16 What lies beneath? | #NHM_Live

Come with us to the depths of the Museum basement this month for an exclusive peek at the Tank Room and meet some of the 22 million specimens stored in alcohol (or spirit), including a Greenland shark and Stanley the sturgeon.

Join Museum curators Oliver Crimmen, James Maclaine and Jeff Streicher to discover why we preserve some collections in spirit and how scientists are using them to study life on Earth.

 

Find out more about the oceans at http://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/oceans

This recording of #NHM_Live was broadcast on 13 June 2018. If you enjoyed this podcast please subscribe, rate and review in iTunes. We will be live every month. Join us on 11 July and find out about the animals that thrive in darkness.

A swarm of Madagascan moths to join our online collection| Digital Collections Programme

The Madagascan digitisation team, alongside the 5,700+ specimens digitised during this project.
The Madagascan digitisation team, From left to right: Phaedra Kokkini, David Lees, Alessandro Giusti, Alberto Zilli Geoff Martin, Peter Wing and Louise Allan.

We have finished imaging more than 5,700 Madagascan butterfly and moth (Lepidoptera) type specimens in the Museum’s collection. Continue reading “A swarm of Madagascan moths to join our online collection| Digital Collections Programme”

When poetry and BioBlitz collide… | Citizen Science

It’s BioBlitz,

The greatest hits,

Of nature amidst London’s bricks,

That’s BioBlitz…..

Yesterday and today, scientists and visitors are working together in the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Garden to record as many different plants, animals and fungi as possible.  If you’re visiting today, come and join us outside (near the Orange Zone) and get involved in guided walks and surveys, or grab a plastic pot and and identification guide and go bug hunting!

BioBlitzflowerlogoThese wildlife recording challenges are called BioBlitzes and we’ve run lots of them all over the UK over the past few years.  A couple of years ago, when I was working with my friend Maria from Greenspace Information for Greater London to run the Brompton Cemetery BioBlitz, she happened upon the Poetry Takeaway at the Roundhouse in Camden and had an amazing poet, Laurie Eaves, write a poem for her completely off the cuff, about BioBlitz.  It’s an awesome poem so I thought I’d share it here…enjoy!

BioBlitz

It’s BioBlitz,

The greatest hits,

Of nature amidst London’s bricks,

That’s BioBlitz.

It’s botanists,

And naturalists,

Who capture ants and plants on lists,

Continue reading “When poetry and BioBlitz collide… | Citizen Science”

Royal College of Surgeons and Natural History Museum forge new research and skills sharing partnership

The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) and the Natural History Museum (NHM) are pleased to announce that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for co-operation between the two organisations around research and skills sharing. The MoU will initially run until 2023, covering the period of the RCS’s major building re-development, Project Transform, and will include the Hunterian Museum and the RCS Anatomy and Pathology collection.

The MoU builds on an agreement for the NHM to provide temporary storage of some of the RCS Museums’ Designated collections during the building programme. Researchers will be able to access most of the RCS collections stored at the NHM. For further information please see the RCS Museums’ web pages.

Continue reading “Royal College of Surgeons and Natural History Museum forge new research and skills sharing partnership”

Wildlife Garden | Species review of the year 2017 – part 2: mostly beetles

In our previous Wildlife Garden blog we reviewed some of the new, and some of the returning species last year, focusing mainly on moths and bees – with a small mention of beetles.

Eleven additional species of beetle were found in the Wildlife Garden in 2017 and here Stephanie Skipp, a former Identification Trainer for the Future, comments on some of these finds:

Continue reading “Wildlife Garden | Species review of the year 2017 – part 2: mostly beetles”

15 What’s the coolest dinosaur? | #NHM_Live

Join four Museum dinosaur experts as they each try to convince you that their favourite dinosaur is the best there ever was. It’s the ultimate dino face-off! What’s your pick for coolest dinosaur: the biggest, the quickest, the smartest, the fiercest? Or do you think a lesser-known species deserves a shot? Our scientists for this show were Susie Maidment, David Button, Paul Barrett and Tom Raven, and our host was Alastair Hendry.

Find out more about dinosaurs at http://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/dinosaurs.html

This recording of #NHM_Live was broadcast on 16 May 2018. If you enjoyed this podcast please subscribe, rate and review in iTunes. We will be live every month. Join us on 13 June and learn about the creatures who live in the dark of the deep oceans.

Strange Strandings – The case of a Risso’s dolphin in the southern North Sea | Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme

A recent stranding gained media attention last week as a Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus) washed up on a beach in Norfolk. The Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) receives around 10 reports of Risso’s dolphins stranding every year, but most of these reports are concentrated in Scotland and the west coast of the UK. This unusual stranding in the southern North Sea meant it was crucial for the CSIP team to retrieve this animal for post-mortem. Post-mortems are essential for us to understand how the animal died, and the possible series of events which may have contributed or occurred leading up to its death.

WARNING: This blog contains photographs of dead stranded cetaceans and post-mortem findings which you may find upsetting

Continue reading “Strange Strandings – The case of a Risso’s dolphin in the southern North Sea | Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme”

4 million digital specimens and counting | Digital Collections Programme

This image of Carl Linnaeus has been created from Museum specimens rather than pixels.

The Museum’s Data Portal has passed 4 million specimens, representing around 5% of the Museum’s entire collection.

The Data Portal was launched in December 2014. In addition to Museum specimens, the Data Portal also hosts 5.3 million other research records and over 100 datasets from internal and external authors.  The Portal is a platform for researchers to make their research and collections datasets available online for anyone to explore, download and re-use.

Continue reading “4 million digital specimens and counting | Digital Collections Programme”

The hunchbacked, small-headed, spider-killers | Curator of Diptera

For the past two days I have started, and finished recurating the British Acroceridae Collection. Wow, you must be thinking, that young Erica is fast! Recurating an entire family in two days; updating the nomenclature, bar coding and databasing the specimens, and then rehousing into modern museum standard unit trays. Well, a slight confession is that there are only three species found in the UK.

Continue reading “The hunchbacked, small-headed, spider-killers | Curator of Diptera”

Contemporary art at the Natural History Museum

There is a long tradition of art bringing dead things in museums to life.  The Natural History Museum is full of specimens that give us windows into life in all its glory.  But many artists give our collections and our ways of working new and unexpected lives.  The Museum’s Art-Science Interest Group (ASIG) brings together the museum staff and artists (and in some cases these inhabit the same bodies) to explore the collections, and life, the universe and everything, through an artistic lens.

Continue reading “Contemporary art at the Natural History Museum”