Editors: A list of collections follows this release. For more information, including contact information for collectors willing to speak with the media, please contact Paul Ramey, firstname.lastname@example.org.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History visitors will be able to explore a variety of more than 70 collections during its 34thCollectors Day Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
This free event allows visitors to speak with collectors and learn more about the history and context of their collections.
“This is a unique event that you can honestly say you will find something you like,” said Florida Museum education assistant Tiffany Ireland. “The collections include Corvettes, sports items, ice cream and Beatles memorabilia, vintage ads, antique tools, dolls, swizzle sticks and much more.” (more…)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Soar with eagles and hunt with hawks at the Florida Museum of Natural History’s “Birds of Prey” school holiday camp Jan. 18.
The camp allows students enrolled in grades K-5 for the 2012-2013 school year to explore natural science with interactive activities and museum exhibits.
Students will learn how a variety of birds of prey, from bald eagles to owls, use their keen senses to hunt and survive in different environments.
“Campers will learn about the various birds and their role in our ecology,” said Florida Museum education assistant Tiffany Ireland. “We will discuss the different types of birds of prey and the specialized adaptations and behaviors they use for living in urban, rural and wild places.” (more…)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Learn how large fungi can grow and what types eat insects at the Florida Museum of Natural History’s first “Science Cafe” of the spring series Jan. 15.
The event from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Chef Brothers Custom Catering, 5240 NW 34th St., (across from the YMCA), includes a limited menu for participants. Guest speaker Matthew E. Smith, assistant professor with the University of Florida department of plant pathology will discuss “Fungus Among Us: Knowing the Diversity and Ecology of Fungi.”
“In general, people know very little about fungi,” Smith said. “Fungi constitute a big chunk of diversity on the planet. There are estimated to be more than 5 million species.” (more…)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — In the rain forests of the Congo, where mammals and birds are hunted to near-extinction, an impenetrable sound of buzzing insects blankets the atmosphere.
Because it is a fairly inaccessible region with political unrest, much of the Congo’s insect biodiversity remains largely undiscovered. In a new monographic book published this week in Zootaxa, researchers at the University of Florida and the Royal Museum of Central Africa in Belgium provide insect biodiversity information for this area in Central Africa that increasingly undergoes habitat destruction.
Focusing on a group of leaf-mining moths, researchers name 41 new species, nearly doubling the number previously known from the region. Leaf miners occur worldwide and the biodiversity research is important because some species are agricultural pests, while others help control unwanted invasive plant species. Some are also known to delay plant aging. (more…)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The world’s largest snake will soon slither into town as the Florida Museum of Natural History opens its newest temporary exhibit “Titanoboa: Monster Snake.”
Opening Jan. 26, 2013, the exhibit tells the story of the 48-foot, 2,500-pound giant Titanoboa cerrejonensis, recently discovered in a Colombian coal mine by an international team led in part by Florida Museum researchers. The monster snake ruled the jungles of South America 60 million years ago as the top predator, able to crush and devour giant crocodiles and other animals. (more…)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Just because school is out doesn’t mean students can’t dive into science and investigate natural history at one of two school holiday camps at the Florida Museum of Natural History.
The camps Dec. 20-21 allow students enrolled in grades K-5 for the 2012-2013 school year to explore natural science with interactive activities and museum exhibits.
“Learning is fun,” said Catherine Carey, Florida Museum public programs coordinator. “Learning about natural history is more fun and learning at the museum is the most fun.” (more…)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida lepidopterist Jaret Daniels’ latest book provides nature lovers an easy way to identify common wildflowers from West Virginia to Florida.
The more-than-400-page book, “Wildflowers of the Southeast Field Guide,” includes 200 common species, each organized by color with helpful reference icons to visually match key features of each plant.
“It is meant to be a primer to help people easily identify many of the most commonly encountered wildflowers in the Southeast,” Daniels said. “The full-page color photos and easy-to-understand species descriptions make this a great guide for beginners.”
Released this fall, the field guide retails for $16.95 and is available nearly anywhere books are sold.
Daniels, an associate professor of entomology and associate curator of Lepidoptera at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus, has written seven other guides, including several books about butterflies in various states for Adventure Publications. (more…)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A new study co-authored by a University of Florida researcher provides the first direct chronological test of sequence stratigraphy, a powerful tool for exploring Earth’s natural resources.
The model allows geologists to better understand how sedimentary rocks are related to one another in time and space and predict what types of rocks are located in different areas. The information may help scientists more reliably interpret various aspects of Earth’s history such as long-term climate changes or extinction events, and also benefit companies searching for the best locations to drill for oil. (more…)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida scientists have co-authored a study describing a new Lepidoptera species found in Jamaica’s last remaining wilderness.
Belonging to the family of skipper butterflies, the new genus and species is the first butterfly discovered in Jamaica since 1995. Scientists hope the native butterfly will encourage conservation of the country’s last wilderness where it was discovered: the Cockpit Country. The study appearing in today’s Tropical Lepidoptera Research, a bi-annual print journal, underscores the need for further biodiversity research and establishing a baseline of organisms as more tropical areas suffer habitat destruction. (more…)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A new University of Florida study shows ecologists may have been missing crucial information from animal bones for more than 150 years.
The study featured on the cover of the November issue of Ecology shows animal bone remains provide high-quality geographical data across an extensive time frame. The research may be used to identify regions of habitat for the conservation of threatened species.
Charles Darwin first noted the importance of studying where animal bones lie on the landscape in 1860, but the topic has since become largely lost to scientists trying to protect and conserve native wildlife. By documenting accumulations of elk bones and antlers on the landscape of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, study author Joshua Miller identified areas critical for the species’ survival during spring and winter.
“This is fundamental stuff, because for a long time the common knowledge was that bones only lasted a few years on the landscape,” said Miller, an assistant scientist at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus and Fenneman assistant research professor at the University of Cincinnati. “It turns out they last a lot longer and surveys of bones on landscapes offer a new tool for conservation and management – one that allows us to collect decades of biological data in a single field season.” (more…)