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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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Multi-Proxy Characterisation of the Storegga Tsunami and Its Impact on the Early Holocene Landscapes of the Southern North SeaDoggerland was a landmass occupying an area currently covered by the North Sea until marine inundation took place during the mid-Holocene, ultimately separating the British landmass from the rest of Europe. The Storegga Event, which triggered a tsunami reflected in sediment deposits in the northern North Sea, northeast coastlines of the British Isles and across the North Atlantic, was a major event during this transgressive phase. The spatial extent of the Storegga tsunami however remains unconfirmed as, to date, no direct evidence for the event has been recovered from the southern North Sea. We present evidence of a tsunami deposit in the southern North Sea at the head of a palaeo-river system that has been identified using seismic survey. The evidence, based on lithostratigraphy, geochemical signatures, macro and microfossils and sedimentary ancient DNA (sedaDNA), supported by optical stimulated luminescence (OSL) and radiocarbon dating, suggests that these deposits were a result of the tsunami. Seismic identification of this stratum and analysis of adjacent cores showed diminished traces of the tsunami which was largely removed by subsequent erosional processes. Our results confirm previous modelling of the impact of the tsunami within this area of the southern North Sea, and also indicate that these effects were temporary, localized, and mitigated by the dense woodland and topography of the area. We conclude that clear physical remnants of the wave in these areas are likely to be restricted to now buried, palaeo-inland basins and incised river valley systems.
New names and status for Pacific spiny species of Solanum (Solanaceae, subgenus Leptostemonum Bitter; the Leptostemonum Clade)Five new species of spiny solanums (Solanum subgenus Leptostemonum Bitter; the Leptostemonum Clade) are described from the islands of the Pacific. Two of the new species are from Fiji (S. pseudopedunculatum D.McClelland, sp. nov. and S. ratale D.McClelland, sp. nov.), two from New Caledonia (S. memoayanum D.McClelland, sp. nov. and S. semisucculentum D.McClelland, sp. nov.), one from Papua New Guinea (S. labyrinthinum D.McClelland, sp. nov.) and another from Vanuatu (S. vanuatuense D.McClelland, sp. nov.). A new status and combination is provided for the rare Hawaiian endemic S. caumii (F.Br.) D.McClelland, comb. et stat. nov. and a new type designated for S. peekelii Bitter of Papua New Guinea, for which a description is also provided. All species are illustrated with digitized herbarium specimens, mapped and have been assigned a preliminary conservation status using current IUCN guidelines. Details of all specimens examined are provided in a Suppl. materials 1: file SM1.
From text to structured data: Converting a word-processed floristic checklist into Darwin Core Archive formatThe paper describes a pilot project to convert a conventional floristic checklist, written in a standard word processing program, into structured data in the Darwin Core Archive format. After peer-review and editorial acceptance, the final revised version of the checklist was converted into Darwin Core Archive by means of regular expressions and published thereafter in both human-readable form as traditional botanical publication and Darwin Core Archive data files. The data were published and indexed through the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Integrated Publishing Toolkit (IPT) and significant portions of the text of the paper were used to describe the metadata on IPT. After publication, the data will become available through the GBIF infrastructure and can be re-used on their own or collated with other data.
Cleaning Minerals: practical and ethical considerationsMineral specimens have a dual nature, both as a scientific resource and an aesthetic pleasure. Combine this with a long history of sampling for study, and the developed nature of most specimens on the commercial market, and it is difficult to relate to the ethical principles of conservation when cleaning minerals.
The mitogenome of a Malagasy butterfly Malaza fastuosus (Mabille, 1884) recovered from the holotype collected over 140 years ago adds support for a new subfamily of Hesperiidae (Lepidoptera)Malaza fastuosus is a lavishly patterned skipper butterfly from a genus that has three described species, all endemic to the mainland of Madagascar. To our knowledge, M. fastuosus has not been collected for nearly 50 years. To evaluate the power of our techniques to recover DNA, we used a single foreleg of an at least 140-year-old holotype specimen from the collection of the Natural History Museum London with no destruction of external morphology to extract DNA and assemble a complete mitogenome from next generation sequencing reads. The resulting 15 540 bp mitogenome contains 13 protein-coding genes, 22 transfer RNA genes, two ribosomal RNA genes, and an A+T rich region, similarly to other Lepidoptera mitogenomes. Here we provide the first mitogenome also for Trapezitinae (Rachelia extrusus). Phylogenetic analysis of available skipper mitogenomes places Malaza outside of Trapezitinae and Barcinae + Hesperiinae, with a possible sister relationship to Heteropterinae. Of these, at least Heteropterinae, Trapezitinae, and almost all Hesperiinae have monocot-feeding caterpillars. Malaza appears to be an evolutionarily highly distinct ancient lineage, morphologically with several unusual hesperiid features. The monotypic subfamily Malazinae Lees & Grishin subfam. nov. (type genus Malaza) is proposed to reflect this morphological and molecular evidence.