Research

Monthly Archive: December Rese

True Blue Detectives

Posted: September 4, 2017 - 12:22 , by Stacey Kerr
ROM technician Oliver Haddrath extracting a DNA sample from blue whale tissue. Photo by Connor McDowell

Guest blog written by 2017 Environmental Visual Communication student Connor McDowell

The Royal Ontario Museum has marked yet another first for science with the Blue Whale Project. This achievement could hold keys to the conservation of this majestic, endangered mammal – not to mention a deeper understanding of the unique evolutionary history of the largest living animal on Earth. The beginning of this story starts two thousand kilometers away, on the shores of Newfoundland, Canada with something so small that you can't see it with the naked eye.

Singing the Blues: The Mystery of B105

Posted: August 9, 2017 - 14:23 , by Stacey Kerr
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A blue whale diving into the Gulf of St Lawrence off the coast of Gaspé. Photo by René Roy

Guest blog written by 2017 Environmental Visual Communication student Viridiana Jimenez

The ocean’s largest and most iconic animal, the blue whale, can produce sounds that cross entire oceans and can be heard from one end of the planet to the other. With humans’ increased presence in the oceans, how are these charismatic giants affected by—and adapting to—our noisy activities? In this blog we follow the story of a single whale, B105 “Invasor”, and muse on how it may have changed its ways to contend with our cacophony.

Sebastian Kvist: Leech Hunter

Posted: October 25, 2016 - 13:34 , by Stacey Kerr
A portrait photo of Sebastian Kvist out in front of a swamp in the field in Minnesota, U.S.A. Photo by Vincent Luk

Guest blog by Environmental Visual Communication student Sally McIntyre

When most people think about the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), they think of dinosaurs or mummies. However, it is the invertebrates that live on the ocean floor and crawl through the soil that make up the most diverse collection at the ROM. So who holds the daunting position of keeper of this vast museum collection? Meet Dr. Sebastian Kvist: Leech Hunter. 

The LMS Lab

Posted: September 6, 2016 - 08:00 , by Brittany Budani
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Three women in a lab running DNA testing

From discovering new species to preserving endangered ones, the ROM’s LMS uses genetic sequencing to study specimens.

The TRCA Calls Upon Batman for Help

Posted: August 18, 2016 - 14:33 , by Stacey Kerr
Dr. Burton Lim (left) and ROM Biodiversity's Nicole Richards (right) walk along the Scarborough Bluffs waterfront en route to one of the three bat detectors. Photo by Filip Szafirowski

It’s been a hot summer, the sun is shining and the Scarborough Bluffs are standing tall above the Lake Ontario shoreline. But they might not be for long. The Scarborough Bluffs in Toronto’s east end are eroding at a rapid rate, increasing the likelihood of slope failure and damage to local species’ habitats. Although the cliffs have been eroding since the 1940s, the view from atop the Bluffs was too enticing to prevent people from further settling there. As houses were feverishly built along the Bluffs, the rate of erosion further accelerated.

Go with the Flow: Technology & Early Glass

Posted: August 5, 2016 - 15:04 , by Robert Mason
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Six-handled green glass jar - Blown glass with trailed handles, Syria - Late Roman - c. 300-425 AD, ROM #909.3.41   - The Walter Massey Collection - Height 12.9cm  Width 9.4cm  Diameter 7.6cm. ROM Photography.

Glass is probably the most fluid of solids. Looking at blown glass, such as that in the ROM's Chihuly exhibition, is like watching movement made still. If you look carefully at the handles of the perfectly preserved handles of this Roman glass vase from Syria (above), it looks as though it is still a fluid, still dynamically moving along its flow. In a way, that is because it is. Glass essentially has the atomic structure of a fluid, but it has been so rapidly cooled that it is essentially stuck in that condition. 
 

Yukon BioBlitz: Strange Things Done in the Midnight Sun

Posted: July 13, 2016 - 17:49 , by Stacey Kerr
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A single bioblitz participant takes notes on top of a ridge in the Dawson Mountain Range near Carmacks, Yukon. Photo by Stacey Lee Kerr

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

The idea of what “midnight sun” really means is rather obscure to the uninitiated traveller. It doesn’t strike home until you’ve been sitting at a picnic table with some entomologists while they pin bees and flies without anything more than the ambient light, and you realize it’s almost midnight when it looks and feels more like 8pm...

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: 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.

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.