Archive for ‘Naturalist’

March 17, 2011

Sir David Attenborough on Conservation and Population

From the RSA website:

Broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough presents the 2011 RSA President’s Lecture.

The dangers facing the earth’s ecosystems are well known and the subject of great concern at all levels. Climate change is high on the list. But argues Sir David Attenborough, there is an underlying and associated cause – population growth.

June 28, 2009

Beccaloni on Wallace’s Trail

The Guardian has an interesting article on Dr. George Beccaloni’s travels as he follows Alfred Russel Wallace’s footsteps in Indonesia:

Beccaloni, a 41-year-old British evolutionary biologist with London’s Natural History Museum, is on a quest to return Wallace to what he sees as his rightful place in history. He and Fred Langford Edwards, a British artist making an audiovisual project about Wallace, are retracing the scientist’s eight-year trip around Southeast Asia.

Unlike Wallace, Darwin spent two decades developing his theory of natural selection and had far more evidence to back it up, as presented in his defining work, “The Origin of Species,” published 150 years ago. But Wallace reached the same conclusion before Darwin published his findings, and Beccaloni contends that Wallace deserves equal billing.

“The Darwin industry is what has distorted the whole of history,” Beccaloni said. “People have just concentrated on Darwin and his life and work but they fail to see Darwin wasn’t alone and he fits into a wider picture.”

Read the complete article: Forgotten evolutionist lives in Darwin’s shadow.

Related links:

Alfred Russel Wallace Website

The Alfred Russel Wallace Page

April 18, 2009

Behold the Earth

Behold the Earth is a feature-length musical documentary that inquires into America’s divorce from nature, built out of conversations with leading biologists and evangelical Christians, and directed by David Conover. Includes participation by E. O. Wilson, Cal Dewitt, Richard Louv, Theo Colborn, and others.

March 22, 2009

My Sunday Best – 22 March, 2009.

This was a tough choice, with many great blog posts to select from. As before, series posts are considered as one and the choices are listed in no particular order.

The Top Ten for the Week –

1.The Dispersal of Darwin
   BOOK REVIEW: Jim Endersby’s ‘Imperial Nature’


(He’s not just a great entomologist…he knows his geology too…)
 Emerald Bay State Park – Vikingsholm and Rubicon Trails
(…and now, a self-confessed botanizer,,,) 
  Pyramid Creek Geological Area
(… and a great Dad!)

10.Not Exactly Rocket Science
  Self-medicating caterpillars use toxic plants to kill parasites

February 13, 2009

Joseph Banks – Naturalist

From Today in Science History:

Joseph Banks. Born 13 Feb 1743; died 19 Jun 1820(Baronet) British explorer and naturalist, and long-time president of the Royal Society, known for his promotion of science. As an independent naturalist, Banks participated in a voyage to Newfoundland and Labrador in 1767. He successfully lobbied the Royal Society to be included on what was to be James Cook’s first great voyage of discovery, on board the Endeavour (1768-71). King George III appointed Banks adviser to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. Banks established his London home as a scientific base (1776) with natural history collections he made freely available to researchers. In 1819, he was Chairman of committees established by the House of Commons, one to enquire into prevention of banknote forgery, the other to consider systems of weights and measures.

More information can be found at the following sources:

(Image from Wikimedia Commons)

January 7, 2009

Remembering Gerald Durrell

Born today: Gerald Durrell January 7, 1925, died January 30, 1995.

It was my older brother who first introduced me to Gerald Durrell in the form of the book, ‘My Family and Other Animals‘. This was when our family were still living in the bushveld in South Africa in the early ’70’s, when I was about 10 years of age. The book described the life of the Durrell family during their stay on the Greek island of Corfu in the years preceding the Second World War. My brother, no naturalist, found the antics of the Durrell family hilarious; but my interest was in Gerald and his boy-hood fascination with collecting and observing wildlife. Finally here was someone I could relate to.

Libraries were important to me in those days – there was no TV in the country at all. My reading was fairly ordinary, restricted to what was available at the school library in Aloe Ridge Primary School. Books remembered are those by Jacques Cousteau (the first of my ‘mentors-by-book‘), the ‘Adventure‘ series by Willard Price, the ‘Just William‘ series and, of course, the Hardy Boys. After reading My Family, I soon moved on to the many books about his zoo collecting expeditions and his work at the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust. Later, when back in Canada, we saw episodes of his series The Stationary Ark and Durrell in Russia, on TV. Whether in his books of his documentaries, he always seemed to be able to see the humor in even the worst situations and the characters he came across in his adventures were always described with zest. He was quite an inspiration to me at the time.

Here, a scene from the movie, My Family and Other Animals (1989). Glimpses of his eccentric family, his irregular education, Roger the dog, a scene with the Rose-beetle man, his first tortoise and some pleasant views of Margo Corfu. (Try to ignore the music).

October 24, 2008

Anton van Leeuwenhoek – microscopist

Born this day, Anton Van Leeuwenhoek (Oct. 24, 1632, Delft, Netherlands – died Aug. 26, 1723, Delft)

Leeuwenhoek was a Dutch tradesman and scientist from Delft, the Netherlands. He is commonly known as “the Father of Microbiology“, and considered to be the first microbiologist. He was born the son of a basket maker. At age 16, he secured an apprenticeship with a Scottish cloth merchant in Amsterdam. He is best known for his work on the improvement of the microscope and for his contributions towards the establishment of microbiology. Using his handcrafted microscopes he was the first to observe and describe single celled organisms, which he originally referred to as animalcules, and which we now refer to as microorganisms. He was also the first to record microscopic observations of muscle fibers, bacteria, spermatozoa and blood flow in capillaries. (See more on his life at Wikipedia)


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