Monday, September 28, 2015
Friday, September 25, 2015
Fig.1. This basking shark is one of several species that independently evolved the ability to filter feed (Credit: Greg Skormal/NOAA Fisheries Service, 2011)
Breathalyzer tests for whales and climate change-fighting sea creatures are part of ongoing research in marine animal science. Read to learn more about checking the health of whales, the unusual octopus genome, plankton-feeding sharks, and more!
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Fig.1. A view of Half Dome in the Sierra Nevada (Credit: Dimitry B. via Flickr, 2013)
Earlier this year, California Gov. Jerry Brown issued water restrictions for first time ever in the state’s history, mandating that urban water suppliers cut their use by 25 percent. This measure addressed California’s ongoing drought, which has entered its fourth year and contributed to deadly wildfires and billions lost in agriculture. A new study published in Nature Climate Change suggests that this record-breaking streak may stretch back far more than a few years ago.
Monday, September 21, 2015
Friday, September 18, 2015
|Fig.1. Child receiving polio vaccine (Credit: USAID Bangladesh)|
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
|Fig.1. This canid evolved from mongoose-like ancestors (Credit: Tambako via Flickr, 2014)|
Around 23 million years ago, Earth’s climate cooled considerably, causing a shift in North America’s interior ecosystems. Forests turned into the drier, more open grasslands that remain today. As climate change affected the landscape, animals and plants adjusted to their new surroundings. The fossil record indicates that herbivorous mammals evolved longer legs and teeth more adapted to the increasingly ubiquitous C4 grasses. Although a similar adjustment had not been previously seen in predators, an international team of scientists discovered a link between modern canine hunting habits and the ancient shift in climate.
Monday, September 14, 2015
Friday, September 11, 2015
From bones hidden in the depths of a South African cave to century-old mold, these scientific discoveries change our understanding of human evolution and disease. Read to learn more about a new hominin, trade and caffeine, tracking diseases, and more:
Thursday, September 10, 2015
One year ago today, Collections in the News published its first article about ongoing research regarding collections and how they can tell us more about the world. To celebrate, here are our top five most viewed and shared articles from the past year:
We learned about preserving fossils for future researchers and museum visitors, thanks to Dr. Hans-Dieter Sues, curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.
Dr. Julia Stevens at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences told us why teaching middle school students about soil microbiology is important for the future of science.
New technologies were applied to old history in Dr. Loren Sackett’s work with wildlife diseases that cross over into humans.
Ocean acidification is an ongoing threat to sea life and is only part of how climate change will affect our world, but information from sediment cores may help us to mitigate the problem.
In an age where digitizing collections are the norm, we talked about how the question of open-access data is at the forefront of biosecurity.
Friday, September 4, 2015
Fig.1. House Finch-eggs (Credit: Rich Mooney via Flickr, 2005)Between Victorian egg collecting and modern day plastic production, humans have endangered bird populations around the world. Living collections and dried specimens found in museums help us to paint a picture of both their ancient relationship with people and future survival:
Thursday, September 3, 2015
Fig.1. This trilobite was part of an important class of extinct animals that one ruled the seas (Credit: Kevin Walsh, 2005 via Flickr)
Have you ever wondered about the curious creatures behind #trilobitetuesday? These marine arthropods roamed the oceans for over 270 million years and are widely considered to be among the most successful of early animals. Trilobites are well preserved and make up a large number of marine invertebrate fossil collections, informing on research in fields as wide ranging as evolutionary biology to plate tectonics. They ultimately went extinct at the end of the Permian period around 252 million years ago - along with more than 90 percent of ocean species and 75 percent of land species - during the most massive extinction event in the paleontological record. Although causes have been attributed to anything from asteroids to sea-floor methane, a recently published paper in Science Advances argues that volcanic activity catalyzed the catastrophic Permian-Triassic extinction event.