing for qualitative dimensions to be recognized in scientific study, and for a creative practice which understands the natural world directly and intuitively, thereby strengthening our connection to nature. I am especially interested in feedback generated from this seminar and welcome your questions for further discussion.




For additional details on attending this or other seminars see


Michael Kuhlmann and colleagues have put the beta version of the “Checklist of Western Palaearctic Bees” online ( using the NHM-developed Scratchpads as a platform.


Bees are the most important pollinators worldwide and the checklist provides access to taxonomic information and distribution data on country level to about 3350 bee species in 102 genera in the western Palaearctic region, with almost 2000 species recorded for Europe alone. The site contains regularly updated information from both published and unpublished sources including data from a whole range of private and public collections that are provided by European wild bee experts. The checklist reflects the current state of knowledge on the taxonomy and distribution of western Palaearctic bees, making it a prime source of information not only for taxonomists but also ecologists and agricultural scientists.


The checklist project started in 2008 and it quickly became clear that taxonomic expertise is globally lacking for several genera and that this gap is likely to grow quickly due to the progressive ageing of the community of bee taxonomists . The places most heavily affected by the loss of taxonomic knowledge are the “hotspots” of species diversity and endemism around the Mediterranean, in Turkey and the Middle East. Unfortunately, these are the areas that are most likely to be heavily affected by climate and landscape change. For this reason it seems possible that most of the predicted changes and losses of unique fauna will go unnoticed.


IMG_0579.jpgBombus (Pyrobombus) pratorum, the early bumblebee on Pentaglottis sempervirens


The Parasites and Vectors division in Life Sciences  has been re-designated as the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Identification & Characterization of Schistosome Strains & their Snail Intermediate Hosts until December 2016.  This is in recognition of the importance of their work and expertise on Schistosoma species, the parasitic blood flukes that cause  the debilitating disease schistosomiasis, and is a good example of how the NHM contributes to the solution of global problems of health and wellbeing.


The group has had a  long-standing research focus on Schistosoma parasites, initially born from research on the molluscan (snail) intermediate  hosts and host-parasite interactions. Schistosomes have a two-host life cycle  involving an intermediate snail host and a definitive vertebrate host. The  relationship between the schistosomes and the snail is such that precise  identifications of both are required in order to understand the transmission  and the epidemiology of the disease. By researching the factors involved in Schistosoma parasite - snail host infection dynamics, the  team can provide expert advice to countries affected by schistosomiasis.


What is schistosomiasis?  A staggering number of people are infected by  schistosomes, over 200 million people worldwide with over 700 million people at  risk of infection. It is a disease of low socio-economic status, affecting the  poorest communities and most neglected, vulnerable people; it is therefore  classified as a neglected tropical disease (NTD). Infants and children are  especially prone to infection and the damage caused by schistosomes can lead to  blood in urine, painful urination, diarrhoea, bloody stool, anaemia, stunted  growth, enlarged liver and spleen, bladder and liver damage. In certain cases  early childhood infections can lead to bladder cancer and liver fibrosis in  adulthood. Over 90% of infected  people live in sub-Saharan Africa, and the NHM team concentrates its research  efforts in areas such as Tanzania, Niger and Senegal, working with teams in  country to help find better solutions to reduce the impact of this debilitating  disease.


Research at the NHM - The group at the Museum  is involved in a number of collaborations with research organisations here and  overseas:


  • SCORE -  The Schistosomiasis  Consortium for Operational Research and Evaluation (SCORE), funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates  Foundation aims to aid national control programs by defining the best intervention  methods and cost effective strategies for schistosomiasis control in  sub-Saharan Africa. Part of the research undertaken at the NHM monitors the  impact of Praziquantel (the only oral drug effective in treating all forms of schistosomiasis  in sub-Saharan Africa), on parasite populations, in order to monitor for the  potential development of drug resistance.
  • SCAN -  The Museum, with funding from the Wellcome Trust, has set up a rapidly  expanding schistosome repository called SCAN (Schistosomiasis Collection at the  NHM) which preserves and documents schistosome samples collected from Africa in  order to provide material for researchers both within and outside the Museum.  
  • ZEST -  ZEST (Zanzibar  Elimination of Schistosomiasis Transmission) is being led collaboratively by  the Zanzibar Ministry of Health and the Museum’s David Rollinson (funded by  SCORE), director of the NHM -WHO collaborating Centre. This ambitious programme  is attempting to eliminate schistosomiasis – the first time in a sub-Saharan  African country.


London Centre for  Neglected Tropical Disease Research - The Museum is also a  founding member of the new London Centre for Neglected Tropical Disease  Research, launched on the 30 January 2013 in collaboration with the London School  of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Imperial College. This important new  initiative is a valuable step forward as it brings together world-class skills  and expertise to answer important research questions concerning the biology and  control of neglected tropical diseases in partnership with governments, the  private sector, academic institutions and other key NTD centres.



Ian Owens
Director of Science


Department of Life Sciences Seminars



The New Forest Quantitative Inventory – update and future prospects


Paul Eggleton

Terrestrial Invertebrates, Dept.of Life Sciences, NHM


Wednesday 6 of March 11:00
Sir Neil Chalmers seminar room, Darwin Centre LG16 (below Attenborough studio)


The New Forest is a UK biodiversity hotspot with habitats of European-wide importance. These include substantial pasture woodlands and wet and dry heathland. A large amount of inventory-style research has been conducted in the national park, but biodiversity patterns have seldom been explored in a quantitative way across the whole landscape. We set out to address this deficit by investigating quantitative multi-taxon biodiversity patterns in as comprehensive as way as possible. This work began in 2010 and was a cross-departmental programme involving scientists from Entomology, Botany, Zoology and Mineralogy. It built on the now 11-year continuous soil and litter sampling programme undertaken by the Soil Biodiversity Group. Numerous taxonomic groups were studied but not all of the identification and analysis work has been completed for all those groups. In this talk Paul will specifically discuss the results of the soil/litter macrofauna and tree lichen research and place the work in a broader UK context, examining what they tells us about temporal, spatial and environmental drivers of UK biodiversity. The work confirms the importance of the National Park as a UK biodiversity hotspot as well as recognising several threats to that biodiversity both from management interventions and potentially from climate change. 




The section Glareosae of the genus Carex (Cyperaceae) as a model for evolutionary studies in angiosperms


Enrique Maguilla Salado

PhD Student, Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemical Engineering, Pablo de Olavide University, Seville, Spain


Friday 8 of March 11:00
Sir Neil Chalmers seminar room, Darwin Centre LG16 (below Attenborough studio)


The causes of the abrupt diversification of angiosperms from the Cretaceous have been in debate since the origin of the evolution’s theory in order to explain Darwin’s "Abominable Mystery." The genus Carex, with over 2.000 species, is the most diverse among flowering plants and the largest in number of species in the temperate northern hemisphere. The present review compiles much of the bibliographic information available to date about Carex section Glareosae (ca. 25 spp.) to show that gathers a number of features that make it a good model for studies in systematics and evolution of flowering plants. Based on (1) the problematic taxonomy, which has been demonstrated in several taxonomic treatments, and also the controversial about the consideration of species, subspecies or varieties, (2) the different patterns of distribution (endemic, bipolar, etc..) and the different ecological requirements of each species, and (3) the cytogenetic variability at inter- and intraspecific level, we conclude that this group of species is a good model for researching the causes of speciation or drivers of evolution and speciation in flowering plants. Furthermore, these studies can help us in understanding the origin of the current biodiversity of the Earth and how to protect it.




For additional details on attending this or other seminars see