GEE News Publication
A A A

Gee Research Blog

Handicaps, Honesty and VisibilityWhy Are Ornaments Always Exaggerated?

Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:30:30 +0000

Sexual selection is a form of natural selection that favours traits that increase mating success, often at the expense of survival. It is responsible for a huge variety of characteristics and behaviours we observe in nature, and most conspicuously, sexual selection explains the elaborate ornaments such as the antlers of red deer and the tail […]

The post Handicaps, Honesty and Visibility
Why Are Ornaments Always Exaggerated?
appeared first on GEE Research.

Read more...

PREDICTS Project: Land-Use Change Doesn’t Impact All Biodiversity Equally

Mon, 13 Oct 2014 09:17:53 +0000

Humans are destroying, degrading and depleting our tropical forests at an alarming rate. Every minute, an area of Amazonian rainforest equivalent to 50 football pitches is cleared of its trees, vegetation and wildlife. Across the globe, tropical and sub-tropical forests are being cut down to make way for expanding towns and cities, for agricultural land […]

The post PREDICTS Project: Land-Use Change Doesn’t Impact All Biodiversity Equally appeared first on GEE Research.

Read more...

Calculated Risks: Foraging and Predator Avoidance in Rodents

Fri, 03 Oct 2014 10:07:08 +0000

Finding food is one of the most important tasks for any animal – most animal activity is focused on this job. But finding food usually involves some risks – leaving the safety of your burrow or nest to go out into a dangerous world full of predators, disease and natural hazards. Animals should therefore be […]

The post Calculated Risks:
Foraging and Predator Avoidance in Rodents
appeared first on GEE Research.

Read more...

Applying Metabolic Scaling Laws to Predicting Extinction Risk

Thu, 25 Sep 2014 10:32:49 +0000

The Earth is warming. That much were are now certain of. A major challenge for scientists hoping to ameliorate the effect of this on biodiversity is to predict how temperature increases will affect populations. Predicting the responses of species living in complex ecosystems and heterogenous environments is a difficult task, but one starting point is […]

The post Applying Metabolic Scaling Laws to Predicting Extinction Risk appeared first on GEE Research.

Read more...

The Importance of Size in the Evolution of Complexity in Ants

Tue, 16 Sep 2014 10:14:37 +0000

Ants are amongst the most abundant and successful species on Earth. They live in complex, cooperative societies, construct elaborate homes and exhibit many of the hallmarks of our own society. Some ants farm crops, others tend livestock. Many species have a major impact on the ecosystems they live in, dispersing seeds, consuming huge quantities of […]

The post The Importance of Size in the Evolution of Complexity in Ants appeared first on GEE Research.

Read more...

The Grant Museum celebrates its re-opening and fantastic new location

29 March 2011

UCL’s Grant Museum of Zoology re-opened on 15 March, allowing some of the rarest extinct animal specimens in the world to be displayed for the first time. Previously lost dodo bones, the remains of a quagga (an extinct species of half-striped zebra) and a giant Irish elk with antlers measuring nearly 3 metres across, are among the 70,000 specimens that can be seen in the new museum space.  It still holds many specimens collected by Robert Edmond Grant, the first professor of zoology and comparative anatomy in England. Because of the age of the collection, many of the species in the museum are now endangered or extinct.

Grant Museum Opening 3   Grant Museum Opening

Photos by courtesy of Kirsten Holst

UCL Professor of Genetics, Steve Jones, said: “Dylan Thomas described Swansea Museum as “a museum that should have been in a museum”. That was meant as somewhat of an insult, but for the Grant Museum it is praise indeed: a restored Victorian treasure-house crammed with specimens from a bottle of preserved moles to extinct zebras and (just identified) the legs of a dodo. And all this was put together by the man that taught zoology to Charles Darwin – which means, I am sure, that this will become a standard stop on the London tourist trail.”

The Museum is also turning to cutting-edge technology to look at how visitors can interact with objects and uncover deeper themes about natural history. Dotted alongside displays of stuffed chimpanzees and huge anaconda skeletons are iPads, asking provocative questions about the ways museums operate and the role of science in society.

The first questions the museum is asking its visitors to answer include: “What makes an animal British?”, “Can keeping pets be justified given their impact on wildlife?”, “Should science shy away from studying biological differences between races?”

People can engage with the topics either via the Museum’s iPads, their own smart phones via QR codes (square bar-codes), or using twitter, breaking new ground for museum engagement. Continuing the Museum’s tradition of research and learning, ‘QRator’ has been designed as part of a UCL Centre for Advanced Spacial Analysis and UCL Centre for Digital Humanities research project called “Tales of Things” (http://www.talesofthings.com).

Carnivore display

QRator is an iPad-based system that allows everyone to be a curator and share their views on an exhibition. Visitors can examine an object before leaving their thoughts about it on an iPad to create a digital, ‘living’ label that subsequent visitors can read and respond to.  By downloading a free application to an iPhone or android phone, visitors will be able to see rolling updates to the digital label after they leave the museum, or via twitter.

Natasha McEnroe, Manager of the Grant Museum of Zoology said: “We want to give our audiences unprecedented opportunities to engage in the museum’s work and feed into how our museums should be run, opportunities for them to tell us what they know and need to know about the life sciences, what issues they care about and want museums to raise.”

Image: Lion skeleton in a case of carnivores. Most of the Museum's main displays are arranged so that the species are displayed with their closest relatives.  Credit: UCL Grant Museum of Zoology/Matt Clayton

Media contact: Clare Ryan

Links:
Grant Museum of Zoology
UCL Centre for Advanced Spacial Analysis
Coverage in Nature (Books & Arts section)
BBC News online video

UCL context

UCL's Museums and Collections cover a wide variety of disciplines, reflecting the range of the university's academic work. Three collections - the Petrie Museum, the Grant Museum and the Art Collections - are open to the public. Other collections are primarily for teaching and research but can be seen and studied by appointment.

We support teaching and learning, undertake and support research and run a wide range of events and outreach programmes.


Page last modified on 29 mar 11 17:42