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Early Career Scientists Symposium | Natural History Collections: Drivers of Innovation

Keynote presentation: Rob Guralnick, Curator, Florida Museum of Natural History: Sizing up new uses of natural history collections for ecogeography and global change biology
Friday, March 5, 2021
1:00-3:00 PM
check email for link and passcode Off Campus Location
A virtual symposium held on five consecutive Fridays beginning March 5, 2021.

REGISTRATION required for Zoom entry. Registrants will receive the Zoom link and passcode via email. See links this page to register and for more information.

Session l
1 pm Welcome and introduction: Cody Thompson

1:05 pm Opening remarks: Dan Rabosky

1:15 pm Keynote presentation: Rob Guralnick, Associate Curator, Biodiversity Informatics, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida

Talk title: Sizing up new uses of natural history collections for ecogeography and global change biology

2 pm Panel discussion: Rob Guralnick and Dan Rabosky

Body size is a key integrator trait because it influences nearly all aspects of organismal biology. It has strong relationships with fitness, and is influenced by a number of biotic and abiotic factors, while also potentially functionally and structurally constrained. Given its central importance, body size has long been studied by ecologists and evolutionary biologists, including burgeoning interest in size change as a key response to global changes such as human predation and global warming. In this talk, I show the power of natural history collections to inform about long-standing and new questions about body size change broadly over space and time. I will first describe efforts to compile and share millions of measurements that have routinely been taken by field vertebrate biologists, utilizing a growing informatics toolkit and semantic web approaches to make those available. I then provide four case studies, two focused on examining a classical ecogeographical rule, Bergmann’s Rule. The first case study takes an initial look at this rule across 1000s of vertebrate species. The second focuses on a narrower subset but examines multiple climate predictors, not just temperature, and asks if species climate niche determines intraspecific body size change. The third case study asks if we can use natural history collections to understand body size changes over the recent past and due to climatic factors and human population changes, focusing on a case study on deer mice across North America. Finally, I showcase the potential to look over very broad evolutionary time, and understand shape and size change of butterfly wings, again using the power of natural history collections, showcasing vastly different evolutionary rates for fore- and hindwing shape and size. I close noting the importance of building the infrastructure to support the concept of the extended specimen, as a transformational next step in facilitating novel use of natural history collections.​

Read more, including about the speakers and their talks, on the ECSS website:


Illustration: John Megahan. Image credits: Eric LoPresti, John Megahan, Timothy James, Linda Garcia
Building: Off Campus Location
Location: Virtual
Event Type: Livestream / Virtual
Tags: AEM Featured, biodiversity, Biosciences, Bsbsigns, early career scientists, Museum, Museum - Herbarium, Museum - Zoology, paleobiology, Paleontology, Research, Research Museums Center, science
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Museum of Natural History, School for Environment and Sustainability, Museum Paleontology, Museum of Anthropological Archaeology, University of Michigan Biological Station, Program in Biology, Research Museums Center