University of Florida

FEATURES

The Power of Object

Florida Museum Director Doug Jones draws endless inspiration from objects in the collection. As a paleontologist, he is particularly drawn to fossils like the Heliaster sea star. Unlike an ordinary starfish with five arms, the Heliaster had 30 in a sunburst arrangement that gives...
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Terra Incognita

On the map of life, of biodiversity on the planet, there are patches that are unknown, as if a hiker spilled coffee and covered up a chunk here and there. A hiker might have trouble using such a map and so does a scientist struggling to understand Earth’s biodiversity even as it...
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Researchers

Got Frogs?

Herpetologist David Blackburn takes a jar off the shelf in the Herpetology Collection at the Florida Museum of Natural History, home to about 300,000 preserved amphibians and reptiles. Inside, suspended in a clear liquid, is a tuatara, one of the rarest creatures in the world....
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Footprints

With their first steps, humans change landscapes and leave evidence behind Climate change, ruling elites, stressed natural resources, sustainable development. The world of the ancient Maya was complex, with issues much like those today, says Kitty Emery, associate curator of...
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Montbrook

It’s not uncommon for Florida Museum paleontologists to get calls about fossils. But a call in 2015 from a Levy County landowner about bones discovered on his property led to a bustling dig with valuable finds. Museum paleontologists say the Montbrook dig is the first evidence in...
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Botany Abuzz

Untangling Florida’s botanical family tree A rose is a rose is a rose. But is an Aster an Aster? Well, it depends. Globally, the plant world is in a tizzy, and that’s a good thing, says Kent Perkins, collections manager for the University of Florida Herbarium in the Florida...
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Collection of Lycaenidae specimens in a display case.

Night Vision

The McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity expands knowledge of butterflies and moths When night falls, it’s time to go to work, says Akito Kawahara. “The night is where it’s at,” says Kawahara, an assistant curator for the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity...
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Doug Soltis

Window of Opportunity

Biodiversity research connects the dots between all life on Earth In the human history of the Earth, a mere breath for the 4.5 billion-year-old planet, the next 50 years may be the most important. “This is a critical moment we’re living in,” says Doug Soltis, a distinguished...
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Jonathan Bloch

Evolutionary Hot Button

A huge temperature spike 56 million years ago provides insights into modern climate change About 56 million years ago, something weird happened to the planet that has not happened before or since. The temperature spiked by 5 to 8 degrees Celsius, mammal biology went haywire, and...
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