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Archive for the ‘UCMP events’ Category.

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.

Evo Institute Tree 1 Evo Institute Tree 4 Evo Institute Tree 3 Evo Institute Tree 2 Evo Institute: talks Evo Institute: Kevin Padian Evo Institute 2009 Evo Institute: David Lindberg Louise Mead

Cal Day at the UCMP

Cal Day at the UCMP 1Thanks for joining us on Cal Day! Here are some photos from a few of the UCMP's Cal Day events.

At Fun with Fossils, visitors used microscopes to look for fossils. They picked through matrix collected at the Bug Creek Anthills in Montana. People found reptile vertebrae, fish scales… and one little girl found a dinosaur tooth!

The courtyard of VLSB was buzzing as hundreds of visitors perused the Biodiversity Roadshow. This exhibit included specimens from many of the Berkeley Natural History Museums.

The faculty, staff, and students at the UCMP had a great time on Cal Day!  Join us again next year for more fun with fossils, more talks and tours, and more t-shirts!

T rex at Cal Day 1 T. Rex at Cal Day 2 Fossil Picking at Cal Day 1 Fossil Picking at Cal Day 2 Susumu Tomiya and the example fossils Fossil Picking at Cal Day 4 Fossil Picking at Cal Day 3 Fossil Picking at Cal Day 5 Emily Lindsey and Alan Shabel Emily Lindsey at Fun with Fossils Biodiversity Roadshow 6 Biodiversity Roadshow 2 Biodiversity Roadshow 1 Biodiversity Roadshow 5 Evolution questions 1 Evolution Questions 2 Evolution questions 3 Biodiversity Roadshow 4 Biodiversity Roadshow 7 Biodiversity Roadshow 3 Crowd at Biodiversity Roadshow Biodiversity Roadshow 1 Biodiversity Roadshow Biodiversity Roadshow 2 IMG_7011 Invertebrates at Cal Day UCMP grad students at Cal Day HERC table at Cal Day HERC table at Cal Day 3 HERC table at Cal Day 2

Visit the UCMP on Cal Day!

Cal Day 2009Join us at the UCMP on Cal Day, Saturday April 17!  Events run from 9am to 4pm; check the schedule for a full listing of activities. Here are just a few of the Cal Day events at the UCMP:

~ Take a tour of the collections with a museum scientist. The collections are open to the public just one day a year, so this is your chance! Tours are held throughout the day, but tickets are first-come, first- served, and they go fast — come early to pick up your free tickets in advance.

~ Visit the special mini-exhibit, If You Build It They Will Come: New Construction Means New Fossils. See the bones of a short-faced bear found while digging the Alameda Tube. Check out a ground sloth discovered while building the Oakland Coliseum. Look at mammoth teeth found right here in Berkeley while excavating for the Downtown Berkeley BART station. And learn what might be uncovered in upcoming construction projects, like the fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel and the construction of California's high-speed rail line. To learn more about fossils found during construction, see the recent blog post Fossils found fortuitously.

~ Search for fossils in the hands-on Fun with Fossils activity. You’ll find real fossilized fish scales and maybe even a dino tooth!

~ Enjoy a talk by a UCMP scientist.

  • Evolution's Big Bang: Explaining the Cambrian Explosion of Animals, with Charles Marshall, 11am.
  • The Sierra Nevada: Old or New? Higher or Lower? What Fossil Plants Tell Us, with Lenny Kouwenberg, 1pm.
  • The Life and Times of Triceratops, with Mark Goodwin, 2pm.

~  Think you've found a fossil? Bring it to the Biodiversity Road Show and expert paleontologists will help you identify it. Experts from botany, zoology, and entomology will be there too, so bring in any specimens you're curious about.

To get a taste of what's in store, check out this audio slide show, Cal Day at the UCMP, which shows highlights from Cal Day 2009.

Cal Day 2009 UCMP Tour UCMP T-shirts Glossotherium tibia Arctodus humerus


Thank you for joining us for Cal Day 2010! To look at some photos from the day, check out Cal Day at the UCMP.

Predicting the future of San Francisco Bay: Learning from history

Short Course 2010

Speakers at the University of California Museum of Paleontology's 2010 Short Course, Predicting the future of San Francisco Bay: Learning from history. From left to right: Andrew Cohen, Will Travis, Jere Lipps, and Doris Sloan. Not present: Robin Grossinger.

Hundreds of thousands of people cross San Francisco Bay each day. But as commuters zip through the BART tunnel or drive over the bridges, they probably don't think about what the Bay looked like in the past — or what it will look like in the future. On Saturday, February 6, over 150 people attended the UCMP's annual Short Course, Predicting the future of San Francisco Bay: Learning from history. Throughout the course's five talks, they saw a very different view of San Francisco Bay.

A theme that emerged from the course was that San Francisco Bay is constantly changing. Doris Sloan, Adjunct Professor in Earth and Planetary Science at Berkeley and Curatorial Associate at the UCMP, spoke about the geologic processes that shape the Bay. For example, sea levels have fluctuated dramatically throughout the Bay's history. In the past, sea levels were low enough to make the Bay a dry river valley — and were high enough to make San Francisco an island. UCMP Faculty Curator Jere Lipps talked about the Bay's geology, too. He emphasized tectonic processes that are happening in the present day — and he brought his earthquake bucket. (If you live in a tectonically active area, please see below for more info on earthquake buckets!) The next speaker, Robin Grossinger of the San Francisco Estuary Institute, showed that geologic processes aren't the only things that shape the bay. He compared fascinating old maps to recent aerial photos to show that humans are responsible for numerous changes to the shoreline over the past 200 years. Andrew Cohen, Director of the Center for Research on Aquatic Bioinvasions (CRAB), talked about the ecological history of the bay. It is important to know which organisms (and how many of them) lived in the Bay, as we make plans to restore it. And Will Travis, Executive Director of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), talked about strategies for adapting to changes in the Bay that will occur in the future. Throughout the short course, it became clear that that San Francisco Bay has been changing since it first formed — and it will continue to change. At this point, we know a lot about the Bay — and we can use this knowledge as we plan for the future.

To learn more about the speakers, look at the agenda for the Short Course. The PowerPoint presentations will soon be available. And in a few weeks, videos of the presentations will be available on UC Berkeley's YouTube channel, iTunes U, and Check back for the links!

** In the event of an earthquake, Jere won't share the contents of his bucket with you – you need to put together your own earthquake preparedness kit! The website has a list of things you should include in your bucket. In addition to the items on the list, Jere suggests including a few other things that might just save your life: a wind-up radio/flashlight, a small one-burner propane stove, pillows, and gloves and kneepads for crawling around on broken glass and debris. If Haiti's recent earthquake is any indication, it could be several days before emergency services are able to reach everyone; Jere recommends including a supply of food and water to last at least 7 days.

UCMP short course: Predicting the future of San Francisco Bay

predicting_web1How will sea level rise and climate change affect San Francisco Bay in the coming years? To predict the future, we need to look at the past — history shows us that San Francisco Bay has undergone some major changes throughout its history. Learn more about the Bay at this year's UCMP Short Course, Predicting the future of San Francisco Bay: Learning from history. This all-day course will be on Saturday, February 6, at UC Berkeley. It features talks by five renowned Bay Area scientists, as well as a panel discussion, giving you the chance to ask questions and delve deeper into the Bay's history — and its future.

The speakers include Doris Sloan, Adjunct Professor of Earth and Planetary Science at UC Berkeley and author of the book Geology of the San Francisco Bay Region; UCMP Faculty Curator Jere Lipps; San Francisco Estuary Institute scientist Robin Grossinger; Andrew Cohen, Director of the Center for Research on Aquatic Bioinvasions; and Will Travis, Executive Director of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. Learn more about the speakers and their talks here.

Registration information is available here. The cost is $30 for the general public, $25 for Friends of the UCMP and members of the co-sponsoring organizations, and $15 for students. Proceeds support graduate student research and outreach efforts at the museum. Teachers attending the course can receive a certification of professional development hours.

The UCMP hosts a short course for the general public every year; we've covered a variety of exciting topics over the past few years. Last year's UCMP short course, Darwin: the man, his science, and his legacy, was very popular, with over 300 attendees.

Join us for 2010's short course, Predicting the future of San Francisco Bay: Learning from history!

Cal Day at the UCMP

The UCMP is open to the public just one day a year — Cal Day. Watch this video to see the UCMP's exhibits from Cal Day 2009.