University of St Andrews
 
 

School of Biology News Centre

item 953
[18-03-2012 to 20-05-2012]

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News Item:
Snake vs cyclops

An exhibition commemorating the centenary of the Bell Pettigrew Museum of Natural History will open to the public this weekend at the University of St Andrews’ Gateway Gallery.

From Saturday 17 March all are welcome to come and marvel at the strange, exotic and shocking treasures of natural history stored within the Bell Pettigrew collection – many of which are normally hidden from public view. These include wonders such as a stuffed cyclopic piglet from the 19th century and the plaster cast of rattlesnake from Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show's 1904 tour of Scotland. An American soldier, bison hunter and showman – Buffalo Bill was one of the most colourful characters to come out of the Old West and famous for his touring cowboy exhibitions.

The ‘Still Life: 100 years of the Bell Pettigrew Museum’ exhibition aims to tell the story of the University’s collections from the foundation of the St Andrews Literary and Philosophical Society in 1838, to the present day. Bones, fossils, books, pictures, photographs and diagrams are all part of the narrative.

The Bell Pettigrew Museum's official birthday is 14 September 1911, when the University celebrated its 500th anniversary. Its doors first opened to host the Quincentenary banquet. Today, as the University celebrates its 600th anniversary, the menu from that event will also be on display.

The exhibition also provides an opportunity to view photographic works by Sean Dooley, of Cellardyke, who is currently working on a project based on rare and endangered species.

Boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen: all are free to attend the exhibition which will run from 17 March to 19 May, Monday-Friday: 9am-5pm; Saturday: 12 noon-4pm.

see here for further details
contact: Dr Martin Milner


 

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    The Western Atlantic population of Red Knot (Calidris canutus rufa) has undergone dramatic declines in recent decades and conservation biologists have sought to improve knowledge about the species’ ecology in an effort to address these declines.  One major information gap has been the lack of good information to describe range and habitat use during the breeding season, when the species is distributed sparsely across the Canadian Arctic. Airborne radio-telemetry surveys and intensive field surveys were conducted across the central Canadian Arctic to locate breeding Red Knots and record characteristics of their nesting habitat. Maximum entropy modeling (MaxEnt) and geographic information system (GIS) data on environmental characteristics were used to predict Red Knot habitat suitability at two spatial scales: of nesting site location suitability at the landscape scale across Southampton Island, and of breeding habitat suitability (i.e., both nesting and foraging habitat) at a broader, regional scale across the central Canadian Arctic. I will examine the relative influence of different environmental characteristics on the predictions of this model of habitat suitability, comment on the bias inherent in such efforts for a sparsely distributed and difficult-to-study species like the Red Knot, and discuss the implications of the results for conservation and future status assessments of other low density shorebird species.


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