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3 Posts tagged with the nhm_science tag



Unravelling global warming through soil mineralogy: A case study from a proglacial valley in the Swiss Alps


Dr Christian Mavris, Marie Curie Fellow (ES, NHM)


Tuesday 10th February - 4.00 pm


Earth Sciences Seminar Room (Basement, WEB 05, the previous Mineralogy Seminar Room)


Investigations in Alpine soils indicate that mineral weathering is much faster in ‘young’ soils (<1000 yr) than in ‘old’ soils (~10,000 yr). However, little is known about the initial stages of weathering and soil formation, i.e. during the first decades of soil genesis. Due to the continuous retreat of the Morteratsch glacier (Upper Engadine, Swiss Alps), the proglacial area offers a full time sequence from 0 to 150 yr old surfaces. The area is well documented regarding vegetation and soils.


The glacial till has an acidic character (granitoid parent rock). Mineralogical measurements were carried out using a broad range of analytical approaches, from XRD to wet chemistry to cathodoluminescence and Nomarski DIC microscopy. Specifically, cathodoluminescence and Nomarski DIC microscopy were used for the first time on minerals involved into an early pedogenic process.


This work clearly demonstrates that in cryic, ice-free environments, chemical weathering rates are high, leading to the formation and transformation of minerals. This clearly influences pedogenic processes to a remarkable extent – and thus, is linked to the settlement of life in previously deglaciated (and extreme) areas.



More information on attending seminars at


Recent NHM Research Publications

Posted by C Lowry Jan 24, 2012

Publications for last 4 weeks (Search done on 12th January.)


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



Davis, A.P., TOSH, J., Ruch, N. & Fay, M.F. 2011. Growing coffee: Psilanthus (Rubiaceae) subsumed on the basis of molecular and morphological data; implications for the size, morphology, distribution and evolutionary history of Coffea. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 167(4): 357-377.  [Externally funded]


Fiz-Palacios, O., SCHNEIDER, H., Heinrichs, J. & Savolainen, V. 2011. Diversification of land plants: insights from a family-level phylogenetic analysis. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 11.  [Core funded]

GUEIDAN, C., THUS, H. & Perez-Ortega, S. 2011. Phylogenetic position of the brown algae-associated lichenized fungus Verrucaria tavaresiae (Verrucariaceae). Bryologist, 114(3): 563-569.  [Core funded]


HAWKSWORTH, D.L. 2011. Biodiversity and conservation of insects and other invertebrates. Biodiversity and Conservation, 20(13): 2863-2866.  [Scientific Associate]


KNAPP, S., McNeill, J. & Turland, N.J. 2011. Changes to publication requirements made at the XVIII International Botanical Congress in Melbourneuwhat does e-publication mean for you? Cladistics, 27(6): 653-656.  [Core funded]


Souffreau, C., Verbruggen, H., Wolfe, A.P., Vanormelingen, P., Siver, P.A., COX, E.J., Mann, D.G., Van de Vijver, B., Sabbe, K. & Vyverman, W. 2011. A time-calibrated multi-gene phylogeny of the diatom genus Pinnularia. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 61(3): 866-879.  [Core funded/Scientific Associate]


Wei, Y.G., MONRO, A.K. & Wang, W.T. 2011. Additions to the Flora of China: seven new species of Elatostema (Urticaceae) from the karst landscapes of Guangxi and Yunnan. Phytotaxa, 29: 1-27.  [Core funded]




BLACKMAN, R.L., Sorin, M. & Miyazaki, M. 2011. Sexual morphs and colour variants of Aphis (formerly Toxoptera) odinae (Hemiptera, Aphididae) in Japan. Zootaxa(3110): 53-60.  [Scientific Associate]


Castillo, C., Saaksjarvi, I.E., Bennett, A.M.R. & BROAD, G.R. 2011. First record of Acaenitinae (Hymenoptera, Ichneumonidae) from South America with description of a new species and a key to the world species of Arotes Gravenhorst. Zookeys(137): 77-88.  [Core funded]


KUHLMANN, M., Gess, F.W., Koch, F. & Gess, S.K. 2011. Southern African osmiine bees: taxonomic notes, two new species, a key to Wainia, and biological observations (Hymenoptera: Anthophila: Megachilidae). Zootaxa(3108): 1-24.  [Core funded]


Sorokina, V.S. & PONT, A.C. 2011. Fanniidae and Muscidae (Insecta, Diptera) associated with burrows of the Altai Mountains Marmot (Marmota baibacina baibacina Kastschenko, 1899) in Siberia, with the description of new species. Zootaxa(3118): 31-44.  [Scientific Associate]




KNIGHT, K.S. 2011. Structural and thermoelastic study of the protonic conducting perovskite SrCe(0.95)Yb(0.05)O(xi) (xi similar to 3) between 373 K and 1273 K. Journal of Electroceramics, 27(3-4): 143-153.  [Scientific Associate]


McKeown, N.K., Bishop, J.L., CUADROS, J., Hillier, S., Amador, E., Makarewicz, H.D., Parente, M. & Silver, E.A. 2011. Interpretation of reflectance spectra of clay mineral-silica mixtures: implications for Martian clay mineralogy at Mawrth Vallis. Clays and Clay Minerals, 59(4): 400-415.  [Core funded]


STEELE, R.C.J., Elliott, T., Coath, C.D. & Regelous, M. 2011. Confirmation of mass-independent Ni isotopic variability in iron meteorites. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 75(24): 7906-7925.  [PhD student]




Hutchinson, J.R., DELMER, C., Miller, C.E., Hildebrandt, T., Pitsillides, A.A. & Boyde, A. 2011. From Flat Foot to Fat Foot: Structure, Ontogeny, Function, and Evolution of Elephant "Sixth Toes". Science, 334(6063): 1699-1703.  [Core funded]


Nitsch, E.K., HUMPHREY, L.T. & Hedges, R.E.M. 2011. Using Stable Isotope Analysis to Examine the Effect of Economic Change on Breastfeeding Practices in Spitalfields, London, UK. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 146(4): 619-628.  [Core funded]


Paterson, J.R., Garcia-Bellido, D.C., Lee, M.S.Y., Brock, G.A., Jago, J.B. & EDGECOMBE, G.D. 2011. Acute vision in the giant Cambrian predator Anomalocaris and the origin of compound eyes. Nature, 480(7376): 237-240.  [Core funded]


TAYLOR, P.D. & Zagorsek, K. 2011. Operculate cyclostome bryozoans (Eleidae) from the Bohemian Cretaceous. Palaeontologische Zeitschrift, 85(4): 407-432.  [Core funded]


Waisfeld, B.G., Vaccari, N.E., EDGECOMBE, G.D. & Chatterton, B.D.E. 2011. The upper ordovician trinucleid trilobite bancroftolithus from the Precordillera of Argentina. Journal of Paleontology, 85(6): 1160-1180.  [Core funded]




Bohlen, J., Slechtova, V., Tan, H.H. & BRITZ, R. 2011. Phylogeny of the Southeast Asian freshwater fish genus Pangio (Cypriniformes, Cobitidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 61(3): 854-865.  [Core funded]


Breure, A.S.H. & ABLETT, J.D. 2011. Annotated type catalogue of the Amphibulimidae (Mollusca, Gastropoda, Orthalicoidea) in the Natural History Museum, London. Zookeys(138): 1-52.  [Core funded]


Fan, X.P., Lin, X.F., Al-Rasheid, K.A.S., Al-Farraj, S.A., WARREN, A. & Song, W.B. 2011. The Diversity of Scuticociliates (Protozoa, Ciliophora): a Report on Eight Marine Forms Found in Coastal Waters of China, with a Description of One New Species. Acta Protozoologica, 50(3): 219-234.  [Core funded]


HAYES, P.M., Wertheim, D.F., Smit, N.J., Seddon, A.M. & Davies, A.J. 2011. Three-dimensional visualisation of developmental stages of an apicomplexan fish blood parasite in its invertebrate host. Parasites & Vectors, 4.  [Core funded?]


HIGGS, N.D., GLOVER, A.G., Dahlgren, T.G. & Little, C.T.S. 2011. Bone-Boring Worms: Characterizing the Morphology, Rate, and Method of Bioerosion by Osedax mucofloris (Annelida, Siboglinidae). Biological Bulletin, 221(3): 307-316.  [PhD student, Core funded]


MORTON, B. & Dinesen, G.E. 2011. The biology and functional morphology of Modiolarca subpicta (Bivalvia: Mytilidae: Musculinae), epizoically symbiotic with Ascidiella aspersa (Urochordata: Ascidiacea), from the Kattegat, northern Jutland, Denmark. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 91(8): 1637-1649.  [Scientific Associate]


MORTON, B., Peharda, M. & Petric, M. 2011. Functional morphology of Rocellaria dubia (Bivalvia: Gastrochaenidae) with new interpretations of crypt formation and adventitious tube construction, and a discussion of evolution within the family. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 104(4): 786-804.  [Scientific Associate]


Qin, Y.H., Qiu, Z.J., Shao, C., WARREN, A. & Shen, Z. 2011. Morphological Redescription and Morphogenesis of Urosoma macrostyla (Wrzesniowski, 1866) Berger, 1999 (Ciliophora, Hypotrichida). Acta Protozoologica, 50(3): 163-174.  [Core funded]


RIDDIFORD, N. & OLSON, P.D. 2011. Wnt gene loss in flatworms. Development Genes and Evolution, 221(4): 187-197.  [Unknown & Core funded]


Rijsdijk, K.F., Zinke, J., de Louw, P.G.B., HUME, J.P., van der Plicht, H., Hooghiemstra, H., Meijer, H.J.M., Vonhof, H.B., Porch, N., Florens, F.B.V., Baider, C., van Geel, B., Brinkkemper, J., Vernimmen, T. & Janoo, A. 2011. Mid-Holocene (4200 kyr BP) mass mortalities in Mauritius (Mascarenes): Insular vertebrates resilient to climatic extremes but vulnerable to human impact. Holocene, 21(8): 1179-1194.  [Externally funded?]


Ronowicz, M., Wiodarska-Kowalczuk, M. & KUKLINSKI, P. 2011. Patterns of hydroid (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa) species richness and distribution in an Arctic glaciated fjord. Polar Biology, 34(10): 1437-1445.  [Scientific Associate]


Xu, Y., Esaulov, A., Lin, X.F., Mazei, Y., HU, X.Z., Al-Rasheid, K.A.S. & WARREN, A. 2011. Morphological Studies on Five Trachelocercids from the Yellow Sea Coast of China, with a Description of Tracheloraphis huangi spec. nov (Ciliophora, Karyorelictea). Acta Protozoologica, 50(3): 205-218.  [Externally funded, Core funded]


Xu, Y., Li, J.M., Gao, F., HU, X.Z. & Al-Rasheid, K.A.S. 2011. Apotrachelocerca arenicola (Kahl, 1933) n. g., comb. n. (Protozoa, Ciliophora, Trachelocercidae): Morphology and Phylogeny. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology, 58(6): 504-510.  [Externally funded]


The NHM has a strong record in scientific research on parasitic worms, particularly evolution and identification, with wide international collaboration.  Parasitic worms can cause serious health effects in humans and other organisms, so scientific understanding is essential for effective control.


The research groups produce many scientific papers every year, but two produced in 2008 have just been recognised as being especially influential in the subject, having been mentioned ("cited") most frequently as being of importance by other scientists in their publications.


Dr Peter Olson (Zoology) recently received recognition for the “Top Cited Article 2008-2010” from Parasitology International for an invited review paper on Hox genes and parasitic flatworms. (Hox genes control part of the sequence of development of animals from egg to adult) The paper reviews the history of work on Hox genes in the phylum Platyhelminthes, introduces new data from the model tapeworm Hymenolepis, and sets the stage for how the study of developmental genes can inform a series of outstanding questions in the evolution of the parasitic forms.


Olson PD. 2008. Hox genes and the parasitic flatworms: New opportunities, challenges and lessons from the free-living. Parasitology International 57, 8-17.


Dr Rod Bray (Scientific Associate Zoology) is similarly an author on the Top Cited Article 2008-2010, this time in the International Journal for Parasitology. The paper presents the accumulated evidence for a major change in the classifiation of the orders of the Class Cestoda (tapeworms).


The old order Pseudophyllidea, which included tetrapod parasites, such as the common human tapeworm Diphyllobothrium latum, and fish parasites, such as the freshwater pest species Bothriocephalus acheilognathi, is separated into two orders. The fish parasites are included in the order Bothriocephalidae and the tetrapod parasites now make up the order Diphyllobothriidea. These groups have long been thought to be distinct - but closely related - and probably monophyletic (arising from one common evolutionary ancestor). 


However, classifications based on molecular data (DNA) from several sources indicate that these groups are polyphyletic (arising from several different evolutionary origins, and therefore not a natural group in evolutionary terms). The conclusion from the molecular results has been backed up by both new and previously reported morphological and biological information. Latest evidence suggests that the Diphyllobothriidea is closest to the unsegmented ‘primitive’ tapeworms, but the Bothriocephalidea is sister to the ‘higher’ tapeworm orders.

Kuchta, R., Scholz, T., Brabec, J. and Bray, R.A. (2008). Suppression of the tapeworm order Pseudophyllidea (Platyhelminthes: Eucestoda) and the proposal of two new orders, Bothriocephalidea and Diphyllobothriidea. International Journal for Parasitology, 38, 49-55. doi:10.1016/j.ijpara.2007.08.005.