Tag Archives: DNA sequencing

Freshwater microbiology and climate change in the Canadian Arctic | Microbial Diversity

The Arctic is warming at rates more than twice the global average, and much larger changes are projected for high northern latitudes by the end of this century. In our project we study freshwater microbiology to identify sentinel microbiome properties of northern freshwater environments that can be used to improve surveillance of Arctic ecosystem health in the face of these increasing climate perturbations. The project is funded by funded by a UK-Canadian partnership bursary and in collaboration with researchers from Laval University and Centre for Northern Studies (CEN) – and is part of Sentinel North.

Panoramic photo showing the landscape. Various shrubs, trees and bushes are visible on a rocky ground in the foreground. A pool stretches from the middle to the bottom of the image to the right of the centre. A scattering of coniferous trees are present at the rear of the image.

Sub-Arctic taiga landscape with diverse freshwater ecosystems near Kuujjuarapik-Whapmagoostui, Nunavik, northern Quebec, Canada

Of particular importance are cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, as they are keystone primary producers, contributors of bioavailable nitrogen, drivers of food webs and carbon cycling in Arctic freshwater ecosystems. However, little is known about their biodiversity in the Canadian Arctic. I therefore, visited Canada this August to carry out field work and collect samples from freshwater environments such as lakes, ponds and streams to carry out DNA sequencing analysis of the freshwater microbiology.

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Chasing sea snakes in Australia | Colour and Vision

To coincide with the opening of our Colour and Vision exhibition and #WorldSnakeDay, Museum researcher Dr Bruno Simões tells us about recent fieldwork he undertook in Australia to learn about vision in snakes.

As a vision biologist, I’m interested in how animal vision has evolved and how it functions. The dramatic impact living in an aquatic environment can have on visual systems led me to become particularly interested in sea snakes.

Olive sea snake swimming through a coral reef

Aipysurus laevis is a venomous sea snake found off the coast of Australia and other Indo-Pacific areas © Tchami, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Sea snakes are part of the family Elapidae, along with kraits, mambas, cobras and taipans. The family consists of more than 360 species, including some extremely venomous species that live in aquatic and terrestrial (land-based) habitats in Australasia, among other places.

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‘The bacteria on our buildings.’ An interview with Dr Anne Jungblut | The Microverse

Are the bacteria found on our UK buildings dangerous and what impact do they have? In this the third and final podcast in our series interviewing Dr Anne Jungblut, the lead researcher of our citizen science project The Microverse, we find out about the initial results of the project.

In the podcast questions posed by participating students from The Long Eaton School, Nottingham, and Prospect School, Reading, are presented to Anne.

Two female staff rub cotton wool swabs across the surface of a stone wall.

Museum staff collecting a sample from one of the iconic buildings of London

Produced by Olivia Philipps and Caroline Steel. With thanks to Long Eaton School and Prospect School for contributing questions. And thanks to Helen Steel for reading the questions on their behalf.

You can hear more from Anne and more about the project in the first and second podcasts.

 

‘Why is it important to study microorganisms?’ An interview with Dr Anne Jungblut | The Microverse

In the second of three podcasts produced by Science Communication students Olivia Philipps and Caroline Steel, we find out more from Dr Anne Jungblut about the results of The Microverse project, and why it’s important to study microorganisms.

In the podcasts, Olivia and Caroline pose questions asked by students from The Long Eaton School, Nottingham, and Prospect School, Reading, who participated in the project.

136 Askham Bryansmall

Students from Askham Bryan College, York, collecting samples for The Microverse project.

 

Produced by Olivia Philipps and Caroline Steel. With thanks to Long Eaton School and Prospect School for contributing questions. And thanks to Helen Steel for reading the questions on their behalf.

If you missed it, listen to the first podcast here and watch this space for the third and final podcast, where we’ll find out about the types of organisms found through the research.

‘Doesn’t it get a bit boring always looking down a microscope?’ An interview with Dr Anne Jungblut | The Microverse

To kick start our Citizen Science blog for 2016, Olivia Philipps and Caroline Steel, Science Communication students from Imperial College London, have produced a series of three podcasts interviewing Dr. Anne Jungblut, the lead researcher of The Microverse project.

In the podcasts, Olivia and Caroline pose questions asked by students from The Long Eaton School, Nottingham, and Prospect School, Reading, who participated in the project.

Photo showing Anne sitting collecting a water sample from beside a lake in Antarctica, with three penguins in the background

Anne Jungblut collecting microbial samples in Antarctica

In this first one we find out what inspired Anne to pursue a career in microbial research:

Produced by Olivia Philipps and Caroline Steel. With thanks to The Long Eaton School for contributing questions and Helen Steel for posing them to Anne on their behalf.

Watch this space for the second in this series of podcasts, where we’ll find out about the results of The Microverse project.

Lichen Adventures with Pimlico Academy | Decoding Nature

This week Dr. Della Hopkins tells us about how the Decoding Nature project takes school students out on field trips and involves them in the Museum’s science research.

In June, a group of ‘scientists in the making’ from Pimlico Academy joined up with a small band of research scientists from the Museum as part of a long running project called Decoding Nature. Decoding Nature is a Museum-run venture which delivers residential science courses to school children aged 8-18.

The courses take place at The Old Malthouse School near Wareham in Dorset, and combine learning with original, ongoing scientific research. Over the years the project has evolved and included a wide range of scientists with varied areas of expertise. Each course is different, ensuring that the children are taking part in cutting edge research that will be used for publication.

Amazing lichen communities on Dorset trees - a winning photo from the photography competition. Image credit: Coco from Pimlico.

Amazing lichen communities on Dorset trees – a winning photo from the photography competition. Image credit: Coco from Pimlico.

For this particular course our budding scientists from Pimlico Academy were set several tasks, to aid renowned Lichenologist Holger Thues with several important research questions.

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DNA on the dinosaurs: swabbing Crystal Palace’s icons | The Microverse

Crystal Palace Transition Kids and Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs swab the first ever dinosaur sculptures the world had ever seen, to help us identify The Microverse. Ainslie Beattie of Crystal Palace Transition Kids and Ellinor Michel of the Museum and a member of the Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs report on the event:

Looming out across the lake in front of us are dinosaurs, 160 year old dinosaurs! They look huge, ominous and exciting! These were the first ever reconstructions of extinct animals, the first animals with the name ‘dinosaur’ and they launched the ‘Dinomania’ that has enthralled us ever since.

Never before had the wonders of the fossil record been brought to life for the public to marvel at. These were the first ‘edu-tainment’, built to inform and amaze, in Crystal Palace Park in 1854. They conveyed messages of deep time recorded in the geologic record, of other animals besides people dominating past landscapes, of beauty and struggle among unknown gigantic inhabitants of lost worlds.

The Crystal Palace Dinosaurs were built in 1854 to inform and amaze. © Stefan Ferreira

The Crystal Palace Dinosaurs were built in 1854 to inform and amaze. © Stefan Ferreira

Most people just get to look at them from vantage points across a waterway, but not us! Transition Kids (part of Crystal Palace Transition Town) and Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs arranged special access to collect data for the Museum’s ‘The Microverse’ project.

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