GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History recently shipped the jaws of a Megalodon shark to Panama for display in the Biomuseo, a new science museum scheduled to open next year.
The specimen arrived in Panama in October as part of a long-term loan to the new natural history museum, expected to open during the first quarter of 2014. Florida Museum vertebrate paleontology curator Bruce MacFadden said the facility, located along the Panama Canal and designed by architect Frank Gehry, will be a world-class public exhibit space showcasing the country’s biodiversity and natural history. (more…)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — For some Alachua County students, trash doesn’t equate to garbage, but instead may be morphed into creative works of art. The Florida Museum of Natural History will display these artistic creations during the 15 annual Trashformations showcase Nov. 22 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The Trashformations recycled art show and competition is open to middle school, high school and college students. All entries are constructed from 70 percent or more recycled material and judged on the criteria of “most creative expression” and “most innovative use of recycled materials.”
“This event helps you look at recyclables in a new way,” said Florida Museum educator Tiffany Ireland. “It’s always interesting how someone turns milk jugs into an ibis or cans into an owl. This is an opportunity for us to showcase our local, young talent. Every year you always get wowed by something.”
Students in each division compete for cash and other prizes and (more…)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Liars, crooks, murderers and tyrants — find out more about plants and how they evolve to compete for resources at the Florida Museum of Natural History’s next “Science Café” on Monday, Nov. 11.
The final “Science Café” of the fall series will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Saboré, 13005 SW First Road, Suite 129 in Town of Tioga. University of Florida department of biology and Florida Museum of Natural History doctoral candidate Grant Godden will discuss “Despicable Plants: A Botanical World of Liars, Crooks, Murderers and Tyrants.”
“My ‘Science Café’ explores the origins and evolution of seemingly sinister strategies such as fraud, theft, murder and oppression,” Godden said. “It draws from numerous botanical examples of despicable plants. These include deceptive orchids, parasitic witchweeds, and carnivorous and allelopathic plants.”
The program format provides a comfortable setting for community members and (more…)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History visitors will have an opportunity to tour the universe with astronomy experts during the seventh annual Starry Night event, from 6 to 10 p.m. Nov. 15.
Free, space-themed activities include a portable planetarium show and the opportunity to view the universe in 3D as well as rocks from space including a 70-pound meteorite.
Outside, visitors may gaze at the moon, planets and stars through professional quality telescopes and learn about the night sky with members of the Alachua Astronomy Club and UF astronomy department. (more…)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Cedar Key shellfish aquaculture industry is the topic for discussion at the Florida Museum of Natural History’s next “Science Café” program Oct. 28 at Blue Gill Quality Foods, 1310 SW 13th St. in Gainesville.
State shellfish extension agent Leslie Sturmer will discuss “Farming the Sea: The Cedar Key Story” beginning at 6:30 p.m.
“When Florida’s commercial fishing businesses were declining, University of Florida and Florida Sea Grant collaborated with other entities to build a new hard clam aquaculture industry near Cedar Key, where about 80 percent of Florida’s clam farming now occurs,” Sturmer said. “The industry has a statewide economic impact of over $50 million, supporting more than 550 jobs in Cedar Key alone.” (more…)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A new study led by University of Florida researchers provides evidence of an interchange between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans nine to 11 million years ago despite the ongoing formation of the Isthmus of Panama.
Seeking to provide the most complete description to date of 10-million-year-old shark and ray fossils in an outcrop on the Caribbean side of Panama, the researchers identified species that today are restricted to the Pacific Ocean, suggesting the oceans were connected at the time. The study appears in the current issue of the Journal of Paleontology.
The research has significant implications for the evolutionary history of sharks and possibly other marine animals, said lead researcher Catalina Pimiento, a doctoral candidate at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus. (more…)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida’s Butterfly Rainforest exhibit may now be viewed worldwide via three streaming content cameras available on the Florida Museum of Natural History website.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The story and beauty of the Swallow-tailed Kites’ annual 10,000-mile round-trip migration from Florida to South America is the subject of a new Florida Museum of Natural History exhibit opening Oct. 12.
Through paint, pictures and poetry, artist Margo McKnight and Ken Meyer of the Avian Research and Conservation Institute tell the tale of the fascinating journey and complex lives of these rare and beautiful birds of prey in the exhibit “A Swallow-tailed Kite’s 10,000-mile Journey: A Black and White Odyssey.”
“I undertook this project to simply introduce this amazing bird to a new audience,” McKnight said. “Awareness is the very first step and can turn into intention, which in turn can move people to action. Just one step can make a difference.”
Due to a sharp decline in the number of Swallow-tailed Kites over the last century, the (more…)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Many ancient crustaceans went extinct following a massive collapse of reefs across the planet, and new University of Florida research suggests modern species living in rapidly declining reef habitats may now be at risk.
Available online and scheduled to appear in the November issue of Geology, the study shows a direct correlation between the amount of prehistoric reefs and the number of decapod crustaceans, a group that includes shrimp, crab and lobster. The decline of modern reefs due to natural and human-influenced changes also could be detrimental, causing a probable decrease in the biodiversity of crustaceans, which serve as a vital food source for humans and marine animals such as fish, said lead author Adiël Klompmaker, a postdoctoral researcher at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus who started the study at Kent State University. (more…)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History scientists have received a three-year, $458,104 National Science Foundation grant to research a common, but often misidentified, butterfly group.
The diverse subtribe Euptychiina is found throughout the Americas, with most species occurring in grasslands and forests from the U.S. to Argentina. Its classification, however, is highly disorganized. Recent research shows at least 20 percent of the group’s species have no scientific name and about 65 percent of the genera are invalid. Museum collections serve many important roles, including helping scientists better understand where species occur and how the environment changes over time.
With hundreds of thousands of Euptychiina specimens stored in museum collections worldwide, (more…)