Natural History

Monthly Archive: December Natu

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!

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.

Hippos and Whales: Unlikely Cousins

Posted: August 24, 2017 - 13:32 , by Stacey Kerr
Whales and hippos share a common ancestor. Photo by: http://www.statedclearly.com/

Guest blog written by Environmental Visual Communication student Natasha Hirt

What do hippos and whales have in common? A tonne. It may seem surprising that hippos are the closest living relative to whales. At the ROM's Blue Whale Exhibition, visitors can explore what whales and other marine mammals looked like over 50 million years ago. 

Our Future is Deep in the Ocean

Posted: August 15, 2017 - 13:36 , by Stacey Kerr
蓝鲸展馆的由来。| Entrance to the Blue Whale Exhibition. 照片由吴昊康 | Photo by Shawn Wu

Guest blog written by 2017 Environmental Visual Communication student Shawn Wu 

Written in Mandarin, this is a story about the Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story exhibition and the powerful role these magnificent creatures play in our oceans.  

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.

The Woman Behind the Biggest Heart in the World

Posted: August 2, 2017 - 19:12 , by Stacey Kerr
ROM Mammalogy technician Jacqueline Miller with sword in hand in a fencing match - always up for a challenge. Photo credit Jacqueline Miller

Guest Blog written by 2017 Environmental Visual Communication student Fenella Hood

Knife in hand and knee-deep in rotting blubber, Jacqueline Miller is about to do something that has never been done before: carve out a blue whale's heart for preservation. Enveloped in its stench and racing against decay, she cuts deep into the tissue beneath, sure in her knowledge of anatomy but ever wondering: Will this even work? Read on to learn more about one of the team members behind the world's biggest heart in this blog by EVC student Fennella Hood.

A Superior BioBlitz

Posted: July 27, 2017 - 15:46 , by Stacey Kerr
The insect team travels with nets in hand on a chilly morning towards the dock. Photo by Adil Darvesh

Guest blog written by 2017 Environmental Visual Communication student Adil Darvesh

Most BioBlitzes tend to span a 24-hour period, but this was no typical BioBlitz. Read on to see what made the Big Trout Bay BioBlitz on the North shore of Lake Superior different!

The Journey of the Lost Water Bottle

Posted: July 18, 2017 - 19:03 , by Stacey Kerr
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A photo of the skyline where a plastic water bottle stands next to Toronto’s CN Tower. Photo credit: Cristina Bergman

Guest blog written by 2017 Environmental Visual Communication student Cristina Bergman

I will travel the ocean for hundreds of years. I will see more wildlife and more extinction in my lifetime than any human that has ever walked the earth. I fit in your hand, but can be more powerful than a blue whale. I am a plastic water bottle and this is my story.

5 reasons to be excited for BioBlitz Canada 150 in Rouge National Urban Park

Posted: June 2, 2017 - 21:07 , by Stacey Kerr
Two young girls peer into a jar at the insect they just captured with a net during a bioblitz. Photo by David Coulson

While intensive biological surveying has taken place in the Rouge Valley before, this was before the creation of Rouge National Urban Park and a doubling in the park’s size. We are keen to make history by bringing this amazing citizen science event to Canada’s first and only national urban park for the very first time! 

Here are five reasons to be excited about Bioblitz Canada 150 in Rouge National Urban Park, written by Guest Author Omar McDadi from Parks Canada

Who sings for blues? How Blue Whales became ingredients in everyday products

Posted: June 2, 2017 - 16:38 , by Stacey Kerr
A photo of a canister of Canadian Blue Whale Brand Fertilizer - made from blue whale products in the 1950s. Photo by Katherine Ing

Living in Ontario, the Blue Whale in the vast ocean may seem a distant thought from our daily lives. But our history with these animals is more intertwined than we realize - for example, would you ever use fertilizer in your garden made from blue whales? Canadians used to! Read this guest blog post by ROM Biodiversity / Blue Whale team member Katherine Ing to find out a bit more about the other ways whale products became a part of everyday life during the peak of industrial whaling, and what that means for modern global whale conservation.