Fla. Museum receives $500,000 NSF grant to curate Lepidoptera collection

November 10th, 2009

Photos available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two Florida Museum of Natural History scientists have received nearly $500,000 from the National Science Foundation to curate butterfly and moth collections in the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity.

Andrei Sourakov and Keith Willmott received the $495,989 grant to integrate the Ulf Eitschberger specimens from Germany into the McGuire Center’s collections and fund other projects for the center.

Sourakov said the three-year project will help solidify the McGuire Center collections as one of the best and most accessible in the world. (more…)

Fla. Museum, IFAS receive new NSF grant for butterfly education project

November 3rd, 2009

Photos available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The National Science Foundation has awarded $86,757 in additional support for Project Butterfly WINGS, a joint project of the Florida Museum of Natural History and the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

The funding will allow new web site content development, revisions to distance training resources and tutorials for 4-H agents, leaders and youth as well as additional activities and information for the program. It also will bring attention to the availability of the program’s recently approved national 4-H curriculum by increasing the number of instructor training workshops, conference presentations and program participants.

“This new award allows us to disseminate WINGS nationally and provide for its longer-term sustainability through the web site enhancements,” said Betty Dunckel, director of the Florida Museum Center for Informal Science Education. (more…)

Museum researcher receives $900,000 grant for worldwide human lice study

September 14th, 2009

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History mammalogist David Reed has received a $900,000 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award to study the evolutionary biology of human lice.

Reed, an associate curator of mammalogy at the Florida Museum, will use the five-year, $934,498 grant to trace the evolutionary history of lice, and he hopes the study will shed light on human migration, development and evolution.

“Parasitic lice have evolved alongside, but much faster than their human hosts,” Reed said. “The lice have given researchers a more detailed look at the process of species migration and evolution.”

The study also will analyze genetic similarities between the evolution of lice and humans as they have evolved over time. Reed said human and chimpanzee lice branched from a single evolutionary line at about the same time their hosts did and the study will use DNA sequencing data to more closely examine other similarities between the two types of lice. (more…)

Fla. Museum graduate student receives NSF research fellowship award

July 8th, 2009

Photos available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History graduate student Jessica Oswald recently received a 2009 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

The award is given to exceptional students working in science, technology, engineering and research fields. Recipients receive a three-year annual stipend of $30,000, a $10,500 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees and a $1,000 travel allowance.

Oswald is a Ph.D. candidate researching the ecology of birds found in tropical dry forests in northwestern Peru, including comparing the distribution of species today with 14,000-year-old fossils from the Late Pleistocene. Human development is endangering the forests in Peru and other Latin America countries. She seeks to understand how the diversity of birds has changed over time and how studying these changes can help predict future distributions of these species. (more…)

Florida Museum Invertebrate Paleontology Division receives $280,000 NSF grant

March 1st, 2007

For Immediate Release March 1, 2007

Paul Ramey, APR
Assistant Director, Marketing and Public Relations
Florida Museum of Natural History
(352) 846-2000, ext. 218, pramey@flmnh.ufl.edu
Writer: DeLene Beeland

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History Invertebrate Paleontology collection is growing to a total of 4.5 million specimens thanks to a $281,865 National Science Foundation grant.

Awarded in late January, the money will be used to curate, computer catalog and geo-reference 500,000 specimens from four major collections acquired by the museum, said Florida Museum invertebrate paleontologist Roger Portell.

“This project will greatly expand the amount of data available to the general public,” Portell said. “We receive more than 3,500 online visits each month from fossil enthusiasts, students and researchers around the world who search our invertebrate paleontology database.”

Florida Museum Director and Invertebrate Paleontology Curator Douglas Jones and Portell are co-investigators on the grant. Once curated, some of the fossils may be used for outreach at the Florida Museum’s public education and exhibition hall.

The four collections include about 100,000 specimens collected in Florida through the Research Experience for Undergraduates program, also funded by NSF; a collection from Tulane University of 65,000 specimen lots (lots contain seven specimens, on average) and more than 500 type specimens, scientifically valuable because they are used to describe new species; a collection of about 3,500 specimen lots from atoll islands in Polynesia and donated by world-renowned coral-reef expert Gustav Paulay, also a researcher at the Florida Museum; and a collection of about 1,500 specimen lots from Seymour Island, Antarctica.

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The Florida Museum of Natural History is Florida’s state natural history museum, dedicated to understanding, preserving and interpreting biological diversity and cultural heritage. It is located near the intersection of Southwest 34th Street and Hull Road in the University of Florida Cultural Plaza in Gainesville. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Butterfly Rainforest admission is $8.50 for adults ($7.50 Fla. residents) and $4.50 for children ages 3-12. Prices subject to change. For more information, including directions and parking, call (352) 846-2000, or visit www.flmnh.ufl.edu.

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