7th March 2016 -Luis Verde Arregoitia, Natural History Museum Bern

Luis Darcy Verde ArregoitiaI’m interested in mammal diversity – past, and present. Through my research I aim to identify the mechanisms that generate spatial and taxonomic patterns of diversity, and the processes that threaten it. My broader interests include ecomorphology, mammalian evolution, biogeography, and phylogenetic comparative methods. I’m currently a postdoc at the Natural History Museum Bern in Switzerland, and my ongoing project involves relating ecology, morphology and phylogeny in rodents using museum collections and molecular phylogenies.

I am a mammalogist by training. For my PhD (University of Queensland: 2010-2014), I investigated the relationship between phylogeny and extinction risk in mammals. This research explored how the evolutionary age of a lineage relates to its current extinction risk (it doesn’t) and the effects of extinctions on phylogenetic diversity and tree topologies. Before that, I studied the ecology of bat migration for my BSc research thesis as part of a biology degree at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM; 2004-2009). I will be talking about museum collections, natural history, bats and rodents, and my experiences in mammal research.

August 11th 2014 – Mike Dickison, Whanganui Regional Museum

MikeDickisonI’m Curator of Natural History at the (Whanganui Regional Museum) in New Zealand. This is a small museum with a 19th-century natural history collection, and a very large collection of moa bones, mostly from a nearby swamp. Moa, New Zealand’s giant extinct flightless bird, are my main research interest—I did my PhD at Duke on the evolution of body size in giant flightlessness birds. I’m also interested in rather old-fashioned anatomy and biogeography; old-fashioned at least compared to the amazing ancient DNA research currently being done on extinct birds. Before I went back to school to study biology I working in museum exhibition development and science communication, and ended up teaching design and typography. Visual communication of science and the design of data graphics is still one of my enthusiasms. I’ve also just started a community (Wikipedia group), I think, is something museum curators and researchers need to take much more seriously.

I tweet as @adzebill and my personal site is www.giantflightlessbirds.com.