KATV: Zoos using social media to delight, raise money amid virus

KATV: Zoos using social media to delight, raise money amid virus. “Social media is one way zoos worldwide are engaging with people who can no longer visit — their main source of income — and raise some much-needed cash. Zoos and aquariums have brought adorable distraction by posting photos and videos of animals, but the closures mean they’re still in jeopardy. While a smattering of zoos, from Utah to Germany, have started reopening with social distancing rules, there’s no telling when they will reach their usual levels of visitors and revenue. Besides jobs, the well-being of the animals is at stake.”

EurekAlert: A new use for museum fish specimens

EurekAlert: A new use for museum fish specimens. “The discoloured fish that rest in glass jars in museums across the world are normally used by specialists as references to study the traits that identify certain species. But a new study proposes an additional use for such ‘samples.’ Published in the Journal of Applied Ichthyology, the paper suggests using such specimens to estimate the length-weight relationships of fish that are hard to find alive in their natural environment.”

Phys .org: Global database of all bird species shows how body shape predicts lifestyle

Phys .org: Global database of all bird species shows how body shape predicts lifestyle. “A global team of researchers, led by Imperial College London and University College London, visited museums around the world to find specimens of nearly 10,000 species, covering more than 99 percent of all known bird species. Their results, and the database, are published today in Nature Ecology and Evolution. The link between body form of each animal species and aspects of their lifestyle, including diet, has previously been proposed, but this is the first time it has been confirmed at such a large scale and with such precise detail.”

Boing Boing: AI generates old-fashioned zoological illustrations of beetles

Boing Boing: AI generates old-fashioned zoological illustrations of beetles. “These beetles do not exist: Confusing Coleopterists is an AI trained on illustrations from zoological textbooks. The extreme formality of this art genre, and its placement within the public domain, makes it uniquely apt to the medium of generative adversarial networks: ‘Results were interesting and mesmerising.'”

Phys.org: New VR game to help researchers understand predator and prey movements

Phys .org: New VR game to help researchers understand predator and prey movements. “Researchers have developed a free virtual reality game which allows players to experience the thrill of the hunt as a hungry predator feasting on swarming flies. The VR game, called FlyCatcher, has been created by scientists from the University of Lincoln, UK, to help enhance understanding of the erratic, evasive movement of fleeing prey.”

CBC: Research, photos of Manitoba tundra open to public

CBC: Research, photos of Manitoba tundra open to public. “An archive of photos and research of plants and animals in Manitoba’s tundra are now available online, providing public access to decades of Churchill, Man., history. Professors from York University in Toronto are in the town 1,000 kilometres north of Winnipeg this week to share the Churchill Community of Knowledge — a digital archive that more than 50 York University students have been putting together since 2011.”

Newswise: Museums Put Ancient DNA to Work for Wildlife

Newswise: Museums Put Ancient DNA to Work for Wildlife. “Scientists who are trying to save species at the brink of extinction are finding help in an unexpected place. Heather Farrington, curator of zoology for the Cincinnati Museum Center, is using DNA from specimens collected more than 100 years ago to help understand the evolution and stresses faced by today’s animals.”

Natural History Museum Blog: Digitising Butterfly types of the 21st century |Digital Collections Programme

Natural History Museum Blog: Digitising Butterfly types of the 21st century |Digital Collections Programme. “Some of the Museum’s invaluable butterfly reference material, previously only accessible to a handful of scientists, has been released onto the Museum’s Data Portal. Over 90% of these specimens were designated as types in the 21st Century, but this is the first time that images of many of these species have been freely accessible to the global community.”

Cook Islands News: UK team works on CI database

New-to-me and apparently being revamped. Cook Islands News: UK team works on CI database. “Zoologist McCormack has been the lead researcher contributing to the Cook Islands Biodiversity and Ethnobiology Database (CIBED) since his arrival in the Cook Islands in 1980. He is set to travel to England for three months to work with Michael D. Fischer, who is a professor of Anthropological Sciences at the University of Kent, to work on an updated version of the online database as part of the Cook Islands Natural Heritage Project.”

Florida Museum: New Data Platform Illuminates History Of Humans’ Environmental Impact

Florida Museum: New Data Platform Illuminates History Of Humans’ Environmental Impact. “The human environmental footprint is not only deep, but old. Ancient traces of this footprint can be found in animal bones, shells, scales and antlers at archaeological sites. Together, these specimens tell the millennia-long story of how humans have hunted, domesticated and transported animals, altered landscapes and responded to environmental changes such as shifting temperatures and sea levels. Now, that story is available digitally through a new open-access data platform known as ZooArchNet, which links records of animals across biological and archaeological databases.”

University of Michigan: Historical Letters In U-M Zoology Museum Archive Highlight Links Between Specimen Collection, Conservation

University of Michigan: Historical Letters In U-M Zoology Museum Archive Highlight Links Between Specimen Collection, Conservation . “Clark Schmutz spent more than 100 hours last semester reading and digitally scanning hundreds of letters in the correspondence files of the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology’s mammal collections, which date back to the 1800s. The scanning project is a multiyear effort to make the museum’s correspondence files available online. For Schmutz, who graduated in December with a double major in English and ecology, evolution and biodiversity, it was also an opportunity to search for intriguing stories that illustrate the links between museum collections and conservation.”

iDog: An Integrated Resource for Domestic Dogs and Wild Canids (Beijing Institute of Genomics)

Beijing Institute of Genomics: iDog: An Integrated Resource for Domestic Dogs and Wild Canids. “iDog was developed in the BIG Data Center at Beijing Institute of Genomics (BIG), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), in cooperation with Kunming Institute of Zoology, and was published online in Nucleic Acids Research. The iDog is the first integrated resource dedicated to domestic dogs and wild canids, providing a variety of data services and online analysis tools to dog researchers around the world.” I browsed iDog very briefly and everything I saw was in English.

The Local Denmark: Denmark’s plants and wildlife to get own website

The Local Denmark: Denmark’s plants and wildlife to get own website. “A new website entitled Danmarks Artsportal, to be launched in 2020, will provide nature enthusiasts with a guide to animals and plants in the Scandinavian country. The web portal, which will be produced by the Natural History Museum of Denmark and the Environmental Protection Agency, will collate public and private data on species of wildlife prevalent in Denmark, the Ministry for the Environment and Food announced in a press statement.”

Smithsonian Libraries Unbound: Digital Archives, Records Management, And Organizing Digital Assets At The Zoo

Smithsonian Libraries Unbound: Digital Archives, Records Management, And Organizing Digital Assets At The Zoo. “What do most people picture when they imagine an archive? Probably a grand building with old, precious documents like the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration building in downtown D.C. Some people think of the movie National Treasure. But, not every archive holds centuries-old documents. Some archives are for the preservation and access of our digital lives and collections. At the Smithsonian’s National Zoo Exhibits Office, those daily-used files relate to the information and interpretive materials that are created for the different exhibits and animals housed in the Zoo. The many species of animals and information about them have to be presented to Zoo visitors in a way that is both accessible and appealing. Not everyone knows the history or science behind every animal. Exhibits provide that information!”