Natural History

Monthly Archive: December natu

BioBlitz at the Edge of Beringia

Posted: June 22, 2016 - 22:40 , by Stacey Kerr
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The Northern Lights over Fish Lake near Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. Photo by Anthony DeLorenzo via Wikimedia Commons

Blog by Stacey Lee Kerr, Biodiversity Storyteller / Creative Producer for the ROM's Centre for Biodiversity

What makes the Yukon a special place for the Biological Survey of Canada to conduct a bioblitz?

Behind the Blitz: The Heart of the Data

Posted: June 1, 2016 - 22:11 , by Stacey Kerr
Angela Telfer, database coordinator for the Ontario BioBlitz program sits hard at work at a computer in the middle of the species depot during the 2015 event. Photo by Stacey Lee Kerr

Guest blog by Angela Telfer, the Data Management Lead for Bio-Inventory and Collections Unit of the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO), and Database Coordinator for the Ontario BioBlitz program

Ever wonder what happens to all those observations made at the Ontario BioBlitz? Where do your species lists and iNaturalist observations go? Angela has those answers and some tips for making sure that everyone's hard work collecting data in the field is preserved and accessible to everyone for years to come.

Behind the Blitz: Eye to Eye with a Bat

Posted: May 25, 2016 - 22:50 , by Stacey Kerr
A young girl named Saskia peers closely at the bat being held in the hands of ROM mammalogist Burton Lim. The scene is illuminated by headlamp. Photo by Kendra Marjerrison

Blog by Environmental Visual Communication alumnus / Ontario BioBlitz Communications Assistant Fatima Ali

The second of four blogs in our Ontario BioBlitz: Behind the Blitz series introduces us to Saskia, a ten-year-old natural history enthusiast who was a participant in the Guided Blitz at the 2015 Don Watershed Ontario BioBlitz event. Watch a video about her experience as she follows ROM mammalogist Burton Lim into the woods with her group to capture and identify some bats!

Behind the Blitz: Three Young Scientists

Posted: May 19, 2016 - 20:25 , by Stacey Kerr
Wide view of the species depot at the 2015 Ontario BioBlitz, where scientists bring back specimens to examine and identify along tables with microscopes and field guides. Photo by Krystal Seedial

Blog by Nadine Leone, ROM Hands-on Biodiversity Gallery Assistant Coordinator 

The first of four blogs in our Ontario BioBlitz: Behind the Blitz series is an interview with three young ROM scientists, who share their favourite highlights from last year's event in the Don Watershed.

Five Answers to WP "Y?"

Posted: March 18, 2016 - 12:19 , by Stacey Kerr
A red fox carries the smaller body of an arctic fox in its mouth that it has hunted and killed. The 2015 winning photo by Canadian Don Gutoski of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest

Guest Blog written by Environmental Visual Communication student Jessica Gordon

We live in an age where almost anyone with a cell phone can take a picture and share it with everyone almost instantly. In spite of this we continue to take and fall in love with photos of nature and the wildlife that surrounds us. We continue to push the boundaries of where we can go while taking cameras along with us. The question becomes: why do we still carry on the tradition? Why is wildlife photography so important to us? Here are five answers to the question, "why?".

Wildlife Photography: Behind the Camera

Posted: March 15, 2016 - 12:24 , by Stacey Kerr
A bolt of lightning streaks across a purple sky over the mountains and rainforests of Sri Lanka

Guest Blog written by Environmental Visual Communication students Aisha Parkhill-Goyette and Jeff Dickie

Imagine you are deep in the jungle of Sri Lanka. You find yourself blinded by the pouring rain, knee deep in a rushing river, desperately trying not to fall in. Lightning strikes only meters away, but instead you are worried about the small tickle by your left elbow, and you are hoping that it is not one of the dozens of land leeches that keep falling onto you from the trees above. Not everyone has what it takes to be a wildlife photographer. It takes a special kind of dedication and a special kind of person - someone who is just as wild as the creatures they are trying to capture on camera.

EVC Students Jeff and Aisha interviewed a pair of up-and-coming wildlife photographers who travelled with ROM mammalogist Burton Lim to Sri Lanka last fall, to share some stories about what it's like behind the camera.

How Drone Photography is Saving Wildlife

Posted: March 3, 2016 - 15:41 , by Stacey Kerr
Research conducted by scientists from the NOAA Fisheries and the Vancouver Aquarium using the hexacopter to capture images of killer whales to assess their health. Photo from NOAA Fisheries.

Guest Blog written by Environmental Visual Communication student Lisa Milosavljevic

A number of photos in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibit make use of aerial photography techniques, including the use of drone photography. There is also a growing demand for its use in professional and academic fields as people are recognizing how drones can be a valuable tool in their work; one of these areas is wildlife conservation. Here we are going to look at the different ways in how drone photography is saving wildlife around the world, as well as some of the controversies and questions that this developing technology raises.

Have you got 15 minutes to be part of something BIG?

Posted: February 11, 2016 - 16:46 , by Stacey Kerr
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White-breasted Nuthatch, common bird of Toronto.  Photo by Mark Peck

Guest blog written by Bird Studies Canada's Toronto Projects Coordinator, Emily Rondel

What if you could be part of a global conservation project by standing in your yard (or local park, or well…anywhere) for 15 minutes? This coming Family Day weekend (Feb 12-15), be part of the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), a four day worldwide “blitz” of wild birds. The GBBC is an invaluable snapshot of worldwide bird abundance and distribution; and it’s only possible due to the participation of tens of thousands of “citizen scientist” volunteers around the globe. 

Mexican Cartel lands are home to a newly described species: Goode’s Thornscrub Tortoise

Posted: February 10, 2016 - 12:00 , by Dave Ireland
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A new species of tortoise named Goode’s Thornscrub Tortoise, described today by Dr. Robert (Bob) Murphy and colleagues in the Journal ZooKeys. Photo taken in Reserva Monte Mojino, Sonora, Mexico, 24 August, 2013 Photo by Taylor Edwards

ROM curator of reptiles and amphibians, Dr. Bob Murphy and a team of international scientists use leading edge genetic techniques and dangerous fieldwork activities to describe a new species of tortoise in Mexico and shine light on the conservation status of other rare and threatened tortoises from the region

Photographer thoughts: A conversation with Mark Peck

Posted: January 26, 2016 - 17:38 , by Stacey Kerr
An adult blue jay rests on a branch in the winter season in Ontario. Photo by Mark Peck

Guest Blog written by Environmental Visual Communication student Fatima Ali

In spite of his “im-peck-able” career as an ornithology technician in the Department of Natural History at the ROM, Mark Peck is also a world traveller and an avid natural history photographer with a special interest in breeding and nesting birds. Fatima interviewed Mark to get his thoughts on what it is that drives his passion for photographing birds and other wildlife.