New species of threatened Florida indigo snake could aid conservation efforts

August 1st, 2016
Florida Museum researchers describe a new species, the Gulf Coast indigo snake, Drymarchon kolpobasileus, pictured here, in a study published in Zootaxa this month. Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Kenneth L. Krysko

Florida Museum researchers recently described a new species, the Gulf Coast indigo snake, pictured here.
Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Kenneth L. Krysko

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — They seem similar at first glance, but it turns out the indigo snakes found on Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts are not two of a kind.

Ten years of research by Florida Museum of Natural History scientists led to new information about the origins of Florida’s largest native snake species, which may impact efforts by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to conserve the reptiles and their environments.

Museum researchers confirmed that two distinct lineages of indigo snakes live on opposite sides of Florida. Differences in the genetics and appearances of the Gulf Coast and (more…)

Florida Museum releases iPhone app for bird, butterfly and plant identification

January 17th, 2012

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — With the touch of a finger, iPhone users can access information to help identify birds, butterflies and flowering plants seen along the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail and throughout the state.

The Florida Museum of Natural History’s new app, currently available through the iTunes store, “Nature Viewing Along the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Viewing Trail,” allows users to search for 200 birds, 106 butterflies and 247 flowering plants through a variety of options including name, color, shape and size. The app provides photographs and information about each species.

The app also includes a list of 491 sites along the 2,000-mile trail which extends from the Florida Panhandle through the Keys, as well as information about habit conservation and animals and plants unique to the state. (more…)

‘Our Energy Future’ exhibit to open at Florida Museum Nov. 11

November 1st, 2011

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Explore alternative power sources and learn about your own energy consumption in the Florida Museum of Natural History’s newest permanent exhibit “Our Energy Future,” opening Nov. 11.

The exhibit, designed to resemble a home, includes information about energy use; ways to reduce consumption, like purchasing more efficient appliances and using power strips; climate change and its effects and more.

“It’s all about energy use and how to save it at home with simple steps,” said Tina Choe, Florida Museum exhibit developer.

The exhibit also discusses the limits of fossil fuels and alternative sources, like solar, wind and geothermal power. (more…)

Museum researcher receives $800,000 grant to study birds in the Andes

September 19th, 2011

Photos available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — With $800,000 from the National Science Foundation, Florida Museum of Natural History conservation biologist Scott Robinson is researching bird ranges in the Andes Mountains.

Robinson is leading a team of about 20 researchers measuring ideal temperatures for different species’ survival, studying how successfully the birds nest and to what extent predators dictate their existence. With this data, scientists hope to understand which Neotropical bird species will be able to move upslope as temperatures increase with global warming. (more…)

Florida Museum hosts second annual ‘Sawfish In Peril Educator Workshop’

May 16th, 2011

Photos available

GAINESVILE, Fla. — University of Florida researchers are hosting educators from throughout the state for its annual “Sawfish In Peril Educator Workshop” from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.

As one of the few institutions tracking and protecting the endangered sawfish, the Florida Museum of Natural History’s Florida Program for Shark Research developed the workshop to help educators facilitate sawfish awareness and conservation programs in their local school districts and environmental education facilities.

“Sawfish are animals that can go extinct if we’re not very careful,” said Florida Program for Shark Research Director George Burgess. “Part of our mission here as a program is to not only conduct research on these animals, but to give them the maximum amount of protection they can receive.” (more…)

ButterflyFest offers activities for all ages, including butterfly releases, plant sale

October 21st, 2010

(EDITORS: A complete schedule of events follows this release.)

Photos available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The fifth annual ButterflyFest at the Florida Museum of Natural History from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday features free, interactive presentations and activities the entire family will enjoy.

Visitors can listen to presentations about Project Butterfly WINGS, Honduran butterflies and moths, the Monarch Watch organization, worldwide honey bee decline and the migratory patterns of Monarchs. Gardening activities and wildflower walks as well as live butterfly releases will also be offered. (more…)

Florida Museum ‘Blue Path’ exhibit explores, promotes protection of state springs

August 4th, 2010

Photo available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History presents its newest galleria exhibit “The Blue Path: Protecting Florida’s Springs” from Aug. 12 through Dec. 12.

Explore the state’s spring system and water cycle that shapes the landscape through photographs, paintings and displays by north central Florida’s best artists, writers, filmmakers, educators and scientists. The exhibit examines how everyday choices can either deplete and destroy or restore the state’s water supply. It is suitable for all ages and admission is free. (more…)

Celebrate 40th anniversary of Earth Day with museums at UF Cultural Plaza

April 16th, 2010

Photos available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Join the fun with the Florida Museum of Natural History and Harn Museum of Art during the 40th anniversary of Earth Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 24.

Located in the University of Florida Cultural Plaza, this year’s celebration includes demonstrations and activities focused on the environment and conservation. The Alachua County environmental protection department will hold a rain barrel sale outside the museums. These barrels help homeowners collect water for reuse on their property. Also, visit with local conservation groups at both museums and learn how easy it is to help preserve the planet. (more…)

Florida Museum to host national butterfly conservation workshop

October 12th, 2009

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History will host a workshop of 25 participants from across the country in the Imperiled Butterfly Conservation and Management program Oct. 27-30.

The program educates professionals from natural history museums, zoos and botanical gardens about butterfly conservation and recovery strategies. The workshop is the second in a series of five programs over two years that include intensive laboratory and field training sessions. Participants will work side-by-side with staff from the Florida Museum and other partner organizations.

“We are extremely excited about the tremendous diversity of program participants and institutions,” said Jaret Daniels, assistant curator of Lepidoptera for the Florida Museum McGuire Center of Lepidoptera and Biodiversity and one of the workshop leaders. “The corresponding synergy will go a long way to help strengthen imperiled butterfly conservation and awareness efforts nationwide.” (more…)

Harn Museum, Florida Museum host annual Earth Day celebration April 18

April 7th, 2009

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Harn Museum of Art and Florida Museum of Natural History are joining together once again to celebrate Earth Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 18. The free event features crafts, painting demonstrations, live music, a dance performance, educational presentations and organic food.

The Harn Museum of Art is offering a number of programming opportunities, including an informative lecture at 11:30 a.m. about how to make your household energy efficient.

At 12:30 p.m., Tom Southall, curator of photography, will give a gallery talk about “Landscape Perspectives: Highlights from the Photography Collection,” discussing the beauty of the natural world and aspects of human interactions with the land.

Both museums are offering art opportunities for visitors. At the Florida Museum, visitors can create CD clocks and fashion recycled accessories such as newspaper hats and paper tube bracelets. Guest artist Peter Carolin will be plein air painting outside the Harn Museum of Art as part of the museum’s Family Day. Visitors can paint with him, make jewelry with recycled-paper beads or create nature rubbings. (more…)

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