Popular Collections News and Current Events

Popular Collections News and Current Events, Collections News Articles.
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Artificial neural networks could power up curation of natural history collections
Fed with new knowledge for centuries, natural history collections contain critical data for many scientific endeavors. While recent efforts in mass digitization have already provided unprecedented insight by generating large datasets from these collections, a new pilot project -- one of the first of its kind -- suggests that the key to efficiently studying these data might lie in the new-age deep learning techniques. The research article is published in the open-access Biodiversity Data Journal. (2017-11-02)

Welfare of zoo animals set to improve
The wellbeing of zoological animals is set to improve following the successful trial of a new welfare assessment grid, a new study in the journal Veterinary Record reports. (2017-09-18)

Jurassic crocodile discovery sheds light on reptiles' family tree
A 150 million-year-old fossil has been identified as a previously unseen species of ancient crocodile that developed a tail fin and paddle-like limbs for life in the sea. (2019-04-04)

X-rays power discoveries at Chicago's Field Museum
Digital medical imaging and information technology is helping The Field Museum discover and analyze secrets hidden within its world-class collections. A computed radiography system enables the museum--for the first time--to capture, archive and share digital x-ray images from more than one million priceless artifacts in its Anthropology collection. The museum is also using a picture archiving and communications system (PACS) to manage, view and store the growing collection of digital images. (2008-05-07)

Music is universal
Exactly what about music is universal, and what varies? Harvard researchers have demonstrated that across cultures, people share psychological mechanisms that make certain songs sound 'right' in specific social and emotional contexts. (2019-11-21)

New drug shows potential as a different kind of antidepressant in mouse trials
A potential new antidepressant and antianxiety treatment with a unique mechanism of action has been developed by scientists at the University of Bath. (2017-11-06)

Launch of 'DeWorm3' collection
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases is happy to announce the publication of a new collection, 'DeWorm3' on Jan. 18, 2018. (2018-01-18)

Scale-eating fish adopt clever parasitic methods to survive
A small group of fishes -- possibly the world's cleverest carnivorous grazers -- feeds on the scales of other fish in the tropics. A team led by biologists at the University of Washington is trying to understand these scale-feeding fish and how this odd diet influences their body evolution and behavior. (2018-01-17)

DNA study in the Pacific reveals 2000 percent increase in our knowledge of mollusc biodiversity
Scientists working in the Pacific have revealed a remarkable 2000% increase in our knowledge of the biodiversity of seafloor molluscs in a region being explored for deep-sea mining. Using the latest DNA-taxonomy methodology, they have newly-described and recorded 21 species where only one was previously known. The discoveries made in the eastern region of the CCZ, a vast 5 million kmĀ² region of the central Pacific, are published in the open access journal ZooKeys. (2017-10-10)

Spider eat spider: Scientists discover 18 new spider-hunting pelican spiders in Madagascar
Scientists examined and analyzed hundreds of pelican spiders both in the field in Madagascar and through study of pelican spiders preserved in museum collections. Their analysis sorted the spiders studied into 26 different species -- 18 of which have never before been described. The new species add to scientists' understanding of Madagascar's renowned biodiversity, and will help scientists investigate how pelican spiders' unusual traits have evolved and diversified over time. (2018-01-11)

Gene editing just got easier
An international team of researchers has made CRISPR technology more accessible and standardized by simplifying its complex implementation in a way that offers a broad platform for off-the shelf genome engineering. (2018-06-08)

Early bloomers: Statistical tool reveals climate change impacts on plants
Scientists from Utah State University, Harvard University, the University of Maryland, Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, Boston University and McGill University announce statistical tool to extract information from current and historical plant data. (2017-11-06)

OU and Smithsonian address challenges of curating ancient biomolecules
University of Oklahoma researchers, led by Courtney Hofman and Rita Austin, in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, are addressing the challenges of curating ancient biomolecules and working toward the development and dissemination of best practices. In a recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Hofman and her collaborators suggest museums play a critical role among stakeholders in ancient biomolecules research and should be responsive to these concerns. (2019-01-29)

Warming climate shrinks British Columbia beetles
Some of B.C.'s beetles are shrinking as their habitats get warmer, according to new UBC research. The study provides evidence that climate change is affecting the size of organisms. (2018-01-30)

Caribbean spiders named for Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders David Bowie, and others
A new paper published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society has identified and named 15 new species of spider in the Caribbean. Given the vernacular names 'smiley faced' spiders due to the distinctive markings on their backs, the new species have been given names including S. davidattenboroughi, S. barackobamai, and S.leonardodicaprioi. (2017-09-26)

Untangling the complex taxonomic history of a Neotropical liana genus
How do you separate one species from another? Having remained a major challenge in biology as a whole, species delimitation becomes an especially daunting task when it comes to tropical plant groups, where information in biology, morphology and distribution is often scarce. To tackle this issue, a new monograph in PhytoKeys demonstrates how integrative taxonomy can untangle taxonomic complexities for a genus of Neotropical lianas. (2018-01-29)

Woodpeckers show signs of possible brain damage, but that might not be a bad thing
With each peck, woodpeckers absorb more than ten times the force it would take to give a human a concussion. But they seem fine. Researchers examined the brains of woodpeckers in museum collections and saw that the brains showed a build-up of a protein that's a sign of brain damage in humans. The woodpeckers might not have sustained brain damage themselves, though -- the researchers think that protein build-up could possibly be beneficial to the birds. (2018-02-02)

Seed banking not an option for over a third of threatened species
In paper published today in Nature Plants, researchers at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, detail for the first time the scale of threatened species that are unable to be conserved in seed banks. The paper reveals that when looking at threatened species, 36 percent of 'critically endangered' species produce recalcitrant seeds. This means they can't tolerate the drying process and therefore cannot be frozen, the key process they need to go through to be safely 'banked.' (2018-11-02)

Field Museum provides gold standard for mammal survey
Several mamalogists at Chicago's Field Museum participated in the IUCN survey of the world's mammals, using the Museum's extensive mammal collections for reference. (2008-10-06)

Old Theban port of Chalcis: A medieval maritime crossroads in Greece
One CNRS researcher, in cooperation with Greek colleagues, has focused her attention on a widely disseminated style of ceramics called the 'main Middle Byzantine Production,' found in all four corners of the Mediterranean. The team's findings have just been published online by the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. (2018-07-18)

A botanical mystery solved by phylogenetic testing
Missouri Botanical Garden researchers used DNA testing to rediscover Dracaena umbraculifera, which was thought to be extinct. The methods and results were published in Oryx. The authors include Garden researchers in both St. Louis and Madagascar. (2018-01-08)

New butterfly species discovered nearly 60 years after it was first collected
A butterfly collected in Mexico nearly 60 years ago by the Florida Museum of Natural History's McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity Founding Director Thomas Emmel while he was a teenager, has been described as a new species and named in Emmel's honor by colleague Andy Warren. Warren is senior collections manager at the center on the University of Florida campus, the world's only facility dedicated to butterfly and moth research. (2018-04-05)

Scientists remind their peers: Female birds sing, too
When North American ornithologists hear a bird singing, they're likely to assume it's a male. But in many species, the females sing too -- and a new commentary in The Auk: Ornithological Advances argues that a better understanding of these unappreciated female songs could lead to advances in many aspects of bird biology. (2018-03-14)

Deadly amphibian fungus has its origins in East Asia
The fungus kills frogs, toads and salamanders, and now we know where it emerged. The pet trade may be to blame. (2018-07-03)

Native fish species at risk following water removal from the Colorado River
Agriculture and domestic activities consume much of the Colorado River water that once flowed to the Colorado Delta and Northern Gulf of California. The nature and extent of impact of this fresh-water loss on the ecology and fisheries of the Colorado Delta and Gulf of California is controversial. A recent publication in the journal PeerJ reveals a previously unseen risk to the unique local biodiversity of the tidal portion of the Delta. (2017-12-12)

Eyelash-sized plants reveal climate change -- and citizen scientists help identify them
A motley band of citizen scientists -- including a high school student and a retired businesswoman -- teamed up with a botanist to build a tool that lets the public participate in a research project about eyelash-sized plants that reveal climate change. (2018-03-09)

'Fake fin' discovery reveals new ichthyosaur species
An ichthyosaur first discovered in the 1970s but then dismissed and consigned to museum storerooms across the country has been re-examined and found to be a new species. (2017-10-10)

North American checklist identifies the fungus among us
Some fungi are smelly and coated in mucus. Others have gills that glow in the dark. Some are delicious; others, poisonous. Some spur euphoria when ingested. Some produce antibiotics. All of these fungi -- and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, more -- occur in North America. Of those that are known to science, 44,488 appear in a new checklist of North American fungi, published this month in the journal Mycologia. (2018-11-28)

Ancient rhinos roamed the Yukon
Paleontologists have used modern tools to identify the origins of a few fragments of teeth found more than four decades ago by a schoolteacher in the Yukon. (2019-10-31)

Genetics reveal pacific subspecies of fin whale
New genetic research has identified fin whales in the northern Pacific Ocean as a separate subspecies, reflecting a revolution in marine mammal taxonomy as scientists unravel the genetics of enormous animals otherwise too large to fit into laboratories. (2019-10-28)

New research solves the 60-year-old paleontological mystery of a 'phantom' dicynodont
A new study has re-discovered fossil collections from a 19th century hermit that validate 'phantom' fossil footprints collected in the 1950s showing dicynodonts coexisting with dinosaurs. (2018-03-14)

Birds are shrinking as the climate warms
After 40 years of collecting birds that ran into Chicago buildings, scientists have been able to show that the birds have been shrinking as the climate's warmed up. (2019-12-04)

Scientists dive into museum collections to reveal the invasion route of a small crustacean
While studies on biological invasions tend to focus on new records, Sabrina Lo Brutto and Davide Iaciofano, went on to clarify a biological invasion at the Atlantic European coast. It turned out that a non-native crustacean has established its population 24 years prior to the available records. Their paper published in the open-access journal ZooKeys highlights the important role of natural history collections in the monitoring and, subsequently, the management of invasive species. (2018-05-08)

New species of Swallowtail butterfly discovered in Fiji
A spectacular new butterfly species has been discovered on the Pacific Island of Vanua Levu in Fiji. The species, named last week as Papilio natewa after the Natewa Peninsula where it was found, is a remarkable discovery in a location where butterfly wildlife was thought to be well known. It was confirmed as a species new to science by John Tennent, Honorary Associate at Oxford University Museum of Natural History, and Scientific Associate of the Natural History Museum, London. (2018-10-30)

Green digitization: Botanical collections data answer real-world questions
Scientists are digitizing the wealth of data attached to herbarium specimens and using those data to address questions ranging from species identification to global climate change. This special issue explores methods, challenges, and applications of these collections data, with articles addressing topics including globally unique identifiers, deep learning and computer recognition, and citizen science initiatives. (2018-04-18)

Star-gazing on the reef
Scientists have discovered the first evidence that brittle stars living in vibrant coral reefs use thousands of light sensors to navigate their way through their complex environments. (2018-01-24)

A social bacterium with versatile habits
Related individuals of a soil bacterial species live in cooperative groups and exhibit astonishing genetic and behavioral diversity. ETH researchers recently published these findings in Science. (2019-03-22)

New wasps named after Crocodile Dundee and Toblerone amongst 17 new genera and 29 species
A total of 17 new genera and 29 new species of parasitoid wasps are described from across all tropical regions of the world. Amongst the novel taxa, there are three genera named after the action comedy 'Crocodile Dundee', the chocolate brand 'Toblerone', and the Madagascar spiny forests. In addition, five species are named after institutions holding some of the largest wasp collections. The findings are published in the open access Journal of Hymenoptera Research. (2018-06-25)

Common US snake actually 3 different species
New research reveals that a snake found across a huge swath of the Eastern United States is actually three different species. Published in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, analyses of the yellow-bellied kingsnake (Lampropeltis calligaster) also indicate that diversification of the snake -- and possibly of many other vertebrates living on both sides of the Mississippi River -- is influenced not by the river itself, as predominately thought, but by the different ecological environments on each side. (2016-10-05)

'Cthulhu' fossil reconstruction reveals monstrous relative of modern sea cucumbers
An exceptionally preserved fossil from Herefordshire in the UK has given new insights into the early evolution of sea cucumbers, according to an article published today in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Paleontologists from the UK and USA created a 3D computer reconstruction of the 430-million-year-old fossil and identified it as a new species. They named it Sollasina cthulhu due to its resemblance to monsters from the Cthulhu universe created by author H.P. Lovecraft. (2019-04-09)

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