Monthly Archive: December Biod

The Rules of Taxonomy: How Species Are Named

Posted: March 15, 2018 - 12:44 , by David McKay
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Phylogenetic Tree of Life

Why should ROM curators care about a proposal to create an organization that would make rules for how species of living things are named?

When Things Go Wrong for Right Whales

Posted: March 8, 2018 - 10:44 , by Hellen Fu
Carcass of right whale floating in ocean, researchers on large dinghy

Guest blog written by Environmental Visual Communication student Viridiana Jimenez

The death of seventeen right whales in 2017 represents a loss of over 3% of the population. The significance of this loss has sent the scientific community into a panic. Their deaths were primarily caused by ship collisions or entanglements with fishing gear. As frequent visitors to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, we must now work together to save this species from extinction.

Presenting our Winners of the 2017 ROM Wildlife Photographer of the Year Contest

Posted: March 3, 2018 - 13:20 , by Cheryl Nichols
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Polar Bear

In celebration of the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, the Ontario-wide ROM Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest returned for its third year – with incredible prizes for both adult and youth categories!

When Whaling is Your Tradition

Posted: February 27, 2018 - 15:35 , by Hellen Fu
Inuit community standing on and near a recently hunted bowhead whale on beach

Guest blog written by Environmental Visual Communication student Ursula McClintock

In some Indigenous communities around the world, whaling is as much a part of their tradition as my family’s turkey dinner at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Whale hunting has played an integral role in feeding Inuit communities for millennia. Bowhead whales, among many other species of whales, were hunted to near extinction at the turn of the 20th century. Yet more often than not, Indigenous communities are cast in the same light as the commercial groups that are responsible for the near collapse of populations of these iconic marine animals.

Trees for Life in Lakefield

Posted: February 8, 2018 - 10:46 , by Hellen Fu
Children playing in a large tree

Guest blog written by Environmental Visual Communication student Fenella Hood

When Rebecca Rose left her home in Leslieville and moved her three young children to the quaint village of Lakefield, she felt secure in the belief that she was improving their lot in life. Then one day a notice was slipped through her door from the Township of Selwyn announcing her next-door neighbour's severance application to build a second house and increase his selling power. His small corner lot boasts a stand of seven mature trees that will need to be cut down to make room for the build. “It felt like being kicked in the stomach. I don't want those trees to die, and I don't want to tell my kids.”

Make Plastic Reduction Part of Your 2018 New Year's Resolutions

Posted: December 29, 2017 - 12:55 , by Stacey Kerr
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Plastic pollution found at Turkey Point on Lake Erie. Photo credit: Cristina Bergman

Guest blog written by 2017 Environmental Visual Communication student Cristina Bergman

Every year, 10,000 tonnes of plastic enters the Great Lakes. Imagine 55 jumbo jets of plastic crash landing in the lakes each year. In this province alone, 3 billion plastic bottles are sold annually, but only half are recycled. The other 1.5 billion bottles end up in landfills or littering the environment. As the only province that borders the Great Lakes, Ontario has an obligation to protect this vast, irreplaceable resource. But is the province stepping up?

The Captivity Debate: Should We Keep Marine Mammals in Tanks?

Posted: December 15, 2017 - 11:10 , by Stacey Kerr
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Chester - a false killer whale at the Vancouver Aquarium. (Credit: Vancouver Aquarium)

Guest blog written by Environmental Visual Communication student Adil Darvesh

In November 2016, Qila and Aurora, two Beluga whales at Vancouver Aquarium, died due to an unknown toxin in their tanks. News of their deaths added to an ongoing debate: Should humans keep marine mammals in captivity for the sake of education and entertainment? Read this blog to learn more about the heated discussion.

From Poop to Plankton: Working Together to Conserve our Ocean’s Gardeners

Posted: November 6, 2017 - 16:41 , by Stacey Kerr
Asha de Vos, P.h.D. holds two bottles of freshly collected blue whale poop off the coast of Sri Lanka. Photo Credit: Oceanswell

Guest blog written by Environmental Visual Communication student Meghan Callon

From the ROM’s recent “Out of the Depths” Blue Whale Exhibition to the upcoming Canada’s Oceans: Towards 2020 Symposium, the ROM has had a big focus on our oceans this year. In fact, there have been many eyes on Canada’s oceans recently. The Society for Marine Mammalogy Conference was held in Halifax, NS, just two weeks ago, bringing together some of the greatest ocean thinkers from around the world. There, Dr. Asha de Vos gave a keynote speech describing her journey to understanding how blue whales act as our ocean’s gardeners. Check out this blog to learn more about the incredible story of blue whale poop and the researcher who studies it!

Awesome Year for Painted Ladies

Posted: September 25, 2017 - 15:19 , by Antonia Guidotti
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“They’re everywhere!”

You may have seen one, two or many of these lovely butterflies in the past week. Maybe in your backyard or in a flower garden or in a park.

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.