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Archive for the ‘UCMP events’ Category.

A Walk Through California's National and State Parks

Wednesday, October 12, 2011, was this year's National Fossil Day and if you missed the festivities, you can still celebrate our Earth's natural history by visiting your local, national, or state parks. To learn more about fossils and the UCMP, check out the East Bay Science Cafe next Wednesday, November 2, when UCMP's Dave Lindberg will talk about "The History of Kelp Forests: Global and Local Surprises." You can also hear from UCMP graduate students, Jenna Judge and Rosemary Romero, at Discovery Days at AT&T Park on Sunday, November 6, one of the many events at this year's Bay Area Science Festival.

Observing Earth Science Week and National Fossil Day

UCMP and The Paleontology Portal are proud to observe this year's Earth Science Week (October 9-15) and second annual National Fossil Day (October 12) by (1) launching an interactive map of National Park Service (NPS) areas that preserve fossils; (2) presenting an East Bay Science Café talk; and (3) sharing Bay Area fossils with the public in the upcoming Bay Area Science Festival.

1. Launching a new interactive map
The mission of National Fossil Day, hosted by the NPS and the American Geological Institute, is to — as the NPS website states so nicely — "… promote public awareness and stewardship of fossils, as well as to foster a greater appreciation of their scientific and educational values."

Screen shot of parks' fossils page

In support of this goal, The Paleontology Portal is launching a new interactive map of North America, featuring all the NPS areas (230 or so) that either preserve fossils or have the potential of preserving fossils, based on fossils found nearby. The information for each park includes the geologic age or ages of the fossil-bearing rocks, the kinds of fossils found in those rocks, and a link to the park's NPS website.

The NPS Fossil Parks page lists all 232 NPS areas that preserve fossils and provides links to NPS pages that relate to those fossils.

2. A science café on fossils
UCMP's Dave Lindberg will be the featured speaker at the November 2 East Bay Science Café at La Peña in Berkeley. He will be talking about the history and ecology of kelp forest ecosystems. The East Bay Science Café, hosted by the Berkeley Natural History Museums and Science@Cal, is held the first Wednesday of every month, 7-9 pm at Café Valparaiso, La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA.

3. Who lived here before the Giants?
AT&T Park may now be home to the San Francisco Giants, but let's go back in time — waaay back. UCMP graduate students Jenna Judge and Rosemary Romero will share fossil evidence of some of the much earlier inhabitants of the Bay Area — just one of many activities of the 2011 Bay Area Science Festival and National Fossil Day! To be held on November 6, 2011 at AT&T Park, San Francisco.

Marine Mammal 2011 short course revisited

Marine Mammals short course 2011

Attendees of UCMP short courses always go away with new understandings of the world around them and its history. Rather than presenting simple reviews of the basics, short course speakers present up-to-date overviews of topics and share both their current knowledge and the excitement of their science with the audience. However, those in attendance at last March’s Marine Mammal short course probably did not realize that they were actually getting a sneak preview of forthcoming research results!

Professor Dan Costa from UC Santa Cruz gave the audience a multi-media presentation documenting the "corridors of life" in the North Pacific Ocean and their role in supporting North Pacific food chains from plankton to whales. Professor Jim Estes, also of UC Santa Cruz, demonstrated the important role top predators play in maintaining biodiversity and ecological community structure. Their research findings presented last March have just appeared in the prestigious journals Nature and Science, respectively. UCMP's short courses always captivate and motivate, but the 2011 course also offered attendees a rare preview of coming attractions in the world of marine mammal science — PRE-publication!

Read more about Prof. Costa's research and Prof. Estes’ recent publication.

"Dinosaurs Unearthed" at the Lawrence Hall of Science

T. rex exhibit

Looking for a fun summer activity? Interested in learning about dinosaurs? Well you’re in luck! Now through January 1st, the Lawrence Hall of Science is featuring a new exhibit titled “Dinosaurs unearthed.” The exhibit includes life-size replicas of some of the most well known dinosaurs including T. rex, Triceratops, and Stegosaurus. You also get to dig for your own fossils while looking at the bones of dinosaurs discovered by UCMP scientists. The younger folk, ages 2-7, will also have fun climbing into a dino nest and digging at a dino site. Be sure to check out the "Dinosaurs alive!" 3-D film, featured daily, during your visit.


Courtesy of the Lawrence Hall of Science

Cal Day 2011 is here!

It's that time of year we've all been waiting for: Cal Day!

This Saturday marks the one day a year UCMP opens its doors to the public and plays host to a number of events aimed to expose all those who are interested to the fascinating world of fossils.

Stop by the Valley Life Sciences Building for festivities that range from digging for bones to learning about climate change. Found a fossil you need identified? Our experts have set up shop to help you out with just that. Don't forget to pick up tickets for guided tours of the museum collections early in the day (they run out fast!) and stop by the t-shirt table to check out this year's new design featuring the ever-charismatic Metasequoia.

For our complete schedule of events, click here!

Cal Day is a campus-wide event. Visit the Cal Day website for more information and activities.

Happy Birthday, Darwin!

Happy Birthday, Darwin!Our old buddy Charles Darwin turns 202 this Saturday and the Berkeley Natural History Museums aren't letting him forget it.

In addition to a Darwin-inspired photo contest, the Essig Museum of Entomology, on behalf of the Entomology Student Organization, will be giving several tours of their new museum space on Friday before a birthday party complete with photo judging and, you guessed it, cake!

To find out more about how people across the world are celebrating Darwin Day, check out the International Darwin Day Foundation.

And from all of us here at UCMP and the Berkeley Natural History Museums, have a happy Darwin Day!

Mastodons in the Caldecott?

A gomphotherium jaw, from the Blackhawk Quarry

Yes! And that's not all! Construction of the new fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel on Highway 24 is cutting through fossiliferous rocks in the East Bay Hills deposited some nine to ten million years ago. Rocks of this age have produced fossils of mastodons, several kinds of horses and camels, and carnivores including a hyena-like dog and a saber-tooth cat – so those involved in the drilling process are keeping an eye out for any such finds.

To illustrate what has been found in earlier excavations, UCMP has provided an exhibit of fossil representatives of some of these mammals. The fossils were actually collected at the Blackhawk Ranch Quarry on the eastern slopes of Mount Diablo, but they represent the same fauna as the fossils that have been found at the Caldecott Tunnel.

The exhibit has been developed in cooperation with the Lafayette Historical Society and also includes examples of restorations of the ancient flora and fauna prepared by a local artist, the late William Gordon Huff. Some of these restorations were shown at the 1939 San Francisco World's Fair.

The exhibit will be on display at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center (3491 Mt. Diablo Boulevard) until early March. The Lafayette Historical Society is sponsoring a lecture, "Old Bones in the New Tunnel", to be held at the library on February 16th at 3:00 PM.

If you miss this exhibit, fossils and archives from the exhibit will be on display at UCMP during Cal Day, April 16, 2011, from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM and learn about "who" wandered Berkeley before the Cal Bears!

See more Blackhawk Quarry fossils, and a drawing by Huff at the UCMP Flickr photostream:

Borophagus skull from the Blackhawk Quarry Hipparion skull from the Blackhawk Quarry Camel skull from the Blackhawk Quarry Dog drawing by William Huff

Upcoming workshop: Insect-induced Plant Galls of California

Insect-induced Plant Galls of California
September 18, 2011
Kathy Schick, Joyce Gross, and Diane M. Erwin
UC Berkeley
Co-sponsored by the Essig Museum of Entomology and the University of California Museum of Paleontology

Plant galls provide a fascinating array of color and texture on most of the plants in our California landscape. Galls, growths of plant cells that are not normal plant organs, can be induced by a number of organisms. The most numerous as well as most beautiful and intriguing are those induced by insects. Two insect families are found only in plant galls: Cynipidae (gall wasps) and Cecidomyiidae (gall midges or gnats). Plant galls also host a whole ecology of other insects, including herbivorous inquilines and carnivorous parasitoids like the wasp family Ormyridae, which is found only in plant galls. Most of these organisms are too small for us to see, so that the only thing we notice is the colorful gall growth itself.

In this workshop, we will start by exploring the diversity of extant insect-induced plant galls and some of the community of species to be found within them. We will begin our study indoors, using some of Joyce Gross's excellent photographic images of galls and gall insects. Then, we will take a short campus field trip to learn how to find galls; many do occur on plants common in California gardens. We will then dissect and examine galls under microscopes to tease out the development and origins of the gall tissue layers. We will wrap up with discussion about the evolution of the plant host-plant galler interrelationships with examples from fossil galls.

Course fee $115/$140

Registration information here

National Fossil Day at UCMP

Yesterday was the first ever National Fossil Day and UCMP pulled out all the stops!

Come check out the new online exhibit, Fossils in our parklands: Examples of UCMP service and stewardship, featuring fossils in UCMP's collection from national and state parks in California, Nevada, Oregon, and Montana. The museum played a pivotal role in the creation of some of the featured parks and we're happy to highlight our shared histories.

Additionally, the 2011 UCMP Fossil Treasures Calendar is now available for purchase! Click here to take a peek at the stunning photos included in the calendar and to find out how to purchase it online. If you're in the area, you can drop by in person for a discounted price. Remember, proceeds help fund graduate student research in the field of paleontology.

Finally, have a look behind the scenes at our in-house celebration...

(Event photos courtesy of Nathalie Nagalingum.)

Think Evolution II: a summer institute for science educators

thinkevo_blogJoin us at the UCMP for a fun-filled five days of evolutionary explorations with biologists and educators from the University of California. On August 2-6, UCMP and the National Center for Science Education will host a workshop for middle school, high school, and community college biology teachers and science educators. Scientists will discuss their research, covering topics like molecular evolution, developmental biology, and human evolution. Learn how you can integrate cutting-edge evolutionary research into your curriculum. For more information about the workshop, including registration information, click here.

Last year's Think Evolution workshop was a great success — check out some photos from the workshop, below.

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