• The barnacle Amphibalanus improvisus (Darwin, 1854), and the mitten crab Eriocheir: one invasive species getting off on another!

      Naser, M; Rainbow, P; Clark, P; Yasser, A; Jones, D (Regional Euro-Asian Biological Invasions Centre, 2015-06-16)
    • Bear wasps of the Middle Kingdom: a decade of discovering China's bumblebees

      Williams, PH; Huang, J; An, J (Royal Entomological Society, 2017-04-01)
      Bumble bees are well known for being among the most important pollinators in the world’s north-temperate regions. Perhaps more surprisingly, half of the world’s bumble bee species are concentrated in just one country, China. With an area only slightly smaller than the U.S., China has almost three times as many species.
    • Bees, wasps, flowers and other biological records from Hartslock Nature Reserve, Berkshire UK: records made 2015-2016

      Notton, DG (Natural History Museum, 2018-07-20)
      Abstract: A list of records of bees, wasps, and the flowers they visit and other biological records recorded during 2015-2016 from Hartslock Nature Reserve, Berkshire UK and vicinity. Collections were made in order to provide fresh material for DNA sequencing for a national DNA barcode database of British Bees (Tang et al., 2017). Voucher specimens are preserved in the collection of the Natural HIstory Museum London. Hartslock is a Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) managed by the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT).
    • Beyond dead trees: integrating the scientific process in the Biodiversity Data Journal

      Smith, V; Georgiev, T; Stoev, P; Biserkov, J; Miller, J; Livermore, L; Baker, E; Mietchen, D; Couvreur, T; Mueller, G; et al. (2013-09-16)
    • Beyond the EDGE with EDAM: Prioritising British Plant Species According to Evolutionary Distinctiveness, and Accuracy and Magnitude of Decline

      Pearse, WD; Chase, MW; Crawley, MJ; Dolphin, K; Fay, MF; Joseph, JA; Powney, G; Preston, CD; Rapacciuolo, G; Roy, DB; et al. (2015-05-27)
    • Beyond the “Code”: A Guide to the Description and Documentation of Biodiversity in Ciliated Protists (Alveolata, Ciliophora)

      Warren, A; Patterson, DJ; Dunthorn, M; Clamp, JC; Achilles-Day, UEM; Aescht, E; Al-Farraj, SA; Al-Quraishy, S; Al-Rasheid, K; Carr, M; et al. (2017-07)
    • Bidirectional Introgressive Hybridization between a Cattle and Human Schistosome Species

      Huyse, T; Webster, BL; Geldof, S; Stothard, JR; Diaw, OT; Polman, K; Rollinson, D; Kazura, JW (PLOS, 2009-09-04)
      Schistosomiasis is a disease of great medical and veterinary importance in tropical and subtropical regions, caused by parasitic flatworms of the genus Schistosoma (subclass Digenea). Following major water development schemes in the 1980s, schistosomiasis has become an important parasitic disease of children living in the Senegal River Basin (SRB). During molecular parasitological surveys, nuclear and mitochondrial markers revealed unexpected natural interactions between a bovine and human Schistosoma species: S. bovis and S. haematobium, respectively. Hybrid schistosomes recovered from the urine and faeces of children and the intermediate snail hosts of both parental species, Bulinus truncatus and B. globosus, presented a nuclear ITS rRNA sequence identical to S. haematobium, while the partial mitochondrial cox1 sequence was identified as S. bovis. Molecular data suggest that the hybrids are not 1st generation and are a result of parental and/or hybrid backcrosses, indicating a stable hybrid zone. Larval stages with the reverse genetic profile were also found and are suggested to be F1 progeny. The data provide indisputable evidence for the occurrence of bidirectional introgressive hybridization between a bovine and a human Schistosoma species. Hybrid species have been found infecting B. truncatus, a snail species that is now very abundant throughout the SRB. The recent increase in urinary schistosomiasis in the villages along the SRB could therefore be a direct effect of the increased transmission through B. truncatus. Hybridization between schistosomes under laboratory conditions has been shown to result in heterosis (higher fecundity, faster maturation time, wider intermediate host spectrum), having important implications on disease prevalence, pathology and treatment. If this new hybrid exhibits the same hybrid vigour, it could develop into an emerging pathogen, necessitating further control strategies in zones where both parental species overlap.
    • Biesiespoort revisited: a case study on the relationship between tetrapod assemblage zones and Beaufort lithostratigraphy south of Victoria West

      Day, Michael Oliver; Rubidge, Bruce; Choiniere, J (University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg, 2018-12-01)
      The relationship between the tetrapod assemblage zones of the South African Karoo Basin and the lithostratigraphic divisions of the Beaufort Group is well-established, and provides an independent means of dating fossil occurrences. However, this relationship may not be consistent across the basin; a discrepancy exists between the historical tetrapod assemblages in the vicinity of Victoria West, Northern Cape Province, and the expected tetrapod assemblage zones based on mapped geology. In order to examine this disconnect, we collected fossils at two localities close to Biesiespoort railway station, a locality that was visited on a number of occasions by Robert Broom. Our fossil samples support the biostratigraphic determinations of Broom and thus confirm that the stratigraphic extent of the biozones at these localities differs from their type areas further south. The reasons for this are unclear but could be related to the northward younging of the lithological units, implying complex depositional processes, or result from difficulties in mapping. Nevertheless, caution should be exercised when using mapped geology near Victoria West as a guide to the age of fossils found there.
    • Biesiespoort revisited: a case study on the relationship between tetrapod assemblage zones and Beaufort lithostratigraphy south of Victoria West

      Day, M; Rubidge, BS (University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg, 2018-12)
      The relationship between the tetrapod assemblage zones of the South African Karoo Basin and the lithostratigraphic divisions of the Beaufort Group is well-established, and provides an independent means of dating fossil occurrences. However, this relationship may not be consistent across the basin; a discrepancy exists between the historical tetrapod assemblages in the vicinity of Victoria West, Northern Cape Province, and the expected tetrapod assemblage zones based on mapped geology. In order to examine this disconnect, we collected fossils at two localities close to Biesiespoort railway station, a locality that was visited on a number of occasions by Robert Broom. Our fossil samples support the biostratigraphic determinations of Broom and thus confirm that the stratigraphic extent of the biozones at these localities differs from their type areas further south. The reasons for this are unclear but could be related to the northward younging of the lithological units, implying complex depositional processes, or result from difficulties in mapping. Nevertheless, caution should be exercised when using mapped geology near Victoria West as a guide to the age of fossils found there.
    • BioAcoustica: a free and open repository and analysis platform for bioacoustics

      Baker, E; Price, BW; Rycroft, SD; Hill, J; Smith, V (2015-01-01)
    • Biological archives reveal contrasting patterns in trace element concentrations in pelagic seabird feathers over more than a century

      Bond, AL; Lavers, JL (Elsevier, 2020-08-01)
      Contamination of diverse environments and wild species by some contaminants is projected to continue and increase in coming decades. In the marine environment, large volumes of data to assess how concentrations have changed over time can be gathered from indicator species such as seabirds, including through sampling feathers from archival collections and museums. As apex predators, Flesh-footed Shearwaters (Ardenna carneipes) are subject to high concentrations of bioaccumulative and biomagnifying contaminants, and reflect the health of their local marine environment. We analysed Flesh-footed Shearwater feathers from Australia from museum specimens and live birds collected between 1900 and 2011 and assessed temporal trends in three trace elements of toxicological concern: cadmium, mercury, and lead. Concentrations of cadmium increased by 1.5% per year (95% CI: +0.6, +3.0), while mercury was unchanged through the time series (−0.3% per year; 05% CI: -2.1, +1.5), and lead decreased markedly (−2.1% per year, 95% CI: -3.2, −1.0). A reduction in birds’ trophic position through the 20th century, and decreased atmospheric emissions were the likely driving factors for mercury and lead, respectively. By combining archival material from museum specimens with contemporary samples, we have been able to further elucidate the potential threats posed to these apex predators by metal contamination.
    • The biology of Death’s Head Hawkmoths, lepidopteran kleptoparasites of honey bees

      Kitching, I (Natural History Museum, 2006-06)
      This booklet gives basic information on the death's head hawkmoth, Acherontia atropos, including its feeding biology, life history, geographical distribution in the world, phylogenetics, and the evolutionary and behavioural relationship it has with honey bees.
    • A black page in the French partridge's history: the melanistic variety of Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa

      van Grouw, H; Besson, L; Mellier, B (The British Ornithologists' Club, 2018-12-14)
      The melanistic variety of Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa was described from a small population in western France around the 1850s. In this region, Red-legged Partridge population as a whole was hunted, but melanistic individuals were targeted for both private and museum bird collections, and by 1865 the variety was extinct in western France. An extensive search for extant specimens documented 13 melanistic birds in six museums, and their details are presented here. Remarkably, some of these specimens were collected in areas elsewhere in France or even in other countries. After 1915, the allele for melanism appears to have been lost within the Red-legged Partridge population as a whole, and we discuss possible reasons for this.
    • Blue Whale on the Move: Dismantling a 125 Year-Old Specimen

      Bernucci, A; Cornish, L; Lynn, C (museum fur naturkunde berlinBerlin, Germany, 2016)
      The Natural History Museum (London, UK) intends to suspend a 25 metre-long, blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) from its central Hintze Hall. Alongside other specimens which are to be put on open display in this space the environment was looked at in terms of sustainable improvements. Works are being undertaken to improve the conditions by utilizing natural ventilation and re-using existing duct work. This specimen, acquired by the Museum in 1891, was suspended from the ceiling of the Mammal Hall, where it has been on display since 1934. Conservators worked with a specialist specimen handling company to carefully dismantle and remove each of the 220 bones from its original mount. The skull required a special frame and a precise calculation of movement to dismantle it and remove it. Many complex decisions were made during this process – as each bone removal did not dictate what the next would bring. During the dismantling phase, the conservation team have had to address the many requirements of curators, researchers, senior management and the media.
    • Bone-Eating Worms Spread: Insights into Shallow-Water Osedax (Annelida, Siboglinidae) from Antarctic, Subantarctic, and Mediterranean Waters

      Taboada, S; Riesgo, A; Bas, M; Arnedo, MA; Cristobo, J; Rouse, GW; Avila, C; Kiel, S (2015-11-18)
    • Boris Vasil’evich Skvortzov (1896–1980): notes on his life, family and scientific studies

      Williams, DM; Gololobova, M; Glebova, E (Taylor & Francis, 2016-08-15)
      A short account of the life of Boris Vasil’evich Skvortzov (1896–1980) is presented. Some details of his background, his family and his legacy are documented. A short summary of his achievements are included.
    • Brazilian Flora 2020: innovation and collaboration to meet Target 1 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC)

      Brazil Flora Group (BFG); Knapp, S (Instituto de Pesquisas Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro, 2018-10-26)
      The Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) was established by the Conference of Parties in 2002 to decrease the loss of plant diversity, reduce poverty and contribute to sustainable development. To achieve this overarching goal, the GSPC has established a series of targets, one of which is to ensure that plant diversity is well understood, so that it can be effectively conserved and used in a sustainable manner. Brazil hosts more than 46,000 species of plants, algae and fungi, representing one of the most biodiverse countries on Earth, and playing a key role in the GSPC. To meet the GSPC goals of Target 1 and facilitate access to plant diversity, Brazil committed to preparing the List of Species of the Brazilian Flora (2008–2015) and the Brazilian Flora 2020 (2016–present). Managing all the information associated with such great biodiversity has proven to be an extremely challenging task. Here, we synthesize the history of these projects, focusing on the multidisciplinary and collaborative approach adopted to develop and manage the inclusion of all the knowledge generated though digital information systems. We further describe the methods used, challenges faced, and strategies adopted, as well as summarize advances to date and prospects for completing the Brazilian flora in 2020.
    • Bridging the Skills Gap in UK Species Identification: Lessons Learnt & Next Steps

      West, SVL; Tweddle, JC (National Biodiversity Network, 2017-11-17)
      As the Identification Trainers for the Future project draws to a close, we take this opportunity to reflect on what we have learnt from the project and where the Natural History Museum is heading next in terms of supporting UK natural history skills development.