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Science News

2 Posts tagged with the science tag



Conservation of reef corals of the world: why phylogeny matters

Danwei Huang

Postdoctoral scholar, University of Iowa


Friday 18 October 11:00
Sir Neil Chalmers seminar room, Darwin Centre LG16 (below Attenborough studio)

One third of the world's reef-building corals are facing heightened extinction risk from anthropogenic climate change and local impacts. Extinction probabilities aside, species are not equal. Rather, evolutionary processes render each species, or species assemblage in general, unique with a distinctive history that can be characterised for conservation. My research is aimed at quantifying these patterns based on a robust understanding of the coral tree of life. In this talk, I will show that it is critical to consider species' contribution to evolutionary diversity in conjunction with their extinction risk when setting priorities to safeguard biodiversity.


My analyses identify the most endangered lineages that would not be given top priority on the basis of risk alone, and further demonstrate that corals susceptible to impacts such as bleaching and disease tend to be close relatives. One of Earth's most threatened reef regions, the Coral Triangle, is also famously the most biodiverse. While competing ideas are plentiful, the dynamics underlying this biogeographic pattern remain poorly understood. Phylogenetic modelling adds a valuable dimension to these explanations, and can help us uncover the evolutionary processes that have shaped coral richness in the hotspot. Indeed, conservation of the world's reef corals requires protecting the historical sources of diversity, particularly the evolutionarily distinct species and the drivers of its geographic diversity gradient.


For additional details on attending this or other seminars see


Collection Management Seminar



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



April Carlucci

Library and Archives, NHM


Thursday 23rd February 2012

Flett Lecture Theatre, NHM, South Kensington




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


The seminar is open to all NHM staff  and we also welcome colleagues from other institutions who would find the seminar of interest. There is no booking fee and only large parties need to notify the organiser for catering purposes.

Tea and coffee will be available in the seminar room lobby area after the talk.


Suggestions for seminar speakers are always most welcome. Please contact the organiser Clare Valentine (


For additional details on attending this or other seminars see