Blogs & Videos: Climate Change

Fossil Fish, Pt. II: A History

Join us for Part II in our quest to uncover the tropical world of ancient Fossil Lake! Palm trees in Wyoming! Sex in the fossil record! Check out "Lost World of Fossil Lake: Snapshots from Deep Time," by Lance Grande http://bit.ly/1p79CXv Gems and Gemstones: Timeless Natural Beauty of the Mineral World, by Lance Grande: http://bit.ly/1dr59GM

Species in a world that thinks there is a clear division between basic and applied science

Humans are an inconsistent lot, but you would think that might not apply as much when it comes to science, and yet it does.  Even in science are still plenty of ways in which topics lead to opposing and confused viewpoints.  Around my institution these days the terms “applied” and “basic” science are being kicked around at the same time we are discussing “species” as a theme that cuts across research programs. 

How to Recover from a Mass Extinction

A growing number of species in the modern world (nearly 200 in fact!) go extinct every day due to factors such as climate change and habitat destruction. During the earth's history, there also have been a number of 
mass extinctions, like the one that killed off the dinosaurs. Increasingly, scientists are turning to past mass extinctions to gain new insight into what is happening today.

Remembering Ted Parker

Several weeks ago, a colleague (and former graduate school roommate), Kevin Burns, asked me about a pdf of a paper I wrote back in 1992.  Here is the citation: Bates, J. M., T. A. Parker, III, A. P. Capparella and T. J. Davis.  1992.  Observations on the campo, cerrado, and forest avifaunas of eastern Dpto. Santa Cruz, Bolivia, including 21 species new to the country.  Bull. Brit. Orn. Club 112:86-98.

What do researchers want?

Nina Cummings, who ably heads our photo archives in the museum shared with me an interesting blog post she saw recently.  It was from The Library of Congress and was written by Bill LeFurgy, their digital initiatives manager of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program.  The title of the blog post was “What do researchers want from institutions that preserve digital content?”  Here at the museum we are working through our digital initiatives so the post resonated on several fronts.  The opening statement included this: “User expectations influence so much of what stewardship organizations do. We collect and preserve all content primarily to support use.” 

Thoughts on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD)

Friday before last, Camila Duarte and I spent the day down at the University of Chicago.  Camila is a visiting Brazilian student who has worked with colleague Camila Ribas in Manaus, Brazil.  She will be gathering molecular data on several species of birds that inhabit white sand forests in the Amazon Basin over the next five months.  

What the Fish? Episode 20: Under the Ice

On February 15, 2013 a fireball exploded over the Chelyabinsk district of Russia. The shock wave caused significant damage and injuries to many in the area. This meteor was the largest object to fall on Earth in almost 100 years, with an estimated mass of about 11,000 metric tons. On April 9, The Field Museum received several pieces of the Chelyabinsk Meteorite totaling about two pounds thanks to a generous donation from meteorite collector Terry Boudreaux.

The Trilobite Paradoxides

The fossils of a large trilobite called Paradoxides are found in North America, Europe, and Africa, They crawled along the seafloor during the Cambrian Period, 510 million years ago, but not off the coast of North America or Europe. They lived in the shallow waters off the coast of a small continent that no longer exists called Avalonia by geologists.

Michelle Obama has it right

In honor of the First Lady on her birthday, I offer the following.  On a National Public Radio program last year, I heard Michelle Obama interviewed about the vegetable garden she has put in at the White House.  Throughout the interview there was a House Wren singing in the background, but it was what she was talking about that caught my attention.  She was emphasizing the value of growing some of your own food and being close to the land.  A week or so before this, I was at an event in the museum where Thomas Lovejoy and several others had come together for a lunch round table with selected museum staff.  The last question that was discussed was how we can ever hope to get people to listen to the concerns scientists have about the potential implications of changing climate so that we can actually do something about the issue. 

What the Fish? Episode 14: The Value and Role of Collection Data

In previous What the Fish? podcasts, we have covered topics ranging from what makes a fish a fish to aquatic bioluminescence and sensory systems.  We have augmented these fishy topics with discussions surrounding the role scientists play in developing content for museum exhibits and the excitement, hardships, and discoveries made during fieldwork.  Herein, we present the first part of our What the Fish? collections-based research episodes exploring the value and role of Museum collections and their associated data in scientific investigation. To help us discuss the topic of the analysis of collections data, we are joined by Hannah Owens who is a doctoral candidate at The University of Kansas. Hannah combines museum collections data, fisheries data, and ecological data to explore the role of climate change in the evolutionary history and the biogeography of fishes. Hannah's research combines ecological niche, macroevolution, and climate data to explore the "fish stick" fishes or cods, hakes, and relatives from the order Gadiformes.

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