GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Using the largest dated evolutionary tree of flowering plants ever assembled, a new study suggests how plants developed traits to withstand low temperatures, with implications that human-induced climate change may pose a bigger threat than initially thought to plants and global agriculture.
The study appearing Sunday (Dec. 22) in the journal Nature and co-authored by University of Florida scientists shows many angiosperms, or flowering plants, evolved mechanisms to cope with freezing temperatures as they radiated into nearly every climate during pre-historic times. Researchers found the plants likely acquired many of these adaptive traits prior to their movement into colder regions. The study also suggests some modern angiosperms, including most flowering plants, trees and agricultural crops, may not have the traits needed to rapidly respond to human-induced climate change, said study co-author Pam Soltis, a distinguished professor and curator of molecular systematics and evolutionary genetics at the Florida Museum on the UF campus. (more…)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Visitors will soon be able to uncover the mysteries of man’s best friend at the Florida Museum of Natural History’s new temporary exhibit, “Wolf to Woof: The Story of Dogs,” opening Feb. 15, 2014.
“Wolf to Woof” is the largest and most comprehensive traveling exhibit on the history, biology and evolution of dogs. It shows how dogs have secured a special place in human society as an incredibly diverse and versatile species that serves as hunters, herders, guards and companions.
“The canine/human relationship is something so special and unique in nature,” said Tina Choe, Florida Museum exhibit developer. “As a dog owner, I am thrilled to share this experience with our visitors.”
The exhibit reveals an in-depth history of dogs and (more…)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida researchers and their colleagues have sequenced the genome of the flowering plant Amborella for the first time, potentially revealing why flowers may have proliferated millions of years ago and offering clues for improving all major food crop species.
Appearing in the journal Science on Friday (Dec. 20), two separate studies analyze the Amborella genome and provide the first insight into how flowering plants differ genetically from all other plants, said study co-author Doug Soltis, a distinguished professor with the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus. Amborella trichopoda, a plant found only on the main island of New Caledonia in the South Pacific, is unique as the sole survivor of an ancient evolutionary lineage that traces back to the (more…)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History visitors will have the opportunity to view a variety of collections — from antique cars to Coca-Cola memorabilia and stamps to Legos — during the 35th Collectors Day Jan. 25, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
This free event is the museum’s longest-running and one of its most popular public programs, allowing visitors to speak with collectors and learn more about the uniqueness, history and context of their collections.
Florida Museum educator Tiffany Ireland said the program’s goal includes celebrating collectors and their collections, as well as bringing awareness to the importance of collections and (more…)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — This winter break students can ring in the holiday season with scientific exploration and natural history investigation during the Florida Museum of Natural History’s school holiday camps beginning Dec. 23 through Jan. 17, 2014.
The camps for students enrolled in grades K-5 for the 2013-2014 school year provide natural history exploration through museum exhibits and hands-on activities.
“Holiday camps are always an opportunity to have fun while learning about something new – whether it’s engineering feats or how prehistoric people managed day-to-day living,” said Florida Museum of Natural History public programs coordinator Catherine Carey. “Museum camps are hands-on and sometimes messy, but always fun.”
“Float My Boat” on Dec. 23 will dive into engineering principles while students learn to construct a plane, float a boat and (more…)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida students visiting the Florida Museum of Natural History can now save money with free admission and a scooter giveaway.
Sponsored by UF Student Government, students with a valid Gator 1 card receive free admission to the Butterfly Rainforest and other fee-based exhibits year-round.
“Granting students free access to paid exhibits supports the fact that we’re an educational facility,” said Jeff Hansen, Florida Museum coordinator of operations and visitor services “It is our hope that more UF students will learn of our facility and utilize it.”
Additionally, Party 99.5 FM and the Florida Museum are hosting a drawing for a new, fully equipped scooter between Nov. 15 and Dec. 5 courtesy of Southern Scooters and (more…)
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…)