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The Natural History Museum is an international leader in the study of the natural world. Our science describes the diversity of nature, promotes an understanding of its past, and supports the anticipation and management of the impact of human activity on the environment.
The Museum's repository provides free access to publications produced by more than 300 scientists working here. Researchers at the Museum study a diverse range of issues, including threats to Earth's biodiversity, the maintenance of delicate ecosystems, environmental pollution and disease. The accessible repository showcases this broad research output.
The repository was launched in 2016 with an initially modest number of journal publications in its database. It now includes book chapters and blogs from Museum scientists.
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CladisticsCladistics is a class of methods of biological classification that groups taxa hierarchically into discrete sets and subsets. This article presents the principles and concepts of cladistics and describes the principal analytical methods. The operations by which observations of organisms are coded for analysis are explained, followed by the methods for reconstructing the hierarchical relationships among taxa (usually expressed as branching diagrams termed cladograms). Statistics and principles for determining the degree of fit between data and cladograms are discussed, which permit choices to be made among competing cladograms.
Thermodynamic controls on element partitioning between titanomagnetite and andesitic–dacitic silicate meltsTitanomagnetite–melt partitioning of Mg, Mn, Al, Ti, Sc, V, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Ga, Zr, Nb, Mo, Hf and Ta was investigated experimentally as a function of oxygen fugacity (fO2) and temperature (T) in an andesitic–dacitic bulk-chemical compositional range. In these bulk systems, at constant T, there are strong increases in the titanomagnetite–melt partitioning of the divalent cations (Mg2+, Mn2+, Co2+, Ni2+, Zn2+) and Cu2+/Cu+ with increasing fO2 between 0.2 and 3.7 log units above the fayalite–magnetite–quartz buffer. This is attributed to a coupling between magnetite crystallisation and melt composition. Although melt structure has been invoked to explain the patterns of mineral–melt partitioning of divalent cations, a more rigorous justification of magnetite–melt partitioning can be derived from thermodynamic principles, which accounts for much of the supposed influence ascribed to melt structure. The presence of magnetite-rich spinel in equilibrium with melt over a range of fO2 implies a reciprocal relationship between a(Fe2+O) and a(Fe3+O1.5) in the melt. We show that this relationship accounts for the observed dependence of titanomagnetite–melt partitioning of divalent cations with fO2 in magnetite-rich spinel. As a result of this, titanomagnetite–melt partitioning of divalent cations is indirectly sensitive to changes in fO2 in silicic, but less so in mafic bulk systems.
Marine hotspots of activity inform protection of a threatened community of pelagic species in a large oceanic jurisdictionRemote oceanic islands harbour unique biodiversity, especially of species that rely on the marine trophic resources around their breeding islands. Identifying marine areas used by such species is essential to manage and limit processes that threaten these species. The Tristan da Cunha territory in the South Atlantic Ocean hosts several endemic and globally threatened seabirds, and pinnipeds; how they use the waters surrounding the islands must be considered when planning commercial activities. To inform marine management in the Tristan da Cunha Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), we identified statistically significant areas of concentrated activity by collating animal tracking data from nine seabirds and one marine mammal. We first calculated the time that breeding adults of the tracked species spent in 10 × 10 km cells within the EEZ, for each of four seasons to account for temporal variability in space use. By applying a spatial aggregation statistic over these grids for each season, we detected areas that are used more than expected by chance. Most of the activity hotspots were either within 100 km of breeding colonies or were associated with seamounts, being spatially constant across several seasons. Our simple and effective approach highlights important areas for pelagic biodiversity that will benefit conservation planning and marine management strategies.