Biodiversity Month Recap

As #BiodiversityMonth comes to end for 2020, we’re recapping what is biodiversity, why it’s important, how you can help us protect it for our future and our role as a museum in protecting biodiversity.  Watch the 4 part video series below with curators and collection managers from our biodiversity team.

What is Biodiversity with Dr Marissa McNamara, Collection Manager of Crustaceans

Watch the full video here.

“September is Biodiversity Month, which is all about protecting, conserving and improving biodiversity around the world. So what is biodiversity? That’s easy. It’s all the living things on Earth. There are millions of lifeforms around us. But we still know so little about so few. It’s estimated that there are more than eight million species on Earth, but we’ve only described about one million so far. In fact, many species are sitting in museum collections just waiting to be discovered. So what is biodiversity to me? Sixty thousand crustacean species ranging from tiny isopods to barnacles stuck on rocks to marine crabs and lobsters to freshwater shrimps and crayfish. There are loads of common species in and around Moreton Bay. So the next time you’re walking on the beach or along a stream, take a moment to appreciate your local crustacean biodiversity.”

Why is biodiversity important with Dr Chris Burwell, Senior Curator of Insects

Watch the full video here.

“I’m here to talk about why biodiversity is important. For purely selfish reasons biodiversity is essential for our continued survival on the planet. The tropical forests are the world’s lungs. We need forests for healthy catchments. Our natural wonders such as the North Queensland rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef are important for our tourism industry. We need healthy oceans for food security, for healthy fisheries, insects pollinate most of our crops and break down organic matter and enrich the soils. We need biodiversity for new chemicals, for new novel drugs and for new materials and biodiversity is just important to be preserved for its own sake. I’m lucky. I’ve seen some iconic animals. I’ve seen koalas. I’ve seen quolls. I’ve seen wandering albatross and orangutans in the wild. It’s important that we preserve them for future generations so that our children and our children’s children get to experience biodiversity.”

What can we do to protect biodiversity with Patrick Couper, Senior Curator of Reptiles

Watch the full video here.

“For the last five years, I’ve been working on an event for the World Science Festival called The Hatchery and this is where we take loggerhead turtle legs and we actually have in our public galleries. But during this event, we’ve been focussing on marine plastics. And I have some samples here to show you today of the sort of things we’ve been showing people. This is a sample of marine plastic. It was picked up on an Island in the Coral Sea amongst us. We’ve got toothbrushes, cigarette lighters. These are very common items. Here’s another sample of plastic. This was collected sixteen hundred metres down off a sea mount of New Caledonia. Now there’s this plastic floats round the ocean. It comes brittle and breaks into small, hard pieces. And that’s particularly problematic for wildlife, particularly the tube-nose seabirds like Petrels. And for the smaller sized vases, we bring turtles that are feeding at the surface. So here we have some samples. This is a sample of soft plastic that was taken out of the gut of a juvenile green turtle in the Coral Sea. Here’s a sample of hard plastic that was coughed up by an albatross chick in the Hawaiian Islands. And this sample here hard plastics was taken from a seabird colony on Lord Howe Island. It was collected at sea by the Adult Birds and Bullsbrook inshore and feed the chicks. So it’s very important we do something about reducing the plastic load in the oceans. This is biodiversity month. So we all need to do our part to make sure that the many species that share the planet with us don’t disappear. We need to protect the environment and there are many things we can do as individuals. We can get involved in cleanups, community type exercises, picking up rubbish or protecting native habitat and joining groups that are revegetate creek lines and the like. We all have to think about reducing, recycling and reusing. So don’t buy things you don’t need. Make sure you avoid products with excess packaging and buy local. These are the sort of things that we will do to help.”

Queensland Museum Network’s role in protecting biodiversity with Terry Miller, Head of Biodiversity and Geosciences

Watch the full video here.

“I’m here today to talk to you about what the Queensland Museum Network’s role is in preserving and documenting our state’s biodiversity. We’re fortunate to live in one of the most biodiverse regions in the world and for over 150 years, the Queensland Museum has been collecting, preserving and documenting the state’s enormous biodiversity, which spans ecosystems as wide ranging as the Great Barrier Reef, our wet tropics regions and the red desert regions of Queensland as well and important to this is documenting and characterising this diversity for future generations, but also assisting scientists in understanding the impacts of environmental change and how species diversity changes over time. So our museum network will continue to do that over the next few years and into the future.”

Learn more about our biodiversity research here.

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