Many of us associate the Natural History Museum at South Kensington with Hope the Whale, Dippy the Diplodocus and other inspiring exhibitions and stories about the natural world – but did you know that behind the scenes of this iconic building there are 300 scientists and 200 postgraduate students publishing over 500 scientific papers annually? That there are leading laboratories with technical experts imaging, analysing and preserving life on earth? Or that we are working towards digitising all 80 million specimens housed in the museum’s invaluable collection stores (less than 1% of collections are on display) to further open them up for research?Continue reading “Specimens to Solutions: A Glimpse into Collections and Research | Kathryn Gibbons, Scientific Partnerships Manager”
Meeting the South-East Citizen Science community | Citizen Science
The Citizen Science team hosted the 2nd South-East Citizen Science Meetup at the Angela Marmont Centre last Friday. As an effort to bring together researchers and practitioners in the field, the ExCiteS research group (UCL) had held the first Citizen Science meetup in London back in January 2019, as part of the Doing It Together Science (DITOs) project. The informal concept of meetups brought together a wide range of citizen science expertise and so we decided to host the next meet up at the Natural History Museum.
Continue reading “Meeting the South-East Citizen Science community | Citizen Science”
Remnants of ‘the eighth wonder of the world’ in a Museum drawer |Curator of Petrology
Some rare treasures are hidden within the Petrology collection of the Natural History Museum, and this brunch of a bush, encrusted with sinter, which formed prior to 1886 around hot springs on the shores of the old Lake Rotomahana (warm lake) in New Zealand, is one of them.
Read on to learn about the Pink and White Terraces, a natural wonder of the world, regarded by the Māori as a taonga (a treasure), their tragic fate and how specimens in the museum collection are helping current research. Continue reading “Remnants of ‘the eighth wonder of the world’ in a Museum drawer |Curator of Petrology”
What is a Cetacean and why would you scan it? |Digital Collections Programme
‘Cetacea’ is the collective order for all whales, dolphins and porpoises. We have more than 2,500 specimens in the Museum collection, at least 500 from the UK strandings programme. Cetaceans are great indicators of wider ocean health – if there’s a problem lower in the food chain, e.g. plastic pollution, it concentrates in cetaceans. If cetacean populations are healthy, so are our oceans. Continue reading “What is a Cetacean and why would you scan it? |Digital Collections Programme”
Endorsing the Science International Open Data Accord | Digital Collections Programme
A growing number of museums are joining open data initiatives to publish their collection databases and digital reproductions online. The Museum has operated a policy of open by-default on our digital scientific collections.
By signing the International Open Data Accord, the Museum recognises the opportunities and challenges of the data revolution and adopts a set of internationally recognised principles as our response to these.
Continue reading “Endorsing the Science International Open Data Accord | Digital Collections Programme”
Chasing sea snakes in Australia | Colour and Vision
To coincide with the opening of our Colour and Vision exhibition and #WorldSnakeDay, Museum researcher Dr Bruno Simões tells us about recent fieldwork he undertook in Australia to learn about vision in snakes.
As a vision biologist, I’m interested in how animal vision has evolved and how it functions. The dramatic impact living in an aquatic environment can have on visual systems led me to become particularly interested in sea snakes.
Sea snakes are part of the family Elapidae, along with kraits, mambas, cobras and taipans. The family consists of more than 360 species, including some extremely venomous species that live in aquatic and terrestrial (land-based) habitats in Australasia, among other places.
Continue reading “Chasing sea snakes in Australia | Colour and Vision”
‘The bacteria on our buildings.’ An interview with Dr Anne Jungblut | The Microverse
Are the bacteria found on our UK buildings dangerous and what impact do they have? In this the third and final podcast in our series interviewing Dr Anne Jungblut, the lead researcher of our citizen science project The Microverse, we find out about the initial results of the project.
In the podcast questions posed by participating students from The Long Eaton School, Nottingham, and Prospect School, Reading, are presented to Anne.
Produced by Olivia Philipps and Caroline Steel. With thanks to Long Eaton School and Prospect School for contributing questions. And thanks to Helen Steel for reading the questions on their behalf.
You can hear more from Anne and more about the project in the first and second podcasts.