Bird display at the Museum of Zoology

Behind the Scenes at the Museum for Open Cambridge 2021

We have a special treat for you as part of the Open Cambridge Festival 2021: not one but three virtual tours of the Museum. Go behind the scenes for a tour of the Bird Room with Curator of Ornithology Dr Daniel Field and a tour of the Insect Room by Research Assistant Matt Hayes. Then follow Assistant Director Jack Ashby as he guides you around … Continue reading Behind the Scenes at the Museum for Open Cambridge 2021

Boats returning from the Ceylon Pearl Banks in March 1829

How to Study: Pearls of the Past

In this blog series for National Marine Week, Geography PhD Student Anna Guasco describes the many ways Cambridge postgraduate researchers study life in the ocean. Here she interviews: Tamara Fernando: Marine Historical Ecology and Archival Methods Tamara is a PhD student in the Faculty of History. She is from Sri Lanka. Using a historian’s tools to explore these stories of underwater change, ecosystem variance, and … Continue reading How to Study: Pearls of the Past

Atlantic puffin with beak full of sand eels

How to Study: Seabirds

In this blog series for National Marine Week, Geography PhD Student Anna Guasco describes the many ways Cambridge postgraduate researchers study life in the ocean. Here she interviews: Lily Bentley: Seabird Movement Ecology Lily Bentley is PhD Student in the Department of Zoology. She is from Australia. “We can’t hope to conserve or manage populations of animals that travel vast distances unless we know where … Continue reading How to Study: Seabirds

Aerial roots of mangrove trees

How to Study: Coastal Ecosystems and Conservation

In this blog series for National Marine Week, Geography PhD Student Anna Guasco describes the many ways Cambridge postgraduate researchers study life in the ocean. Here she interviews: Frédérique Fardin: Mangroves, Fisheries, and Conservation Frédérique is a PhD student with the Department of Geography and the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre. She is an affiliated researcher with the Nippon Foundation Nereus Program and a … Continue reading How to Study: Coastal Ecosystems and Conservation

Win whale skeleton at the Museum of Zoology

How to Study Marine Life in the World’s Changing Seas

In this blog series for National Marine Week, Geography PhD Student Anna Guasco describes the many ways Cambridge postgraduate researchers study life in the ocean: Cambridge isn’t exactly known for marine life. Instead, when thinking of Cambridge, you might picture cows grazing in Midsummer Common or along the River Cam. Pathways winding along the Backs of the old Colleges. Weeping willows and wildflowers. Swans and … Continue reading How to Study Marine Life in the World’s Changing Seas

Duke of Burgundy Butterfly

The Duke of Burgundy Butterfly

Conserving an endangered butterfly into the future: long term requirements of the Duke of Burgundy. Research Assistant at the Museum of Zoology Matt Hayes writes: Seeing butterflies on the wing is usually a sure-fire sign that warmer weather has arrived and for most of us, I hope they are a common sight on sunny days in spring and summer. In fact, one of my favourite … Continue reading The Duke of Burgundy Butterfly

Close up of a drawer of large blue butterflies in the Museum of Zoology

Conservation Success Stories

For the Earth Optimism Festival organised by the Cambridge Conservation Initiative this year, the Museum created a film of Conservation Success Stories based on specimens in our collections. It was fascinating and uplifting to hear these stories of actions people have taken that have benefited wildlife the world over from researchers and conservation practitioners involved with these projects. To celebrate International Day for Biological Diversity … Continue reading Conservation Success Stories

Gharial skull

Endangered Species Day

To mark Endangered Species Day on Friday 21 May 2021, staff and volunteers at the Museum of Zoology have been writing about the endangered species on display in the galleries that hold stories important to them. Come and explore these amazing animals with us. Orangutan, Pongo pygmaeus Dr Ed Turner, Curator of Insects As Curator of Insects, selecting orangutans to write about might seem an … Continue reading Endangered Species Day

Title slide for Inspiring Conservation for International Women's Day 2021

Inspiring Conservation for International Women’s Day 2021

The past twelve months have changed the world, but there are reasons for optimism in nature. On Monday 8 March 2021, the Museum in collaboration with the CCF Women in Conservation Leadership network hosted an online event celebrating inspiring work by women in conservation. A panel of amazing women talked of their experiences engaging with young people and communities in conservation projects around the world:Abhisheka … Continue reading Inspiring Conservation for International Women’s Day 2021

Common blue butterfly sat on a yellow flower at brownfield site

Brownfield Biodiversity

Brownfield sites? These are sites some might call ‘wasteland’, ‘post-industrial land’ or ‘derelict land’. These could be disused railway sidings, former quarries, abandoned industrial estates, amongst other things. Historically incredibly human-modified – one might wonder why, as a conservation scientist, I would be interested in brownfield sites. Brownfield sites do actually harbour biodiversity. In fact, these sites might support many nationally rare and scarce insects … Continue reading Brownfield Biodiversity

Amphioxus against a black background

Reconstructing ancestors: insights from the ocean

Giacomo Gattoni, PhD Student, writes: When we look at the natural world we are often in awe at the richness and diversity of life forms that we can observe. As an undergraduate student, I became fascinated by evolution, the process through which this diversity originated during the history of life. I am particularly interested in reconstructing ancestors of modern animals, organisms that lived in the … Continue reading Reconstructing ancestors: insights from the ocean

Heliconius butterfly

Exploring Chemical Signals in Butterflies

Kathy Darragh, PhD student in the Department of Zoology, writes: Due to the visual nature of humans, when we think of communication in nature, we tend to focus on things we can see. In many groups, however, other types of signals, such as chemicals, are the main form of communication. These chemical signals are harder to detect, and therefore to study, meaning they have received … Continue reading Exploring Chemical Signals in Butterflies

Three Carolina parakeet skins from the Museum of Zoology

Natural History, Extinction, and Storytelling at the Museum of Zoology

In this blog for Lost Species Day 2020, Geography PhD student Anna Guasco explores the question of: How do we tell stories and remember histories about natural history, extinction, and species endangerment in museums – and why does this matter? Today is Remembrance Day for Lost Species, or ‘Lost Species Day’. This label memorialises dodos, thylacines, passenger pigeons, and other icons of extinction – as … Continue reading Natural History, Extinction, and Storytelling at the Museum of Zoology

View of a rainforest in Costa Rica from above

We know conservation is working, but do we really know what works?

Alec Christie, PhD student in the Conservation Evidence group of the Department of Zoology writes: Go to your doctor and they’ll give you the best treatment based on the scientific evidence. So why can’t we do the same for biodiversity? Recently we’ve seen a flurry of important work highlighting the continuing decline of biodiversity, including David Attenborough’s documentary Extinction: the facts. It’s also very encouraging … Continue reading We know conservation is working, but do we really know what works?