What is a Cetacean and why would you scan it? |Digital Collections Programme

Photograph of the skull of Northern bottlenose whale (Hyperoodon ampullatus) being 3D surface scanned.
Using our 3D handheld surface scanners to map the surface of a Northern bottlenose whale (Hyperoodon ampullatus)

‘Cetacea’ is the collective order for all whales, dolphins and porpoises. We have more than 2,500 specimens in the Museum collection, at least 500 from the UK strandings programme. Cetaceans are great indicators of wider ocean health – if there’s a problem lower in the food chain, e.g. plastic pollution, it concentrates in cetaceans. If cetacean populations are healthy, so are our oceans. Continue reading “What is a Cetacean and why would you scan it? |Digital Collections Programme”

Endorsing the Science International Open Data Accord | Digital Collections Programme

A growing number of museums are joining open data initiatives to publish their collection databases and digital reproductions online. The Museum has operated a policy of open by-default on our digital scientific collections.

Photograph of Vince Smith, Head of Informatics reading the Science International Data Accord
Vince Smith, Head of Informatics reading the Science International Data Accord

By signing the International Open Data Accord, the Museum recognises the opportunities and challenges of the data revolution and adopts a set of internationally recognised principles as our response to these.

Continue reading “Endorsing the Science International Open Data Accord | Digital Collections Programme”

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.

Continue reading “Chasing sea snakes in Australia | Colour and Vision”

‘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.