Biodiversity biobanks: an invaluable resource for the future

By Samantha Luciano

Biodiversity biobanks are less well known than their biomedical counterparts, but they represent an invaluable asset for meeting the global health and environmental challenges of our century. Whether they are home to animal, plant or micro-organism collections, these infrastructures contribute to research and development in many fields, including medical and veterinary treatments, breeding and reproduction, environment and conservation, agro-industry and biotechnology.

The major advantage of biodiversity biobanks is the variety of samples and taxa present in these collections: tissues, fluids, whole specimens, cell cultures, DNA or RNA from most of the vertebrate and invertebrate species on our planet.

Continue reading “Biodiversity biobanks: an invaluable resource for the future”

Highlighting Histories: Women in Exploration

A photograph of a statue of Gudrid-Thorbjarnardottir

Published by Leonie Biggenden on behalf of Learning Volunteer & Women in Science Tour Guide Joanna Tindall

As a taster for the free NHM Women in Science Tours, Learning Volunteers will be sharing blogs on some pioneering women of science.  We can learn more about them, their work and share some information about the Museum’s displays and cutting-edge science.  Our second venture looks at three great and inspirational women explorers.

Continue reading “Highlighting Histories: Women in Exploration”

Why does data management have a crucial role in a biodiversity collection?

a red squirrel eats a nut on the forest floor

Data management is a broad term. Here, Samantha Luciano, a second-year student of the MSc Biobanks & Complex Data Management of the Côte d’Azur University in France, talks about what it means in the context of a biodiversity collection. What is data? What is it used for? In what form(s) is it found? What do we do with it?

Continue reading “Why does data management have a crucial role in a biodiversity collection?”

Introducing Big Seaweed Search Mexico! | Community Science

I’m Jess Wardlaw, Community Science Programme Developer at the Museum. I’m excited to be working together with my Museum colleagues, Juliet Brodie, Lucy Robinson and Ana Benavides Lahnstein, on a new international partnership project funded by the British Academy’s Knowledge Frontiers programme.

Alongside partners at the University of Greenwich’s Natural Resources Institute (NRI) and the Escuela Nacional de Estudios Superiores (ENES) from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), in Merida, Mexico, we are excited to be taking our Big Seaweed Search community science project to new shorelines…Mexico’s Caribbean and Yucatán coasts, which are part of the Yucatán Peninsula!

Continue reading “Introducing Big Seaweed Search Mexico! | Community Science”

Volunteers’ Week – My Experience as a NHM Learning Volunteer

Published by Leonie on behalf of Learning Volunteer Clare Green

When I was younger, going to the Natural History Museum with my family or on a school trip was always an exciting experience. Certain memories have stuck in my mind—having to be taken away, crying, from the animatronic T.rex because it was too scary, being fascinated at the size of the blue whale in the Whale Hall, or ascending with anticipation into the Earth through the escalator. These memories have remained with me into adulthood, eliciting a sense that I wouldn’t feel the same kind of excitement I had done when I was young.

How wrong I was! On my very first day as a Learning Volunteer, I realised that the excitement I’d felt as a kid was ready to bubble to the surface again.

Continue reading “Volunteers’ Week – My Experience as a NHM Learning Volunteer”

Highlighting Histories: Women in Science – Mary Mantell

Published by Leonie on behalf of Learning Volunteer & Women in Science Tour Guide Alex Holding

As a taster for the free NHM Women in Science Tours, Learning Volunteers will be sharing blogs on some pioneering women of science.  We can learn more about them, their work and share some information about the Museum’s displays and cutting-edge science.  Our first venture is Mary Mantell.

Mary Mantell was an active amateur fossil hunter in the nineteenth century. Arguably, she is less well known than her namesake Mary Anning.  Mantell’s reputation is also eclipsed by that of her husband Gideon Mantell, a medical doctor, renowned amateur geologist, and palaeontologist.

Continue reading “Highlighting Histories: Women in Science – Mary Mantell”

City Nature Challenge 2022: Results and Highlights | Community Science

A round of applause for everyone that took part in City Nature Challenge this year! Between 29 April and 2 May, over 300 community scientists across London recorded a grand total of 4,436 observations of 1,087 species! You can view everybody’s findings in the iNaturalist project.  

Thanks are also due to the 338 naturalists in London and around the world that helped to identify the observations made during City Nature Challenge, validating over half of the observations in London to research grade records. With their quality assurance, these records can be used for the study of global urban biodiversity and conservation efforts. 

Continue reading “City Nature Challenge 2022: Results and Highlights | Community Science”

Arabic and Persian plant names in the Codex Vindobonensis | Curator of Botany

The Codex Vindobonenis is a Byzantine compendium of pharmaceutical knowledge produced in around 512 C.E.. In this blog, Hanouf Al-Alawi and botany curator John Hunnex discuss their recent project examining the overlooked Arabic and Persian annotations on the plant descriptions included in the work.

Continue reading “Arabic and Persian plant names in the Codex Vindobonensis | Curator of Botany”