Cymraeg

Towards the end of last year, staff members from the Amgueddfa Cymru took part in a research ‘Roadshow event’ held at Swansea University.   The event gave a chance to meet academics with shared research interests and discuss potential collaborations between our two institutions, and already the event seems to have nurtured some promising links.

At the event Teresa Darbyshire, our Senior Marine Invertebrate Curator, made contact with Dr. Rich Johnston who is co-director of Swansea University's brand new Advanced Imaging of Materials Centre (AIM), a £9M EPSRC/Welsh Government funded integrated scientific imaging facility for Wales. Following this contact, the opportunity arose for myself, Teresa and Dr. Jana Horak (Head of Mineralogy & Petrology) to visit the centre and see the facilities first hand.

To say we were a little overwhelmed by the centre would be quite an understatement. The centre offers state-of-the-art advanced imaging facilities including including transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Ion beam nanofabrication, X-ray Diffraction (XRD), X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), Energy-Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS), and micro and nano X-ray computed tomography (microCT). Not to mention a full suite of optical imaging and teaching microscopes.

AIM is primarily focused towards engineering and material science, and you may be wondering why they would be keen to collaborate with the Natural Sciences department here at the Museum. Well, part of their research is looking at the structures of biomaterials to learn how naturally occurring materials are formed, and with over 3 million specimens in our Natural Science collections we offer a huge reference library of material, along with the specialist knowledge of our curatorial staff, right on their doorstep. In return, we can benefit from access to their facilities to help us investigate our collections further for our own research and outreach needs, perhaps helping us to discover new species or identify historic conservation work that may have been undertaken on our specimens.

In fact, we are already utilising their MicroCT scanner to digitise a Whelk shell in order to produce a 3D printed replica in transparent material so that we may see how hermit crabs and a species of marine worm co-habit in these shells.  As you can see below, we’ve already digitally scanned the external of the shell here at the museum, but AIM’s MicroCT Scanner will enable us capture all the internal structures as well. We'll post the results when we get the scan back.

 

 

Whilst there, we also had the chance to visit the Virtual Reality (VR) lab to see how digital models produced by microCT or our own 3D scanning facilities could be developed for outreach and learning in a virtual environment. We had the chance to "visit" a virtual museum and see digitised objects in this environment. Although a little disconcerting to start with, once we got familiar with the VR world it really did offer a unique way to visualise objects that otherwise may not be possible. In the future, this technology really could open up new ways for the public engage with our collections.

 

Hello Bulb Buddies,

An exciting number of schools have reported that their Daffodil and Crocus plants are growing. Some schools have noted that their plants look close to flowering. With that in mind it is a good time to discuss the next part of the project –  flower records! There is a resource on the Spring Bulbs for Schools website entitled ‘keeping flower records’. This document tells you how to keep flower records, the equipment you must use and the methods for collecting information.

The resource pack sent to your school in October contained a Crocus flowering chart and a Daffodil flowering chart. You can use these to record the dates that your flowers open and the height of your plants on these dates. You can then enter your flowering date and the height of your plant on this date to the National Museum Wales website. Once the first flowering date has been entered for your school, a flower will appear on the map on the Museum website to show where your school is!

Last year some schools were confused and entered the height of their flowers weekly. You can monitor how tall your plants are growing each week and let me know in the ‘comments’ section when you enter your weekly weather records. But, the ‘flowering date’ and the height of your plant on the day it flowers are to be entered on the NMW website only once the flower has opened. 

Look at the picture of Daffodils at St Fagans National History Museum. This picture was taken on a cold day, so the flowers haven’t fully opened. But you can still tell which ones have flowered by looking closely at the picture. If you can clearly see all of the petals then your plant has flowered. Before flowering the petals are held tight in a protective casing. 

The picture to the right shows a flower bud. Once the flower has matured inside the bud (and the weather is warm enough) the casing will begin to open. This can take a few hours or a few days! If you watch your plants carefully you might see this happening! Once you can see all of your petals and the casing isn’t restricting them at all you can measure the flowers height and enter your findings on the website.

Have you compared the heights of the flowers in your class? Are there big differences in the size and maturity of the plants, or are they all very similar? What about the plants planted in the ground? Are these any bigger than the ones in your plant pots? Why do you think this is? You can let me know your thoughts in the ‘comments’ section when you enter your weekly weather records!

Once the bulbs start to grow send your stories and pictures to our bulb-blog and follow Professor Plant on Twitter

Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies!

 

Thank you for updating me on how your plants are doing Bulb Buddies:

Ysgol Deganwy: Most of the plants have started to grow.

Henllys CIW Primary: About all the bulbs have sprouted.

Ysgol Pentrefoelas: Dim glaw. Braf efo awyr goch bob nos a bob bore! Deilen 3 Cenin wedi dod i'r golwg yn y potiau. Wedi bod yn gynnes a phawb yn chwarae "British Buldogs" bob dydd heb gotiau!

Carnbroe Primary School: The week started off really cold and frosty but as the week went on the temperature rose and we had some rain. More shoots are beginning to bud. We are hoping that our bulbs will flower soon.

Arkholme CE Primary School: It has been wet and mild this week, and most of the bulbs have sprouted already. The crocus bulbs and daffodils have sprouted as well as the ones in the pots, and the ones in the ground have grown the quickest as well. Best wishes E and A.

Trellech Primary School: We have noticed that our bulbs have started to appear above the soil. We think it is because it has been a lot milder this week.

Trellech Primary School: We really enjoyed collecting the data.

Our Lady of Peace Primary School: I can't believe it is nearly over. We are enjoying it.

Auchenlodment Primary School: We have started to measure the shoots and are excited to see how they grow. 2 of the mystery bulbs have just started to sprout. No sign of the daffodils we planted in the ground.

Boston West Academy: This week we only have two more to start sprouting; it’s also been very cold and hot but also very wet. One of our mystery bulbs are nearly starting to flower☺!!!

St Robert's R.C Primary School: It's been a dry week this week. There a few signs of growing!

Ysgol Deganwy: Nearly all of the plants are growing.

Carnbroe Primary School: We didn't have lots of rain this week and it was very cold. Our bulbs are beginning to sprout.

Tonyrefail Primary School: On Tuesday we noticed 4 of our Daffodil plants have stated to push up through the soil. Yeay!

Garstang St. Thomas' CE Primary School: We've had some frosty mornings but our daffodils are still starting to appear through the soil. The ones in the garden are growing faster!

Henllys CIW Primary: It was pretty cold but no rain. Quite a few plants are growing!

St. Nicholas Primary School: The bulbs have sprouted.

Arkholme CE Primary School: This week has been dry and cold. We have been checking our bulbs all week but because of the cold they haven't grown much. Have a good week.

Ysgol Deganwy: The plants have started to grow and it's been super cold!

St Ronan's Primary School: Most of the daffodil in pots, are at least 2 to 3 cm.

 

From 6 to 10 February there will be a week long colouring-fest happening on social media.

Led by the New York Academy of Medicine Library, who first launched the campaign last year, libraries, archives, and museums around the world are sharing free colouring sheets based on materials in their collections. Users are invited to download and print the sheets and share their filled-in images on social media, using the hashtag #ColorOurCollections (because the campaign launched in America most institutions are using the American spelling of colour!). Last year, more than 210 libraries and cultural institutions participated.

So for this year we have put together a small colouring book based on a few of our favourite rare books from the Willoughby Gardner collection on early natural history.

Download the book here [PDF] –  and let us see your creative skills!

Post images of your coloured pages on social media with the hashtags #lliwioeincasgliadau or #colorourcollections and tag us in @Amgueddfa_Lib

And don’t forget to check out which other institutions around the world are taking part using the #colorourcollections hashtag or visiting the website of the New York Academy of Medicine

Happy colouring!!

I have been specialising in a group of marine bristleworms called magelonids for the last 17 years. Magelonids are known as shovelhead worms due to their distinctive spade-like heads that they use to dig in the soft sediments in which they live. Shovelhead worms have a world-wide distribution, generally living in shallow waters, although a few deep water species are known. I study the taxonomy of the group - a branch of science concerned with the classification of all living things, involving describing species, some which may be new to science. Principally I have worked on specimens from Europe, the Indian Ocean and the seas surrounding the Arabian Peninsula. However, more recently I have also been studying the behaviour of this fascinating group, investigating how they feed, burrow and move etc.

I was invited to colloborate with the University Museum of Bergen (UMB), Norway back in 2013 to work on shovelhead worms from Western Africa. The project, The Marine Invertebrates of Western Africa aims to investigate seabed samples from the West African continental shelf from Morocco to Angola. Very little is known about the shovelhead worms of this region, with only three species currently described, all from South Africa. Therefore I visited the lab at UMB to work with the team back in 2015 on MIWA material. The results from that trip were very exciting and approximately 20 different species of shovelhead worms were found in the material, many of which were likely to be new to science. Whilst work on these specimens carried on back at National Museum Cardiff, it was felt that it would be beneficial to re-vist Bergen to carry on the colloborative work. So consequently UMB invited me back to work with them once more this January. So for the last two weeks I have been studying more material from the region in order to find specimens for DNA analysis. DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) is found inside every cell of every living thing and is different in every individual. We can use DNA analysis to see the difference between very similar looking animals and thus we can see whether animals belong to the same or different species. We can then compare this information to what the species looks like (morphology). We have now selected 74 specimens which will be sent off for DNA sequencing and hopefully the results from that will come back shortly.

In the mean time work will begin on drawing, describing and imagining all the shovelhead worms from Western Africa. It is likely that there will be many new species within these samples, so we will need to decide on names for all of them and these will then be published in scientific papers. Once published this information will be used for example, by people monitoring the health of the seabed within this region.

To read more about the work on MIWA shovelhead worms click here 

 

 

Hi Bulb Buddies,

Thank you to those of you who have shared your photos, I’ve posted some of these to the right. It’s exciting that some of your plants have started sprouting. In my last Blog I asked whether you thought that the Crocus or Daffodil would flower first. Now I thought we could take a closer look at the plants themselves, to help us decipher which is which. I’ve attached photos of a young Crocus plant and Daffodils to the right, these are labelled so that you can tell which is which. What are the differences between these two plants?  

Can you tell whether your Daffodil, Crocus or both are sprouting? How tall are they? It’s interesting to compare the height of the two plants, and to see how much they grow each week.

Watch your plants closely so that you can record the date that your plant flowers, and it’s height on that day. You can then upload your flower record to the website. There’s a resource entitled ‘Keeping Flower Records’ under ‘Teaching Resources’ on the Spring Bulbs webpage: https://museum.wales/spring-bulbs/

Another resource that would be interesting to use now that you can see your plants are growing is  ‘Make your own mini-origami booklet’. This resource looks at the lifecycle of a bulb.

If you complete any of the activities from the website or create your own in class, please share them with us. It’s always interesting to see the work you are doing.

Thank you for sending in your weather updates. I’ve answered some of your comments below.

Your comments:

Comments about the weather:

Ysgol Pentrefoelas: Dim llawer o law a chynnes. Pawb yn ymarfer pel-droed at y twrnament ac felly yn gallu bod allan bob dydd. Llawer o blant wedi cael balaclafas capiau anifeiliaid i gadw eu pennau'n gynnes.

Athro’r Ardd: Gobeithio gwnaethoch yn dda yn y twrnamaint! Rwy’n hoffi meddwl am bawb rhedeg o gwmpas hefo capiau anifeiliaid gwahanol! Am anrhegion da i gael am Nadolig!

Arkholme CE Primary School: We had quite a wet week. It was fairly warm and some bulbs are sprouting from last year.

Broad Haven Primary School: We hoped we would have snow. But we just had a really cold wind -Northerly- and a bit of sleet. The sea was very rough and the waves came over the road.

Darran Park Primary: The temperature has lowered throughout the week. There has been a little amount of rain.

YGG Tonyrefail: It wasn't very wet this week but it was quiet warm.

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: Hello, the mornings of this week have been very cold and icy. We have had a rainy week this week. bye,bye

Auchenlodment Primary School: It has been a very warm week even though it's January!

Broad Haven Primary School: A cloudy week until today it is very sunny but cold

Comments about the project:

Ysgol Bro Ogwr: Yr wythnos yma fe dorrodd y dyfais i gasglu dwr ar ddydd Iau pan ddaeth y glaw. Roedd split ynddo a mae'r athro wedi defnyddio duct tape i rhoi fe yn ol at ei gilydd. Fe all hyn olygu bod ein canlyniadau ni ddim yn hollol gywir.

Athro’r Ardd: Diolch am roi gwybod am y broblem. Da iawn i'ch athro am drwsio’r mesurydd glaw . Gadewch i mi wybod os ydych yn angen mesurydd glaw newydd.

Comments about your plants:

Ysgol Pennant: Maer bylbiau yn dechrau tyfu!

St Clare's Catholic Primary School: Some of our bulbs have started to shoot this week!

Ladygrove Park Primary School: nothing growing yet

Professor Plant: Don’t worry Bulb Buddies, I’m sure you will see something soon!

Garstang St. Thomas' CE Primary School: It was a really rainy week but it was quite warm outside. We have noticed some of our bulbs are growing because we can see pointy green shoots poking through the soil!

Arkholme CE Primary School: The bulbs in the pots are just starting to sprout and look healthy. We have just noticed that last years plants are also growing. As usual the days in January have been wet so we think that helped them to grow.

Henllys CIW Primary: Our biggest plant is a daffodil that is 2.5 cm tall.