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

Animal adventurers banner with illustrations by Pablo Donado Sticky post

Animal Adventurers: the game

The natural world is full of stories to discover. Use the Museum of Zoology collection to explore habitats, complete puzzles and build a team of the animals you meet along the way. Before you begin: Grab a pencil and piece of paper so that you can record your favourite stories or animals while you play. Draw a picture of your ultimate animal team to share … Continue reading Animal Adventurers: the game

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

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?

White admiral on leaf

Provide shady spots to protect butterflies from climate change

Researchers have discovered significant variations in the ability of different UK butterfly species to maintain a suitable body temperature. Species that rely most on finding a suitably shady location to keep cool are at the greatest risk of population decline. The results predict how climate change might impact butterfly communities, and will inform conservation strategies to protect them. The results, published in the Journal of … Continue reading Provide shady spots to protect butterflies from climate change

yellow petaled flower with black yellow bee during daytime

Busy Bee Communication

Ever wondered how bees communicate with each other to work as a team? Learn about the important job these pollinating insects carry out. Play our ‘Talk like a Bee’ game and discover how bees can ‘smell’ each other when visiting flowers, and find out how we can give these insects a helping hand by building your very own bee-friendly winter refuge. Insect communication Insects can … Continue reading Busy Bee Communication

Two images showing the same butterfly species in wet season and dry season

Why do butterflies change their wing pattern with the seasons?

Sridhar Halali, graduate student researcher, writes: “While wandering amid the forests of India, I had always been struck by a few butterfly species, which seemed to exhibit different wing patterns in the wet and dry seasons. This is called ‘seasonal polyphenism’, and I found out subsequently that this phenomenon is one of the adaptations to the seasons experienced in the tropics. The wet season form … Continue reading Why do butterflies change their wing pattern with the seasons?

Conserving Pangolins

Charles Emogor writes: I saw my first live pangolin after almost two decades of being a pangolin enthusiast. This was a special moment especially as the purpose of the field trip in Nigeria’s Cross River National Park was to find and tag white-bellied pangolins to better understand their ranging behaviour and activity patterns. This work is part of my PhD on pangolin ecology and conservation … Continue reading Conserving Pangolins

Copyright All rights reserved by Steve Balcombe

Studying evolution through the specialisations of burying beetles

Swastika Issar, PhD student, writes: “I’ve always been fascinated by how new species can emerge from the way populations adapt to their local environments. For my PhD, I worked on the burying beetles. These incredible insects turn the carcass of a small vertebrate, such as a bird or a mammal, into an edible nest for their larvae. I was interested in studying how local adaptations … Continue reading Studying evolution through the specialisations of burying beetles

Parasitic finches mimic their hosts to deceive foster parents

Gabriel Jamie writes: Research recently published in the journal Evolution shows that the nestlings of brood-parasitic finches mimic the appearance, sound and movements of their host’s chicks. Working in the savannas of Zambia, Dr Gabriel Jamie and a team of international collaborators collected images, sounds and videos over four years to demonstrate this striking and highly specialised form of mimicry. The study, funded by The … Continue reading Parasitic finches mimic their hosts to deceive foster parents

wildflowers in the city (c) Stanley Quek

Singapore’s Nature Ways

Stanley Quek, an MPhil student focusing on assessing the effectiveness of the Nature Ways network in Singapore, writes: Singapore is an island country in the biodiverse region of Southeast Asia. Singapore is also a large city, with urban landscapes dominating the island. In the past, Singapore was completely covered with dense primary forests and mangroves, however, much of that has been lost with the development … Continue reading Singapore’s Nature Ways

Fossil fish specimen

390 million year old fish

To celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month the Museum is sharing the stories of 27 inspirational women, alongside the animals they work with the most. Dr Roz Wade Museum of Zoology “I wasn’t one of those children obsessed with dinosaurs. It was later, at university, that I discovered a love of fossils. I went on to study the Middle Devonian osteolepidid fishes of … Continue reading 390 million year old fish