Catesby in the Classroom: Students Explore the Intersection of Art and Science

In the early eighteenth century, English naturalist Mark Catesby set foot in a New World. After spending the better part of ten years, spread across two separate trips, exploring and documenting North America’s rich biodiversity, he would eventually publish his research and original artworks as the first fully illustrated book on the flora and fauna of North America.    Published over eighteen years between 1729-1747, The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and more »

Diving into Marine Biodiversity and Coastal Ecosystem Research

On the eastern coast of Florida, about 120 miles north of Miami, there is a very special research center: the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce. It serves as a field station specializing in marine biodiversity and Florida ecosystems, especially that of the Indian River Lagoon – one of the most biologically-diverse estuaries in North America. The center is a destination for scientists around the world who are interested in studying the more »

Inspiring Discovery at the 2016 BioBlitz and Biodiversity Festival in Washington, D.C.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) and Smithsonian Libraries staff participated in BioBlitz 2016 in Washington, D.C. on 20-21 May. A BioBlitz focuses on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time. In this special edition of the BioBlitz, held in conjunction with the National Park Service’s centenary, the D.C. BioBlitz was accompanied by a two-day Biodiversity Festival on the National Mall at more »

The Biodiversity Heritage Library celebrates 10 years!

2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL, www.biodiversitylibrary.org)!   Since 2006, the Biodiversity Heritage Library has transformed the way scientists, researchers, and librarians around the world access knowledge about and study life on Earth. In order to document Earth’s species and understand the complexities of swiftly-changing ecosystems in the midst of a major extinction crisis and widespread climate change, scientists need something that no single library can provide more »

Fashion in the Natural World: Fusing Science with Art

This post first appeared on the Biodiversity Heritage Library blog in February 2016. Emile-Allain Séguy was a popular French designer throughout the Art Deco and Art Nouveau movements of the 1920s. Often confused with the French entomologist Eugene Séguy who was active during the same time period, E.A. Séguy designed primarily patterns and textiles and was heavily influenced by the natural world. He was particularly fond of the intricate patterns and beauty more »

Beyond Shells: The Birth of Malacology

Until the late 18th century, the study of mollusks was based largely on shells. Very little research or published information existed about molluscan anatomy and soft tissues. Giuseppe Saverio Poli, recognized by many as the father of malacology, changed this with his monumental publication, Testacea utriusque Siciliae eorumque historia et anatome (1791-1827).

Herding the Fuzzy Bits: What do you do after Crowdsourcing?

So you’re a library or museum and you’ve been crowdsourcing and now you’ve collected lots of fantastic data. What do you do with it? Or maybe you’ve been thinking about crowdsourcing but you’re not sure how you would integrate what you get with the data you already have. The truth is that crowdsourcing often yields lots of fuzzy data and fuzzy solutions for reintegration with existing content. It can be challenging to more »

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