Tag Archives: biodiversity

Sharing nature’s gems for World Wildlife Day

World Wildlife Day, held annually on 3 March, was created to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. The day has now become the most important global annual event dedicated to wildlife. This year’s theme is “Life below water: for people and planet”. Oceans harbour a rich variety of communities and a wealth of strange and beautiful creatures, each with its own peculiar adaptations to underwater life. Right on our doorstep are two world-class marine hot spots – the unique waters of south-east Queensland, and of course, our iconic Great Barrier Reef.

To mark the occasion we are sharing some of our Wild State vector artwork and spoke to Queensland Museum Graphic Designer, Baden Philips, about his design. Baden said the most important thing when considering the artwork was that it reflects the Wild State gallery concept of the environment and the animal being equally as important as one another. With these rich and unique environments shrinking and vanishing, there is a significant threat to the animals who call it home, with many becoming endangered or even extinct.

WILD-STATE-Owen-Forest-Leaf-insect-(not-used)

Baden therefore wanted to create the artwork to be reminiscent of a jewellery advertisement, depicting the animals as rare jewels cushioned by a rich and luxurious landscape.  To achieve this jewel-like quality, Baden chose low poly imagery (a polygon mesh in 3D computer graphics that has a relatively small number of polygons) and used Adobe Illustrator to create the drawing on top of the original image. Most of the designs are highly detailed, with each one representing hours of careful work.

Read on for more information about the beautiful animals and habitats that make Queensland one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. 

The Arid Outback

WILD-STATE-Aaron-Outback

Scorching summer days, freezing cold winter nights and dry almost all year round. But despite these seemingly adverse conditions, it is not devoid of life. Many animals, from large kangaroos to tiny invertebrates, have developed remarkable adaptations that enable them to survive in this extreme environment with very little water. Some travel great distances to drink, others get moisture from the food they eat, and some can control their body heat and limit water loss.

The Bush

WILD-STATE-Owen-Forest

Much of Queensland is covered by open forests and woodlands, which have long been described as ‘The Bush’. This is a place of light and, even when the trees are at their densest, the tree tops are well-spaced and allow direct sunlight to flood the often grassy floor. Bush animals rely heavily on the trees and shrubs for food and shelter, with some animals and plants evolving co-dependent adaptations that enhance their survival. 

The Rainforest

WILD-STATE-Owen-Forest-Gecko-(not-used)

Lush, dense plant growth, plentiful rainfall and litter-strewn ground – rainforests are one of the richest habitats on Earth. They have a dense ‘closed’ tree canopy that blocks sunlight and shades a litter-strewn forest floor, creating a multitude of spaces for moisture dependent animals to live. 

WILD-STATE-Ryan-Forest

Southern Cassowaries are primarily found in lowland tropical rainforest, where conditions are hot and humid with frequent heavy rain. The Wet Tropics of North Queensland has 1,165 species in 6,300 square kilometres – more plant species than Finland, which is over 50 times its size. 

The Coast

WILD-STATE-Crystal

Many animals make the shore their permanent home despite challenging conditions such as deadly heat, little oxygen, pounding waves and, more significantly, our interference with this increasingly fragile junction of land and sea. Horn-eyed Ghost Crabs (Ocypode ceratophthalma) are fast running scavengers that are known to prey on baby turtles in tropical waters. 

The Ocean

WILD-STATE-Maureen

Oceans harbour a rich variety of communities and a wealth of strange and beautiful creatures, each with its own peculiar adaptations to underwater life. Right on our doorstep are two world-class marine hotspots – the unique waters of south-east Queensland, and of course, our iconic Great Barrier Reef.

Head to the World Wildlife Day website for more information on how you can get involved, and don’t forget to visit your native friends at Wild State during your next trip to the Museum!

Queensland Museum Guide To The Gifts That Keep On Giving

December is here and the festive season has already begun! At Queensland Museum Shop you’ll find timeless, high-quality pieces and a huge range of unique gifts for your family. To help you win the ‘best gift-giver’ title, we’ve hand-picked special objects and curated gift guides tailored to all ages, curiosities, loves and passions.

Every purchase supports the important work we do at Queensland Museum and helps us care for our precious collections, bring you amazing exhibitions and experiences, and tell fascinating Queensland stories.

For the Water Warrior who soaks up marine life like a sea sponge:

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If you know someone crazy for the big blue, they’ll love these oceanic gifts. Our educational books feature breath-taking imagery of marine life with a focus on Queensland’s rich coastal diversity. For the little scientist, our coral reef science kits will be a crowd-pleaser and our lifelike cuddly creatures are perfect for little ones to learn as they play.

Featured: Giant Squid Plush Toy, Hug’ems Sea Turtle Plush Toy, Wild Guide to Moreton Bay (Book), The Great Barrier Reef (Book), Green Sea Turtle Plush Toy, Humpback Whale Plush Toy, Tilly’s Reef Adventure (Book), Coral Reef Science Kit, and Whale Shark.

For the Natural Nomad who’s always on the move:

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Explorers, history and culture buffs will love our best-selling wild guides to inspire their next adventure. Send them off in style with practical yet well-designed travelling essentials, which they can use for years to come.

Featured: Soap Nuts, In Search Of Ancient Queensland (Book), Rare Rabbit Clouds Scarf, Rare Rabbit Voyager Wallet, Brisbane’s Best Bush, Bay and City Walks (Book), Eco Friendly Bamboo Toothbrush,Wildlife of Greater Brisbane (Book), Eco Friendly Bamboo Toothbrush Holder and Rainbow Aura Quartz Geode Large

For the Dinosaur Devotee, lover of all things prehistoric: 

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We all know one! Get up close and personal with our huge range of lifelike, hand painted figurines, even approved by a palaeo imagery expert! For the little learners, our dinosaur-themed educational kits and interactive games will highlight fun facts on the extinct species that they never knew before.

Featured: Mini Spinosaurus Plush Toy, 1:20 Scale Dimetrodon Model, Tyrannosaurus Model, Brachiosaurus Model, Discover Dinosaurs Educational Set, Flip-O-Saurus (Book), T-Rex Hand Puppet, Beastly Tyrannosaurus Binoculars, Australian Dinosaur Hatching Egg, 1:40 Scale Kronosaurus Model, Dinosaur Snap Cards and 1:40 Scale Spinosaurus Model.

For the Problem Solver who leaves no problem unsolved:

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Brainiacs will love these gifts that will get their synapses firing and provide hours of entertainment! Choose from coding and robotics kits, a ‘build your own’ musical instrument, wacky science experiments, puzzle builders and so much more.

Featured: Tobbie the Robot, Scientist Academy (book), Quercetti Saxoflute, Kidz Motorised Robot Hand, Coder Academy (Book), more products available in store.

For the Serious Scientist who loves to play, test, observe:  

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Fuel their creativity with these curious and colourful picks.  Our range of puzzles and games demonstrate how science works in the real world. Or if they loved visiting our SparkLab Sciencentre and haven’t been able to stop talking about it, make them the ultimate science ambassador with our geek chic cap and drink bottle. Pair it with an Annual Pass for the gift that keeps giving all year round.

Featured: Rainbow Spring SlinkySparkLab Cap, SparkLab Drink Bottle, Periodic Table T-ShirtHoberman Mini Sphere, Mini Periodic Table Book (in-store only), Glass Prism, Periodic Table Mug, Galt Octons.

For the animal aficionado who’s especially mad for monkeys:

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If they love monkeys and primates be sure to surprise them with an adorable tote bag, tee or plush toy so they can take a little piece of the museum with them wherever they go.

Featured: Squirrel Monkey Plush Toy, Monkey Business AffirmationsMonkeys Kids’ T-Shirt, Tumbling Monkey (in-store only), Nature Buddies Mini Monkey Plush ToyMonkeys Tote Bag, The Educated Monkey Calculator and Never Smile at a Monkey (Book). 

For the History Buff who’s never finished learning:

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The obvious choice for those fascinated by Queensland wartime history, Mephisto, the last remaining German tank in the world and the stories of our Anzacs. The museum’s diverse range of books, trinkets and commemorative items covers off on everything from planes and tanks to incredible untold tales. These gifts help tell the story of Queensland and give a deeper meaning to our community.

Featured: Victoria Cross Pencil and Pencil TopperThe Missing Man (Book), Mephisto: Technology, War and Remembrance Paperback Edition and Hardcover Edition (Book), Pompey Elliott At War (Book), Victoria Cross Badge, Spitfire Pencil Sharpener (in-store only), Monash: The Outsider Who Won a War (Book), Pocket Guide: A7V Mephisto, The Great War Soldier’s Badge (in-store only), Amazing Australians in Their Flying Machines (Book), Tank in a Tin and Voices from the Second World War (Book).

Still can’t decide? Visit Queensland Museum Shop online or in person for more inspiration. And for that person who’s tricky to buy for, we offer Annual Passes so they can experience the best of Queensland Museum all year round!

 

Collection manager shares her favourite items

Queensland Museum Collection Manager (Mammals and Birds), Heather Janetzki, talks about some of her favourite items within the Queensland DNA campaign that you have the opportunity to look after.

Continue reading Collection manager shares her favourite items

71 new Australian Goblin spider species named by QM researcher

Written by: Dr Barbara Baehr, Research Scientist, Terrestrial Environments (Arachnida)

Minute goblin spiders with orange armour are widely distributed but hidden! Goblin spiders have a worldwide distribution but are most common in the tropics and subtropics. Goblin spiders are mega diverse however most of the species are short range endemics living in habitats ranging from forests to deserts. The name Goblin spiders was chosen only a few years ago because of their grotesque body shape. Most of the Goblin spiders are orange colored with an armored body.

Continue reading 71 new Australian Goblin spider species named by QM researcher

Understanding the diversity of the Great Barrier Reef – and why it’s important

Written by: Dr John Hooper, Head, Natural Environments

New species of life forms, ranging from bacteria even up to mammals, continue to be discovered across the world on a daily basis. This includes species that make up our Great Barrier Reef (GBR), one of seven natural wonders of the world. So while we may have a reasonably good idea about the numbers and different types (species) of corals and fishes that build and live in the GBR ecosystem, we know very little about the many, probably hundreds of thousands of other species living amongst them – even some very large species, but most very small.

Continue reading Understanding the diversity of the Great Barrier Reef – and why it’s important

New Resources to Support Sustainability Education

Written by: Marcel Bruyn, Strategic Learning

Sustainability is a cross-curriculum priority of the Australian Curriculum. Sustainability addresses the ongoing capacity of Earth to maintain all life. The AC website states that: “Education for sustainability develops the knowledge, skills, values and world views necessary for people to act in ways that contribute to more sustainable patterns of living.”

In Science: “… students appreciate that science provides the basis for decision-making in many areas of society and that these decisions can impact on the Earth system. They understand the importance of using science to predict possible effects of human and other activity and to develop management plans or alternative technologies that minimise these effects.”

Many Australians live in coastal areas and occupy catchments which supply waterways that empty into the ocean. So there is a direct link between healthy waterways and healthy marine environments, and for much of Queensland that includes coral reef environments.

Reef environment
Reef environment

The catchment and/or marine environments are an ideal foci for a school sustainability program. Here are links to excellent educational programs and resources to support the implementation of a sustainability program in your school:

Organisations and educational programs

  • Reef Guardian Schools – Great Barrier Marine Park Authority. The program encourages schools to commit to the protection and conservation of the world heritage listed Great Barrier Reef. The program helps to protect the Reef by promoting their ideas, initiatives and activities to communities to encourage all people to “do their bit to look after it!”. It focuses on: Curriculum offerings; Management of Resources; On-the-ground projects in your school and community and Education of the community. “
  • ReefED: online resources and activities from GBRMPA.
  • Australian Marine Environment Protection Association: AUSMEPA provides FREE educational resources on this website to help teachers plan and undertake a unit of work about key marine environmental issues, including climate change and storm water pollution.
  • Reef Check Australia: The Reef IQ Educational Program includes courses and workshops that allow students to undertake simulated coral reef surveys in the classroom.
  • Marine Education Society of Australasia.
  • Ocean Life Education ‘Brings the Sea to You’ with fun marine education programs including live marine animals designed to inspire students of all ages to appreciate and take responsibility for the marine ecosystem.
  • The Global Learning Centre is a not-for-profit community organisation dedicated to supporting education for justice, peace and sustainability.
  • Healthy Waterways: An NGO that provides information and resources on water education in South East Queensland including: information, resources and games.
  • The Up a Dry Gully Schools Program challenges primary and secondary students to explore and understand how water must be safe, secure and sustainable for our future.
  • CSIRO: CarbonKids is an educational program that combines the latest in climate science with education in sustainability.
  • CSIRO Education, North Queensland: Eco-enigma – An environmental case study where the class becomes a scientific team preparing an environmental impact report. By measuring heavy metal levels in fish, analysing silt in a river etc, students find out who is responsible for the environmental health problems of Sunny Valley.
  • Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities: Australian water education resources.
Reef Biodiscovery microsite at Queensland Museum
Reef Biodiscovery microsite at Queensland Museum

Excursions

Local Government

Many local governments have resources and staff to support sustainability education. For example:

Queensland Museum Resources

The museum has a rich repository of authoritative information and resources, including online content, interactive learning objects, games and school loan kits.

  • Biodiscovery and the Great Barrier Reef: Biodiscovery is the quest for bioactive chemicals from living organisms. Investigate some of the factors affecting the survival of reef organisms and how human activities and climate change are having an impact on the reef.
  • Backyard Explorer: An invertebrate biodiversity audit resource kit that can support biohealth assessment component of a sustainability program.
  • The museum provides loan kits that support object-based learning. For example: Marine Life: Explore a variety of marine life and how they interact with their environment and each other. Investigate interactions between living things and suitability for a marine habitat.Content of the Marine Life Loan Kit available from the Queensland Museum

Incredible Insects: From the desk of Quentin the Quoll

Photo of Quentin the Northern Tiger Quoll at his computer

To teach the Biological Sciences sub strand of the Australian Curriculum well, teachers need to feel fairly comfortable with living things. Of particular benefit is knowledge of insects, firstly because they are invertebrates and therefore don’t require the enormous screeds of paperwork for approval to use them.  Secondly, insects are just simply amazing and frankly, without them, we’d all be dead!

Insects of course are one of the main organisms which support the food webs of all others. For the lower primary year levels (K-6), insects provide a wonderful real life resource that students can observe at first hand. Insects are freely available and with a little knowledge can be easily kept for classroom learning. Many go through some quite mind-blowing transformations and they have found ways to survive in nearly every physical environment on this amazing planet. They can teach students about the needs of living things, external features, growth and change and the effects of the physical environment on survival. And insects are cited for classroom use in the Australian Curriculum and in a number of current curriculum resources for example mealworms in C2C units and the new Primary Connections module. Watch it grow!

For older students (7-10) insects are an exceptionally good resource for teaching about biodiversity, classification, taxonomic keys, sustainability and the planning and conducting of extended experimental investigations. Queensland Museum Entomologist Dr Christine Lambkin (shown below getting a few hot tips from Quentin), has been instrumental in developing a project called Backyard Explorers. The materials and videos located on the QM website  provide a step-by-step guide to conducting a biodiversity assessment using insects, complete with Excel spread sheets for recording and an automated graph creator. For this investigation and especially for the safety of students, the insects are immediately placed in preserving alcohol upon collection. Whilst this is not something teachers feel comfortable with, the deep understandings built through close and detailed examination of the specimens in fact create a greater respect for living things. The insects are only collected for scientific education explicitly following specified methods and certainly this is not open slather on killing things. The impact on insect populations is far less than that caused by the Mortein can, electric bug zappers, and car headlights.

A picture of Quentin the Quoll and QM entomologist Dr. Christine Lambkin

For younger year levels, Quentin and Christine have some other ways to obtain insects which don’t involve killing them and are also safe because the identity (and ability to sting or bite) of the insects is known. To get you started there is a fact sheet called ‘Keeping live insects’ on the following page:

Quentin will return soon with more tips for Primary and Early Years teachers in future blogs.