Current Collections News and Events

Current Collections News and Events, Collections News Articles.
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Ferns in the mountains
In a new study in the Journal of Biogeography an international team of researchers led by Harvard University assembled one of the largest global assessment of fern diversity. The study integrated digitized herbarium data, genetic data, and climatic data and discovered 58% of fern species occur in eight principally montane hotspots that comprise only 7% of Earth's land area. And within these hotspots, patterns of heightened diversity were amplified at higher elevations above 1000 meters. (2021-02-16)

Neanderthals and Homo sapiens used identical Nubian technology
New analysis of a fossil tooth and stone tools from Shukbah Cave reveals Neanderthals used stone tool technologies thought to have been unique to modern humans (2021-02-15)

Higher elevation birds sport thicker down "jackets" to survive the cold
A new study examines feathers across 249 species of Himalayan songbirds, finding that birds at higher elevations have more of fluffy down than lower elevation birds. Finding such a clear pattern across many species underscores how important feathers are to birds' ability to adapt to their environments. Furthermore, finding that birds from colder environments tend to have more down may one day help predict which birds are vulnerable to climate change simply by studying feathers. (2021-02-15)

Male sex, BMI, smoking and depression all increase biological age
A 'biological age' score predicts that being male, overweight, a smoker and having depression all contribute to biological aging, a study published today in eLife reports. (2021-02-09)

Horse remains reveal new insights into how Native peoples raised horses
When a Utah couple dug up the remains of a horse near the city of Provo, researchers suspected that they may have discovered an animal that lived during the last Ice Age. New results suggest a different story. (2021-02-04)

Study reveals a diverse cephalopod fauna in the canary current large marine ecosystem
An extensive review of cephalopod fauna from the Northwest African Atlantic coast was performed by researchers from the University of Vigo (Spain) and the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO). (2021-01-25)

Coercive collection of DNA is unethical and damaging to the future of medical research
The compulsory collection of DNA being undertaken in some parts of the world is not just unethical, but risks affecting people's willingness to donate biological samples and thus contribute to the advancement of medical knowledge and the development of new treatments, says a paper in the European Journal of Human Genetics. (2021-01-18)

Museum scientists: Prepare for next pandemic now by preserving animal specimens in natural history
It's been more than a year since the first cases were identified in China, yet the exact origins of the COVID-19 pandemic remain a mystery. Though strong evidence suggests that the responsible coronavirus originated in bats, how and when it crossed from wildlife into humans is unknown. (2021-01-12)

SwRI-led team finds meteoric evidence for a previously unknown asteroid
A Southwest Research Institute-led team of scientists has identified a potentially new meteorite parent asteroid by studying a small shard of a meteorite that arrived on Earth a dozen years ago. The composition of a piece of the meteorite Almahata Sitta (AhS) indicates that its parent body was an asteroid roughly the size of Ceres, the largest object in the main asteroid belt, and formed in the presence of water under intermediate temperatures and pressures. (2020-12-21)

Biodiversity collections, vital for pandemic preparedness, face drop in specimen deposits
While the importance of natural history museums to human health has never been higher, in recent years the number of specimens being deposited in biodiversity collections actually has been declining. (2020-12-16)

Oncotarget launches special collection on breast cancer
Breast Cancer Collection published in honor of breast cancer awareness. (2020-12-01)

Scientists uncover the mysterious origin of canal grass in Panama
How did canal grass arrive in Panama? STRI staff scientist Kristin Saltonstall compared the DNA of sugar cane relatives from around the world to find out. (2020-11-30)

RIT students discover hidden 15th-century text on medieval manuscripts
Rochester Institute of Technology students discovered lost text on 15th-century manuscript leaves using an imaging system they developed as freshmen. By using ultraviolet-fluorescence imaging, the students revealed that a manuscript leaf held in RIT's Cary Graphic Arts Collection was actually a palimpsest, a manuscript on parchment with multiple layers of writing. (2020-11-19)

Fossil shark turns in to mystery pterosaur
Lead author of the project, University of Portsmouth PhD student Roy Smith, discovered the mystery creature amongst fossil collections housed in the Sedgwick Museum of Cambridge and the Booth Museum at Brighton that were assembled when phosphate mining was at its peak in the English Fens between 1851 and 1900. These fossils found while workmen were digging phosphate nodules were frequently sold to earn a little bit of extra money. (2020-11-10)

Two centuries of Monarch butterflies show evolution of wing length
North America's beloved Monarch butterflies are known for their annual, multi-generation migrations in which individual insects can fly for thousands of miles. But Monarchs have also settled in some locations where their favorite food plants grow year round, so they no longer need to migrate. A new study of specimens collected over the last two centuries shows how wing length evolves in response to migration habits. (2020-11-02)

Antarctica yields oldest fossils of giant birds with 21-foot wingspans
Some of the largest birds in history, called pelagornithids, arose a few million years after the mass extinction that killed off the dinosaurs and patrolled the oceans with giant wingspans for some 60 million years. A team of paleontologists has found two fossils -- each from individual pelagornithids with wingspans of 20 feet or more -- that show this gigantism arose at least 50 million years ago and lasted at least 10 million years. (2020-10-27)

Low-metallicity globular star cluster challenges formation models
On the outskirts of the nearby Andromeda Galaxy, researchers have unexpectedly discovered a globular cluster (GC) - a massive congregation of relic stars - with a very low abundance of chemical elements heavier than hydrogen and helium (known as its metallicity), according to a new study. (2020-10-15)

Ice Age manatees may have called Texas home
Manatees don't live year-round in Texas, but these gentle sea cows are known to occasionally visit, swimming in for a 'summer vacation' and returning to warmer waters for the winter. New research has found fossil evidence for manatees along the Texas coast dating back to the most recent ice age. The discovery raises questions about whether manatees have been visiting for thousands of years, or if ice age manatees once called Texas home. (2020-10-01)

Tracking shape changes in amazon fish after major river is dammed
A team of biologists led by Craig Albertson and Ph.D. student Chaise Gilbert at the University of Massachusetts Amherst report this week on their comparison between museum collections of cichlid fishes collected before a dam was closed in 1984 on the Tocantins River in the Amazon and contemporary specimens taken from the Tucuruí Reservoir by fishermen 34 years later. (2020-09-24)

Sunfleck use research needs appropriate experimental leaves
The use of light by plant leaves to drive photosynthesis is often studied in steady state environments, but most plant leaves are required to adjust to fluctuations in incident light every day. The research into use of fluctuating light by plant leaves has expanded in recent decades. (2020-09-16)

At least 28 extinctions prevented by conservation action in recent decades
Conservation action has prevented the global extinction of at least 28 bird and mammal species since 1993, a study led by Newcastle University, UK and BirdLife International has shown. The species include Puerto Rican Amazon Amazona vittata, Przewalski's Horse Equus ferus, Alagoas Antwren Myrmotherula snowi, Iberian Lynx Lynx pardinus, and Black Stilt Himantopus novaezelandiae, among others. (2020-09-09)

Notice me! Neglected for over a century, Black sea spider crab re-described
Even though recognised in the Mediterranean Sea, the Macropodia czernjawskii spider crab was ignored by scientists (even by its namesake, 19th-century biologist Vladimir Czernyavsky) in the regional faunal accounts of the Black Sea for more than a century. Now, scientists re-describe this, most likely, sole species of the genus to occur in the Black Sea. The finding was published in the open-access journal Zoosystematics and Evolution. (2020-09-01)

Meteorite study suggests Earth may have been wet since it formed
A new study finds that Earth's water may have come from materials that were present in the inner solar system at the time the planet formed -- instead of far-reaching comets or asteroids delivering such water. The findings published Aug. 28 in Science suggest that Earth may have always been wet. (2020-08-27)

A case for botanical gardens to lead in global plant crisis
In a paper published in Plants, People, Planet, The Morton Arboretum scientists Murphy Westwood, Ph.D., and Nicole Cavender, Ph.D., in collaboration with Abby Meyer, and Paul Smith, Ph.D., from Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), detail how botanical gardens have the skills and knowledge, facilities, plant collections, and access to the public required to advance plant conservation, but lack the funding and public recognition necessary to achieve significant impact on global conservation. (2020-08-25)

Using light's properties to indirectly see inside a cell membrane
Using properties of light from fluorescent probes is at the heart of a new imaging technique developed at Washington University's McKelvey School of Engineering that allows for an unprecedented look inside cell membranes. (2020-08-25)

Study clarifies kinship of important plant group
Asterids comprise around 100,000 flowering plants, from heather to tomatoes. Up to now, their family relationships had not yet been fully clarified. A new study by the University of Bonn, Pennsylvania State University (USA) and Fudan University (China) has now somewhat closed this knowledge gap. It is the world's most detailed phylogenetic analysis ever conducted for asterids. The results of the study have been published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution. (2020-08-05)

A 40-year journey leads to a new truffle species
Forty years after Dan Luoma found an unsual truffle collection, scientists confirmed it is a new species and named it after Luoma.  (2020-08-04)

PLOS Special Collection: Successful approaches to HIV care
On July 27 2020, the US Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) launched a Special Collection of manuscripts across the open-access journals PLOS Medicine and PLOS ONE, highlighting Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program's (RWHAP) innovative approaches for data utilization and engagement of people with HIV who are not in care and not virally suppressed. (2020-08-03)

Lead white pigments on Andean drinking vessels provide new historical context
Researchers studying lead white pigments on Andean ceremonial drinking vessels known as qeros have found new similarities among these artifacts that could help museums, conservators, historians and scholars better understand the timeline and production of these culturally significant items during the colonial period (1532-1821). (2020-07-27)

A biologist and a historian are looking for art to trace fruit and vegetable evolution
Plant geneticists seeking to understand the history of plant-based foods can decode the genomes of ancient crops from well-preserved samples. However, this approach leaves significant gaps in the evolutionary timelines of many fruits, vegetables, and cereal crops. A Science & Society article publishing July 14th in the journal Trends in Plant Science details a unique approach to filling these gaps using art--and calls on museum goers to find paintings that could have useful depictions. (2020-07-14)

Famous 'Jurassic Park' dinosaur is less lizard, more bird
From movies to museum exhibits, the dinosaur Dilophosaurus is no stranger to pop culture. Many probably remember it best from the movie 'Jurassic Park,' where it's depicted as a venom-spitting beast with a rattling frill around its neck and two paddle-like crests on its head. But a new comprehensive analysis of Dilophosaurus fossils is helping to set the record straight, finding that the Dilophosaurus was actually the largest land animal of its time. (2020-07-07)

Leveraging biodiversity science infrastructure in the COVID-19 era
The BioScience Talks podcast (http://bioscienceaibs.libsyn.com) features discussions of topical issues related to the biological sciences. (2020-06-23)

Analysis of ancient genomes suggests Caribbean settled by three colonization events
The islands of the Caribbean were settled and resettled by at least three successive waves of colonists from the American mainland, according to a new study, which presents new findings from an examination of ancient DNA from 93 early Caribbean islanders. (2020-06-04)

Mice are shrinking, but are climate change and cities to blame?
According to a well-studied but controversial principle known as Bergmann's Rule, species tend to be larger in cold climates and smaller in warm ones. As human impacts heat the planet, will animals shrink over time? (2020-06-01)

Fishing rod 'selfie stick' and scientific sleuthing turn up clues to extinct sea reptile
A Russian paleontologist visiting the Natural History Museum in London desperately wanted a good look at the skeleton of an extinct aquatic reptile, but its glass case was too far up the wall. So he attached his digital camera to a fishing rod and -- with several clicks -- snagged a big one, scientifically speaking. (2020-05-19)

Bizarre new species discovered... on Twitter
A new species of fungus has been discovered via Twitter and christened accordingly -- Troglomyces twitteri. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen are behind the discovery of this unique fungal parasite that grows around the reproductive organs of millipedes. (2020-05-15)

Lyin' eyes: Butterfly, moth eyespots may look the same, but likely evolved separately
The iconic eyespots that some moths and butterflies use to ward off predators likely evolved in distinct ways, providing insights into how these insects became so diverse. (2020-05-06)

Study helps arboreta, botanical gardens meet genetic diversity conservation goals
In a groundbreaking study, an international team of 21 scientists evaluated five genera spanning the plant tree of life (Hibiscus, Magnolia, Pseudophoenix, Quercus and Zamia) to understand how much genetic diversity currently exists in collections in botanical gardens and arboreta worldwide. (2020-04-30)

Meeting multiple management goals to maximize coral reef health
While management strategies can be effective at achieving reef fisheries' conservation goals, a new study reveals how increased human pressure makes conservation of coral reef biodiversity truly difficult to achieve. (2020-04-16)

Effective options for quitting smoking during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
A new Cochrane Special Collection, COVID-19: Effective options for quitting smoking during the pandemic, published today in the Cochrane Library. (2020-04-01)

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