28 January 2015,
Liam Olds has joined the Department of Natural Sciences for a year as part of the Natural Talent apprenticeship scheme. This scheme is now funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, and has operated in Scotland for some years and been successful in training people in identification skills associated with wildlife and conservation. The scheme has now widened to the rest of the UK and six apprenticeships have started this year. Liam will be working with us on Colliery Spoil Invertebrates and learning how to survey and identify a wide range of species that might be found on these iconic Welsh habitats, as well as working with others who are interested in preserving some of these sites.
Liam identifying colliery spoil invertebrates at National Museum Cardiff
28 January 2015,
Saad Metwali is visiting the museum for a few months. He is an Egyptian studying in Saudi Arabia at King Saud University, Riyadh towards a Masters thesis on leafhopper taxonomy. He is spending time in Natural Sciences working with Dr Mike Wilson on leafhopper identification and taxonomy. This is his first time outside of the Middle East - it might have been better to come in the summer! He has carried out fieldwork in the mountains of SW Arabia and found many species not previously known in Arabia. Our insect collections at National Museum Cardiff are important for the study of this region.
Saad working on leafhoppers at National Museum Cardiff
26 January 2015,
Yn ei dyddiadur ddoe, soniodd Kate am farwolaeth gwr ifanc o Landderfel:
25 Ionawr 1915 – Diwrnod braf iawn. Marwolaeth Willie Jones Llandderfel yn 35 oed. Bob Price yma min nos. David Roberts Pentre ag Humphrey Davies yma min nos.
Yn ei harddull arferol, dyw Kate ddim yn ymhelaethu am farwolaeth Willie Jones. Ond gyda diolch i adnoddau digidol gwych y Llyfrgell Genedlaethol, gallwn wneud hynny heddiw. Cyhoeddwyd ysgrif goffa i Willie Jones yn Baner Ac Amserau Cymru ar 6 Chwefror 1915. O’r erthygl hon, cawn wybod iddo farw o’r diciâu – un Cymro ymysg y 41,800 a fu farw o’r haint yng Nghymru a Lloegr yn y flwyddyn honno.
“Wele un etto o feibion Cymru wedi disgyn i’r bedd yn gynnar trwy yr hen elyn marwol, y darfodedigaeth. Cafodd bob gofalaeth a allasai cyfeillion a pherthynasau eu hestyn iddo. Bu am ysbaid mewn ‘Sanatorium’ ac i bob golwg dynol gallesid meddwl ei fod wedi troi ar wella, ond amser byr a fu cyn dechrau diboeni drachefn.”
Roedd y diciâu yn ofid mawr yng Nghymru ar ddechrau’r 20fed ganrif, ac ar gynnydd yn ystod y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf. Penderfynodd yr Aelod Seneddol David Davies – Yr Arglwydd Davies o Landinam yn ddiweddarach – bod angen “crwsâd” yn erbyn yr haint. I’r diben hwn, yn 1910 sefydlwyd Cymdeithas Goffa Genedlaethol Cymru (Edward VII Welsh National Memorial Association), gyda Davies yn llywydd arni. Gallwch ddarllen mwy am hanes y Gymdeithas ar wefan Archifau Cymru.
Yma yn Sain Ffagan, mae blwch yn y casgliad a ddefnyddwyd yng Ngorffennaf 1914 i gasglu arian er budd y Gymdeithas. O’i amgylch mae’r adysgrif The King Edward VII Welsh National Memorial Association – Crusade againt Consumption – No Change – 21 July 1914, 22 July 1914, 23 July 1914.
[image: Blwch casglu gyda label papur gyda'r geiriau 'Crusade Against Consumption' arno. Er budd Cymdeithas Goffa Genedlaethol y Brenin Edward VII, Gorffennaf 1914.]
26 January 2015,
Today was packed full. Brendan managed to get a dive in before we had to head down to Walker Creek for an afternoon tide. The shore dive went from near Gypsy Cove, not far out of Stanley and involved a short off-road drive to the shore before the divers had to pick their way down across the rocks to get into the water (photo 1). Apparently visibility was reasonable at around 6m and Brendan’s present to me this time consisted of a bag of sand and a couple of bags of ‘stuff’ scraped off the rocks. Unfortunately, Brendan found his way into my bad books by admitting to have lost my ‘dive trowel’. This tool has been great for sediment sampling while diving, as well as shore sampling when not possible to take a spade. Admittedly, the trowel was a cheap plastic one, however the not so cheap brass clip attached to it was another matter!
After the dive, we headed straight off to Walker Creek, which was a 2.5 hour drive south, almost to the opposite end of the island. The shore turned out to be another hard-ish one (photo 2), which was a little disappointing at first, but the collecting turned out to be quite productive. We found some very large orbiniid worms (20-30 cm in length) and an area where there were abundant scaleworms, under more than two thirds of the stones turned over. With the drive back a long and bumpy one, we stopped after an hour so that I could sort through and ‘fix’ (with formaldehyde) the worms and label pots. I have learnt in the past that worms do not enjoy long, bumpy car journeys and break up (particularly more fragile specimens) by the journey end if this is not done.
No shore sampling was planned for today, however, Brendan has managed to get out on 2 different shore dives while I sorted through previous samples, changed formaldehyde to alcohol (a better, less toxic, long term preservative but not as good for the initial fixation) and generally caught up on fieldwork and specimen notes. At lunchtime, the divers returned bearing gifts (even without a trowel). The dive had been on a local Phragmatopoma reef. This is a type of marine bristle worm called a sabellariid (photo 3) that builds hard tubes of sand and can create a reef-like environment around itself. In the UK, other worms of the same family create reefs both on and offshore and are known as ‘honeycomb worms’ due to the appearance of the reef they create. Many other species often inhabit these reefs as well. I was presented with some examples of the reef, some scrapings from rocks and a very large, green paddleworm (photo 4: Eulalia magalhaensis) over 20 cm in length. Another two species of paddleworm, not yet identified, were also found within the samples. These often-colourful worms are very photogenic and I managed to get some good photos of these as well (photos 5 & 6). All in all, a successful day, even without any shore sampling. Loss of the trowel was forgiven!
Photo 1: Divers entering the water
Photo 2: Walker Creek
Photo 3: Sabellariid marine bristleworm (Phragmatopoma)
Photo 4: Green paddleworm (Eulalia magalhaensis)
Photo 5: Paddleworm
Photo 6: Paddleworm
23 January 2015,
Bleaker Island has proven to be very interesting and we’ve certainly had the weather to appreciate it, summer has suddenly landed. It’s sunny enough for sun cream but not quite warm enough to tempt us into short sleeves, still that’s a definite improvement!
Bleaker Island is 10-12 miles in length. We’ve been able to use a car whilst here, so have been able to cover most of the island to check out the coastline. We didn’t arrive until mid-afternoon but were just in time yesterday to catch enough of the tide to still be able to do sampling in the mid-shore of the bay just below the settlement (photo 1). This was a soft muddy coarse sand, fairly black in appearance but with several tubes apparent that could contain worms as well as a few other free-living specimens to collect. There were also a few rocks to turn over and inspect. However, the tide was chasing us back up the beach so we did not stay long. Further round from here, the shore was covered in both large and small flat rocks under which we found a few more species to add to the collection.
Once the tide had risen too far to make further collecting worthwhile, we went on our first reccy along the shoreline to see what it looked like. There seemed to be very little in the way of sand except for a very large white sandy bay covered in penguins (photo 2). Sadly, I know from previous experience that worms and penguins don’t mix, with the type of sand favoured by penguins being practically empty of worms. This used up the rest of the usable day but the next day we headed south along the rest of the island. The southern coastline is all exposed cliffs, with large areas of flat rock ledges made up of solid, scoured-clean rock that did not look promising. The northern coastline, more sheltered, had large swathes of different rock ledges that were covered in a filamentous algae that in turn covered large deposits of a pink calcareous, loose alga (photo 3). This was a type of habitat I had not seen around the islands before and was quite excited to find (okay, that may sound strange but we all find different things exciting!). There did not actually seem to be much diversity within the loose crisp algae but at the same time it was a new habitat in a new location and that kind of data is always important to have whether it is rich or poor in animals. After sampling here we still had time to get back to the settlement just at the low tide point. We went back down to the small bay sampled yesterday and added a sample point from low tide to the mid-tide point already surveyed. There was a small distraction in the shape of a mother sea lion and her pup (photo 4), very small being only a couple of weeks old. Distraction over, the sampling was done. Just to finish off the afternoon we drove slightly further up the coast to add another site to the list that also had some of the calcareous algae over rock ledges (photo 5). These were high enough on shore allowing us to sample until 2-3 hours after the tide had turned.
Tomorrow is back to Stanley and we hope summer will come back with us.
Photo 1: Settlement Bay
Photo 2: Penguin beach
Photo 3: Calcareous alga
Photo 4: Sea lion mother and pup
Photo 5: Algal ledges