Amgueddfa Blog

Nearing the four-month mark since I stepped into National Museum Wales for the first day of my Professional Training Year (PTY) placement from Cardiff University, my goal of achieving new experiences in the world of marine invertebrate research is definitely underway. This is now taking form in the way of the Magelonidae, the shovelhead worms, a family of polychaetes with many unanswered questions hovering around them in regards to their ecology, taxonomy and behaviour.

Through starting with live observations in the museum lab in July of Magelona alleni, a rather chunky species of magelonid, my project has developed into some exciting discoveries regarding not only the feeding of these amazing worms, but also how they poo, hence the title of the blog post! As boring as worm defecation sounds, this is not the case when you watch how these amazing animals decide to actually get rid of their dinner (there will be more about the details of this in my next blog post when we have finished working on this interesting behaviour).

These findings have led me down a road of using many new techniques to be able to present my work in a professional and scientific manner. This includes scientific drawing using a camera lucida attachment on a microscope, photography in the way of time-lapse captures, film and image stacking, image editing, reviewing relevant literature, statistical analysis, dissection and SEM (scanning electron microscopy) to name but a few.

In addition to these skills I have learnt much about day to day tasks the museum carries out, including learning methods of curation for an impressive collection of marine invertebrates, holding over 750,000 specimens and having the opportunity to partake in sampling trips to collect more animals for the further development of my project and other projects around the museum. I have also settled into the role of tank maintenance for not only the shovelhead worms, but also some of our resident anemones, hermit crabs, starfish, sea potatoes and prawns. I have even tried my hand at outreach on one of the museum’s stands during the evening event ‘After Dark at the Museum’ with Cardiff University, which saw nearly 2000 people (mainly families) enjoy a hands on experience.

One crucial advantage that I feel I have obtained over these last few months is that I am starting to enjoy a great appreciation for the diversity of life in our seas, from the very tiny, such as organisms like diatoms and foraminiferans to the impressively large, like the young humpback whale skeleton on display in the museum, which I get the pleasure of walking past most days. All in all, my experiences so far have been beyond valuable and who knows what the next few months of research here will bring.

Find out more about how I got on when I first started at the museum

Hello Bulb Buddies,

Thank you for all the work you have done so far and for sharing your photos! It was extremely hard to choose just five winners. The chosen photos are from schools in Wales who are not participating in the Edina extension projects. If you are participating in the Edina Trust extension projects then your photo has been entered into that competition, and the Edina Trust will announce winners soon.

Here are the winning schools:

Ysgol Carreg Emlyn

Severn Primary School

Shirenewton Primary

St Julians Primary

Ysgol Bro Hyddgen

Your prizes will be posted to you soon. Well done Bulb Buddies.

I’d like to send a big thank you to all the schools that have shared photos with us. It has been lovely to see the work that you have been doing, so please continue to share your photos! I will use these in my Blog Posts over the coming weeks.

Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies!

Professor Plant

Archibald H. Lee was the first Secretary appointed to National Museum Wales in 1909 and held the post for 44 years. His professional life began in 1899 when he entered the service of the Cardiff Corporation as a junior clerk in the old Town-hall on St Mary Street. During this time he would have worked on the City’s case for the establishment of a National Museum, so it must have been gratifying for him to join the fledgling staff of the new Museum.

After a few quietly productive years, the outbreak of WWI saw a large number of staff leave the museum for military service and Lee was no exception. He commanded a company of the 5th Welch Regiment and was awarded the Military Cross after the Battle of Gaza.

After the war, Lee resumed his position as Secretary and the Library holds a great number of photographs showing him at the forefront of important events and gatherings. In 1927 the new building at Cathays Park was officially opened by King George V and Queen Mary and Lee lead the Royal party up the steps to officially knock on the door with the ceremonial staff.

He established a life time bond with the Cardiff Naturalists’ Society when he joined in 1909, going on to hold the posts of Honourable Secretary, Council Member, President [1931-2] and finally Honourable Member in 1954. Some highlights during these years were helping to organize and celebrate the Society’s Diamond Jubilee, contributing an article titled Museums in Cardiff for the Society Transactions [1932] and being awarded the Honorary Degree of M.A. by the University of Wales [1937].

During WWII, he was an active member of the 16th Glamorgan Home Guard ‘National Museum Wales Section’. The Museum suffered some damage through enemy air raids on Cardiff and extensive precautions were implemented to protect the collections. These involved the transfer of important specimens to the basement strong room, sandbagging of sculptural and bulky exhibits, the protecting of all glass cases and windows with gummed strips, and night time ‘fire-watch’ duties, all of which  Lee would most likely have been involved in.

In 1953 Lee retired as Secretary with a civic luncheon held in his honour and the award of an O.B. E [Officer of the British Empire].

He passed away in 1970, aged 87 years.

 

We've had a great few days at the museum, being half term we created lots of different art activities for visitrs to try in the 'Who Decides' exhibition. People created monsters and put them on sticks and took photos of their favourite things in the gallery.

Visitors made monsters and photgrpahed them with tehir favourite art

Inspired by the sculpture they made sculptures from pipe cleaners. The Besson ceramics collection let people be creative by making their own designs on plates. The visitors really enjoyed taking part and we had a great time to, talking about the art we've chosen with visitors.

sculptures from pipecleaners

There was a (nice!) mess on the floor afterwards but Mike did a great job clearing up!

A happy mess!

If you took part dont forget to share your photos on social media using #wallichXart

Visitors to the exhibition have left some great messages

There will be lots more events and activities happening in the gallery over the coming months. Check our events web page for more information.

Hi Bulb Buddies!

I hope you all enjoyed your half term holidays!

I want to say a big thank you for all your hard work on planting day. You helped to plant 17,360 bulbs across the country! And from the photos I’ve seen, it looks like you all had a great time doing it!

Weather records should be kept from 6th November. Please make sure that your thermometer and rain gauge are in a suitable place next to your bulbs so that you can begin taking your daily weather readings!

It’s a good idea to practise taking readings beforehand. You can do this by adding water to the rain gauge, noting the measurement and then checking that everyone has taken the same reading!

There is a resource on the website to help you prepare for taking weather records. I’ve attached this here in case you haven’t already seen it! This resource helps you to answer important questions, such as ‘why rain fall and temperature readings are important to our investigation into the effects of climate on the flowering dates of spring bulbs’!

Use your Weather Chart to log the rain fall and temperature every day that you are in school. At the end of each week, log into the Spring Bulbs website to add your weekly readings. You can also leave comments or ask questions for me to answer in my next Blog!

Let me know how you get on! You can share photos with me via email or Twitter.

Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies!

Professor Plant

 

Your comments:

Professor Plant: Thank you for all your lovely comments Bulb Buddies! I'm glad you are enjoying the project, I look forward to seeing your weather readings!

Portpatrick Primary School: Hi Professor Plant, Portpatrick Primary enjoyed planting all our crocus and daffodil bulbs today on our first day back at school for the new term. Watch this space!

Auchenlodment Primary School: Hello Professor Plant, Primary 4 children from Auchenlodment Primary in Renfrewshire,have successfully planted their bulbs today. We are all very excited to see them grow over the next few months!

Pollyplatt Primary School: Pollyplatt Primary School, Scampton, Lancaster & Wolsley class have planted their bulbs today. We are looking forward to spring time and our colourful flowering bulb display.

Potterhanworth Primary School: Hello Professor Plant, We are the children from Potterhanworth Primary School and we have just finished planting our baby bulbs! We are all very excited to see how long it takes for them to begin to grow and flower! Bye, Potterhanworth Primary School.