Overcoming the Taxonomic Impediment in the Amazon
It is well known that the Amazon rainforests are amongst the most biodiverse places on the planet. However, much of this biodiversity remains completely unknown having never been formally described and with absolutely no knowledge of the ecological and other conditions required for its survival. This profound lack of scientific knowledge arises from what is called the Taxonomic Impediment - there simply are too few taxonomists (people who can identify and describe living things) to get to grips with the magnitude of biodiversity. The Taxonomic Impediment is a world-wide problem as taxonomists themselves have become endangered species and few, if any, countries now devote sufficient resources to biodiversity research. There are many unfortunate knock-ons from this fact; for example designing rational conservation strategies is difficult without knowledge of the animals and plants that live in an area and some knowledge of why. It is only taxonomists who can deliver this knowledge.
In the Brazilian Amazon the situation is improving with a major research institute Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA) now conducting extensive taxonomic research and training a new generation of taxonomists to lead in future biodiversity studies. One such trainee is Josenir Camara, a PhD student at INPA now spending 6 months as an intern at Amgueddfa Cymru under the tutelage of Dr Adrian Plant (Principle Curator, Entomology). Josenir’s research is describing the diversity of a group of aquatic flies (Hemerodromiinae). She has already discovered more than 50 new species, and using sophisticated cladistic techniques to understand more of their evolutionary relationships with related forms elsewhere in the world. The Museum’s extensive collections and taxonomic skills will be an invaluable aid to develop her research and the expertise and experience she develops will be lasting benefits she will take home to Brazil. A small but positive contribution to removing the Taxonomic Impediment in her own country.
Bylbiau'r Gwanwyn i Ysgolion: Canlyniadau 2005-2014
Mae project ‘Bylbiau'r Gwanwyn i Ysgolion’ yn gyfle i filoedd o wyddonwyr ysgol weithio gydag Amgueddfa Cymru i archwilio newid yn yr hinsawdd a'i ddeall.
Ers mis Hydref 2005, mae gwyddonwyr ysgol wedi bod yn cadw cofnod o'r tywydd a phryd mae eu blodau'n agor, fel rhan o astudiaeth hirdymor o effeithiau'r tymheredd ar fylbiau'r gwanwyn.
Mae tystysgrifau wedi cael eu hanfon at yr holl ddisgyblion yn 4,075 a gwblhaodd y prosiect eleni.
Mae rhagor o fanylion yn adroddiadau Athro'r Ardd neu gallwch chi lawrlwytho'r daenlen i astudio'r patrymau!
- Gwnewch siartiau amlder a graffiau i ganfod y cymedrau.
A wnaeth blodau agor yn hwyr mewn ysgolion oedd yn cofnodi tywydd oer?
Sut wnaeth tymheredd, heulwen a glaw effeithio ar ddyddiadau blodeuo ar gyfartaledd?
Chwiliwch am dueddiadau mewn gwahanol lefydd yng Nghymru.
Diolch yn fawr
From Amazonian Rainforest to Welsh Rain!
Brazilian PhD student Josenir Camara is working with Dr Adrian Plant, Principle Curator of Entomology at Amgueddfa Cymru, on a three-year project to describe some of the diversity of Diptera (flies) inhabiting the rainforest of Brazil’s Amazon Basin. The two researchers have already made numerous collecting expeditions to remote parts of the Amazon, but now they are both back in Cardiff where Josenir will spend the next six months studying at the Museum. As a part of her research she will describe all the Amazonian species of a group of water-inhabiting flies known as Hemerodromia. She already has more than 50 species that are completely new to science and once these have been formally described, the next task is to construct an evolutionary tree showing how the Amazonian Hemerodromia have diversified in respect to Hemerodromia elsewhere in the world. This is where Amgueddfa Cymru comes in as our extensive collections will provide her with an invaluable resource she can use to compare how Amazonian species differ from others. By careful comparison of ‘characters’ of each species and using sophisticated computing methods, Josenir will construct a ‘phylogenetic tree’ to illustrate the sequence of evolutionary changes that have occurred. By comparing the evolutionary tree with the fossil record, geological and climatic history it is hoped that we start to learn more about the biogeography of the Amazon (biogeography is the study of how species and communities or organisms become distributed both geographically and through geologic time).
The following photographs are from the book, Twelve new designs of English butterflies, by Benjamin Wilkes [published in 1742]. This rare work consists solely of twelve engraved plates each depicting geometric arrangements of both butterflies and moths. Wilkes produced this profoundly beautiful work as member of the Aurelian Society. Aurelian is an archaic word for lepidopterist [one who is interested in butterflies]; the term is derived from aurelia, meaning chrysalis, and relates to the golden colour it may attain just before the butterfly emerges.
The Society of Aurelians [London], one of the oldest organized bodies of specialists in any branch of zoology. The group collected and documented insects from the 1690s but came to an abrupt end in March 1748. While members of the society were in a meeting in the Swan Tavern, a great fire broke out in Cornhill and enveloped them. All the members escaped, but their entire collection, library, and records were destroyed. This event was documented by Moses Harris in The Aurelian; or, Natural History of English Insects (1765). The loss disheartened the group so much that they never managed to regroup again…Aurelian societies were formed several times in Britain [most notable 1762 and 1801], but each time they collapsed.
…Benjamin Wilkes was an 18th-century artist and naturalist whose profession was 'painting of History Pieces and Portraits in Oil'. When a friend invited him to a meeting of the Aurelian Society, where he first saw specimens of butterflies and moths, he became convinced that nature would be his 'best instructor' as to colour and form in art. He began to study entomology spending his leisure time collecting, studying and drawing the images larvae, pupae and parasitic flies of Lepidoptera, assisted by the collector Mr Joseph Dandridge. Wilkes' own collection was kept 'against the Horn Tavern in Fleet Street' London 'Where any gentleman or lady' could see his collection of insects [Wikipedia].
Our holdings of other Aurelian books include:
The English Lepidoptera: or, the Aurelian's pocket companion: containing a catalogue of upward of four hundred moths and butterflies ... / Moses Harris 
The aurelian. a natural history of English moths and butterflies, together with the plants on which they feed. Also .../ Moses Harris 
English moths and butterflies… Benjamin Wilkes  This work ran to three editions of which the last, incorporating Linnaean nomenclature, was published in 1824
The British Aurelian: twelve new designs of British Butterflies and Directions for making a collection, with an essay by R.S. Wilkinson / Benjamin Wilkes, R.S. Wilkinson 
All photographs in this post taken by the author
The nest of Peregrine falcons in the clock tower appears to have failed, due to unknown causes sometime during the last week or so. However, after an absence of several days, both birds are showing renewed interest in the nest-site. Today has seen considerable activity with one bird visiting the nest several times and apparently busying itself tidying the interior while the other bird of the pair watched from close by. Although peregrines only have one brood each year, if the first brood is lost at an early stage they sometimes re-lay a second clutch, either in the original nest, or perhaps more often, at a nearby site. We now watch, wait and hope that a new clutch of eggs will be laid sometime in the near future and that these magnificent falcons will have more success the second time around.
It now looks that the breeding attempt by Peregrine Falcons in the clock tower has failed. All indications were that eggs were laid during late March and early April and if all had gone according to plan, they should have been hatching about now (eggs are usually incubated for 31-33 days). Unfortunately, no birds have been seen at the nest or perched nearby on the clock tower for several days now so it seems certain that the nest has been abandoned. We do not know why this breeding attempt has failed but the most likely cause is that the eggs have been eaten by predators, perhaps crows, ravens or gulls. Although peregrines only raise one brood each year it remains possible that the birds will make a second attempt to breed and we remain vigilant in case that happens.
Gwobrau Gwyddonwyr Gwych 2014
Bydd Amgueddfa Cymru yn dyfarnu Tystysgrifau Gwyddonwyr Gwych i naw deg pump o ysgolion ar draws y DU eleni, i gydnabod eu cyfraniad i Ymchwiliad Bylbiau’r Gwanwyn – Newid Hinsawdd.
Llongyfarchiadau anferth i bob un o’r ysgolion! Mae rhestr o’r enillwyr isod, ydy’ch ysgol chi yno?
Diolch i bob un o’r 4200 disgybl a helpodd eleni! Diolch am weithio mor galed yn plannu, arsylwi, mesur a chofnodi – rydych chi i gyd yn Wyddonwyr Gwych! Bydd pob un yn derbyn tystysgrif a phensel Gwyddonydd Gwych, ac fe fyddan nhw’n cyrraedd eich ysgol tua canol mis Mai.
Diolch yn fawr i Ymddiriedolaeth Edina am eu nawdd ac am helpu i wireddu’r holl broject!
Diolch i’r tri enillydd wnaeth anfon y nifer fwyaf o ddata tywydd. Bydd pob un yn derbyn trip ysgol llawn hwyl i atyniad natur.
- Ysgol Clocaenog yng Nghymru
- Ysgol Gynradd Abronhill yn yr Alban
- Ysgol Gynradd Gymunedol Dallas Road yn Lloegr
Bydd pob ysgol yn derbyn tocyn anrheg i brynu offer ar gyfer eich projectau garddio.
- Ysgol Gynradd Cross Hands yng Nghymru
- Ysgol Gynradd Wormit yn yr Alban
- Ysgol Gynradd Gatholig y Cymun Bendigaid yn Lloegr
Bydd pob ysgol yn derbyn tystysgrifau, pensiliau, hadau blodau’r haul a hadau perlysiau.
- Abergwili VC Primary
- Archbishop Hutton's Primary School
- Arkholme CE Primary School
- Balshaw Lane Community Primary School
- Bleasdale CE Primary School
- Burscough Bridge Methodist School
- Carnforth North Road Primary School
- Christchurch CP School
- Combe Primary School
- Coppull Parish Church School
- Cutteslowe Primary School
- Darran Park Primary
- Freuchie Primary School
- Gladestry C. in W. Primary
- Glyncollen Primary
- Kilmaron School
- Raglan VC Primary
- SS Philip and James CE Primary School
- St Athan Primary School
- St Blanes Primary School
- St Ignatius Primary School
- St Mary's Catholic Primary School, Leyland
- St Mellons Church in Wales Primary School
- St Michael's CE (Aided) Primary School
- St Nicholas Primary School
- St Patrick's Primary School
- Stanford in the Vale CE Primary School
- Ysgol Bro Eirwg
- Ysgol Deganwy
Bydd pob ysgol yn derbyn tystysgrifau, pensiliau a hadau blodau’r haul.
- Auchengray Primary School
- Britannia Community Primary School
- Cawthorne's Endowed Primary School
- Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor
- Culross Primary School
- Greyfriars RC Primary School
- Holy Trinity CE Primary School
- John Cross CE Primary School
- Llanishen Fach Primary School
- Red Marsh School
- St Anne's Catholic Primary School
- St Laurence CE Primary School
- Woodplumpton St. Anne's Primary School
- Ysgol Gynradd Dolgellau
- Ysgol Terrig
- Ysgol Y Plas
Ysgolion i dderbyn tystysgrifau
Bydd pob ysgol yn derbyn Tystysgrifau Gwyddonwyr Gwych a phensiliau.
- All Saints' CE Primary School
- Balcurvie Primary School
- Ballerup Nursery
- Blenheim Road Community Primary School
- Brockholes Wood Community Primary School
- Brynhyfryd Junior School
- Catforth Primary School
- Chatelherault Primary School
- Cleddau Reach VC Primary School
- Cobbs Brow Primary School
- Coed-y-Lan Primary School
- Flakefleet Primary School
- Glencairn Primary School
- Golden Hill School
- Henllys C/W Primary
- Hillside Specialist School
- Ladywell Primary School
- Lakeside Primary
- Lea Community School
- Manor Road Primary School
- Manor School
- Milford Haven Junior School
- Newport Primary School
- Pinfold Primary School
- RAF Benson Primary School
- Rogiet Primary School
- Rougemont Junior School
- Scotforth St Paul's CE Primary School
- St Bernadette's Primary School
- St Gregory's Catholic Primary School
- St John's CE Primary School
- St Nicholas C/W primary school
- Trellech Primary School
- Tynewater Primary School
- Woodstock CE Primary School
- Ysgol Bro Tawe
- Ysgol Glan Cleddau
- Ysgol Iau Hen Golwyn
- Ysgol Nant y Coed
- Ysgol Rhys Prichard
- Ysgol Santes Tudful
- Ysgol Sychdyn
- Ysgol Y Berllan Deg
- Ysgol Y Faenol
Cystadleuaeth Darlunio Cennin Pedr 2014
Llongyfarchiadau i’r disgyblion canlynol am greu darluniau botaneg arbennig! Gwobr yr enillwyr fydd pecynnau gwylio adar yn cynnwys binocwlars bach.
- 1af: Abbey – Coppull Parish Church School
- 2il: Louise – SS Philip and James CE Primary School (Pink 3)
- 3ydd: Amelie – Stanford in the Vale CE Primary School
Da iawn, rydych chi wedi gwneud gwaith ANHYGOEL.
Exploring biodiversity in the Amazon
Adrian Plant continues his fieldwork in the Amazon in collaboration with Jose Albertino Rafael and Josenir Camara from INPA (Brazil’s national Amazon research organisation) in Manaus.
So far two field-trips to remote corners of the Amazon have been successfully completed. The first was to Sao Gabriel da Cachoeira high up the Rio Negra not far from Brazil’s borders with Colombia and Venezuela and the second to a major tributary of the Amazon along the border with Peru at Benjamin Constant.
The forests of the Amazon Basin are flood forests; they become seasonally inundated by the flooded river and the waters bring with them many of the nutrients essential to the forests great productivity throughout the region. This year the forest remains unusually wet for the time of year which has caused a few practical problems for field entomology.- it is an acquired pleasure to slosh around in deep mud and water searching for new and interesting insects under a constant plague of biting mosquitoes. Yet, to an entomologist this is more or less a definition of “fun”!
The biodiversity is amazing of course and many of the insects seen and collected are undoubtedly new to science but will require much study in more comfortable surroundings after returning from the field. Meanwhile, Adrian will shortly be setting out on a third fieldtrip, this time to a little known area between the mouth of the Amazon river and French Guiana where many exciting discoveries will undeniably be made.
Os oeddech chi yn ymweld â Llundain yr wythnos diwethaf mae’n siŵr eich bod chi wedi sylwi bod yr awyr yn llawn llwch – fel edrych drwy gwmwl brwnt! Ond beth yw mwrllwch, a beth yw’r gwahaniaeth rhyngddo â niwl?
Beth yw niwl?
Cwmwl ar y llawr yw niwl! Llawer o ddiferion dŵr mân yn hofran yn yr awyr yw niwl ac mae’n rhan naturiol o’r tywydd. Mae niwl yn helpu i ddyfrio planhigion ac yn ddiogel i chi ei anadlu i mewn.
Beth yw mwrllwch?
Llygredd aer yw mwrllwch. Mae’n cael ei gynhyrchu wrth i niwl gymysgu â mwg a nwyon cemegol ceir a ffatrïoedd ac mae rhai o’r cemegau yma’n wenwynig! Mae’n niweidio planhigion ac anifeiliaid a gall fod yn beryglus ei anadlu i mewn.
Mae’r mwrllwch diweddar yn Llundain yn gymysgedd o niwl, llygredd a thrydydd cynhwysyn – tywod o’r Sahara! Anialwch anferth yn Affrica yw’r Sahara ac mae peth o’r tywod yno yn fân iawn, iawn fel llwch. Weithiau bydd stormydd gwynt yn codi’r llwch a’i chwythu filoedd o filltiroedd i’r DU. Dyna siwrnai hir!
Yn anffodus, mae’r gymysgedd o niwl, llygredd a llwch yr anialwch yn golygu bod mwrllwch Llundain yn niweidio’r ysgyfaint, ac mae wedi gwneud rhai pobl yn sâl. Mae mwrllwch yn un rheswm da iawn pam y dylen ni i gyd geisio lleihau llygredd aer!
Beth alla i ei wneud i leihau llygredd aer?
Meddyliwch am lygredd aer… beth sy’n ei achosi? Allwch chi feddwl am 3 pheth y gallech chi ei wneud i leihau llygredd aer? Trafodwch yn y dosbarth cyn gwirio eich atebion yma (gwefan Saesneg).
Eich cwestiynau, fy atebion:
Glyncollen Primary School: Sorry we were late again. We had a busy week as we are going to Llangrannog. We have had great fun doing this investigation. We can't wait to find out who has won the competition. We are going to tell the year3 class about it as they will be doing it next year. Thank you Professor Plant. Yr. 4. Prof P: Hope you had fun at Llangrannog! I am so glad you have enjoyed the investigation Glyncollen. Thank you so much for taking part!
Ysgol Clocaenog: Pen wedi disgyn ffwrdd! Athro'r Ardd: Wedi colli ei ben!
Gladestry C.I.W. School: Although the flowers were open earlier in the week, they have closed up again at the drop in temperature. Prof P: I can tell that you have learnt a lot about your planrs Gladestry, well done!
Diolch yn fawr
Casglu Gwymon yn Iwerddon
Gan Kath Slade
Mae’r tîm wedi dychwelyd o’u gwaith maes morol yng ngorllewin Iwerddon gyda digonedd o sbesimenau i’w cadw’n brysur, gan gynnwys gwymon. Amserwyd y gwaith i fanteisio ar sawl llanw isel iawn oedd yn ein galluogi i gasglu sbesimenau ymhell i lawr y traeth sydd heb addasu i gyfnodau hir allan o’r dŵr. Er hyn, dim ond tua dwy awr a gafon ni i samplo tra oedd y dŵr ar ddistyll.
Mae sawl gwymon coch i’w gweld ymhellach i lawr y traethau, fel y Gwymon Cochddail (Delesseria sanguinea), Gwymon Crychog Mânwythiennog (Cryptopleura ramosa) a Gwymon Bachog Bonnemaison (Bonnemaisonia hamifera).
Roedd tipyn o waith prosesu i’w wneud yn syth wedi’r casglu gan nad yw gwymon yn para’n hir allan o’i gynefin naturiol ar lan y môr. Cafodd nifer eu harnofio mewn hambyrddau dŵr môr er mwyn lledu’r ffrondiau (neu ddail), cyn eu trosglwyddo i bapur codwm cadwraeth a’u gwasgu. Cafodd y sbesiemau eu pentyrru gyda phapur blotio rhwng pob planhigyn i amsugno’r dŵr cyn eu gwasgu mewn gweisg planhigion mawr, fel y rhai a ddefnyddir i wasgu blodau. Cai’r papur blotio ei newid bob dydd er mwyn tynnu cymaint o ddŵr â phosibl. Wedi dychwelyd i’r amgueddfa gosodwyd y gweisg mewn peiriannau sychu i gyflymu’r broses ac atal y gwymon rhag pydru.
Mae’n anodd adnabod rhai gwymon o’u nodweddion allanol yn unig. Casglwyd darnau bychain o rai rhywogaethau a’u gosod mewn gel silica. Mae hyn yn sychu’r gwymon yn llawer cynt ac yn cadw’r DNA mewn cyflwr gwell er mwyn gwneud gwaith moleciwlaidd yn ddiweddarach. Cadwyd sbesimenau eraill mewn formalin, sy’n tynnu’r lliw o’r gwymon ond yn cadw manylion y celloedd a strwythur 3D y planhigyn. Bydd gwaith adnabod pellach yn cael ei gynnal yn ôl yn yr Amgueddfa.
Mae’r holl waith paratoi yn ein galluogi i gadw gwymon ar gyfer astudiaethau gwyddonol yn y dyfodol. Cedwir y sbesimenau ym Mhlanhigfa Genedlaethol Cymru (casgliadau planhigion) yn yr Amgueddfa, ac mae pob un yn brawf o’r gwymon oedd yn bresennol ymhle ac ar ba bryd. Mae’r broses wasgu mor effeithiol nes y gall sbesimenau bara am gannoedd o flynyddoedd.