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

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

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

A cleared and stained backbone from a hatchling skate. Red staining indicates mineralised cartilage and blue staining indicates unmineralised cartilage.

Segmentation of the backbone

Kate Criswell, Postdoctoral Research Associate, writes: One of the key features that distinguishes vertebrate animals from our invertebrate cousins (such as insects and molluscs) is a backbone, or a series of vertebrae that run the length of the body. These vertebrae can range in number from only nine in frogs to over 300 in elongate animals like snakes and eels! They are important for providing … Continue reading Segmentation of the backbone

Oil palm (c) Valentine Reiss-Woolever

Palm oil boycotts may block the path to sustainability

Valentine Reiss-Woolever, a PhD student in the Insect Ecology Group, writes: Bamboo straws, Nordic flight shame, and reusable tote bags – environmentally minded consumption is increasingly common. A buzzword in recent years, “conscientious consumption” describes our attempts to spend money with an awareness of how our choices affect the world outside of ourselves. At the start of 2020, 64% of Germans said “living more sustainably” … Continue reading Palm oil boycotts may block the path to sustainability

Photograph taken with lense half-way into river water

Can how we manage agriculture’s impact on insects and biodiversity?

Martina Harianja, PhD student, writes: Imagine that you were eight times as big as a grain of sugar, and you live in a fast-flowing stream. To get food, you need to swim against the current. What properties would need to accomplish this?  Semi-aquatic bugs in the genus of Rhagovelia offer a brilliant approach. Their body length ranges from two to four millimetres as an adult, and … Continue reading Can how we manage agriculture’s impact on insects and biodiversity?

Looking over Stave Hill (c) Ella Henry

The lesser known ecological parks of London

Ella Henry, undergraduate student, writes: A concrete jungle. The constant chorus of cars and buses. Streams of artificial light from headlights, street lamps and buildings. Flocks of people everywhere. London, along with many other cities, is probably not the first place you would associate with the word ‘biodiversity’. Nevertheless, returning to London during the lockdown period has led me to appreciate its nature-engagement spaces, which … Continue reading The lesser known ecological parks of London

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

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

Bird perching under woven nest

How a weaverbird outsmarts a cuckcoo

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 Jenny York Department of Zoology “Right now, I am studying the conspicuous nests built by male African weaverbirds. These work marvellously to woo females, who carefully inspect the nests before choosing their favourite and mating with the … Continue reading How a weaverbird outsmarts a cuckcoo

Zebra in

Can you tell a zebra by its stripes?

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 Rebecca Smith Department of Zoology “Cape mountain zebras declined to fewer than 80 animals in the 1950s. Following conservation initiatives, by 2000 there were around 1,600 animals, but the subspecies was still listed as Endangered. To help … Continue reading Can you tell a zebra by its stripes?

polecat Copyright All rights reserved by StanHornagold

Bringing polecats back to Britain

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 Katie Sainsbury Department of Zoology “For my PhD, I researched ecological and social aspects of the changing status of polecats in Great Britain. Since almost being eradicated from Britain in the nineteenth century, polecats have been recolonising … Continue reading Bringing polecats back to Britain

Jen Smart looking at landscape through a long lense

Reversing the decline of priority species

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 Jennifer Smart RSPB “Species conservation is at the heart of everything I do, and my favourite group of birds are waders like the black-tailed godwit. I work for the RSPB where as a scientist, I was trying … Continue reading Reversing the decline of priority species