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This Week at the Museum

January 3, 2017
The Gift of the Mites
 
Keith Douce spent the summers of ’72 and ’74 at Point Barrow, Alaska, northernmost point in the USA, where the summer sun never sets. Keith studied the soil mite fauna of the far north tundra, identified the mite species and their impact on tundra processes. His research project was part of the International Biological Program.
 
Now, Dr. Douce has donated his Arctic collection of micro-arthropods to the Georgia Museum of Natural History. Slide-mounted specimens are in good shape and will be photographed. Collections in alcohol include collembolans, flies and beetles from the Arctic tundra.
 
Wouldn’t it be interesting to sample those tundra sites again, 45 years later? What changes might be occurring as the far north experiences record warmth? Will new mite species invade? Will rare species become common?
 
But the international programs no longer exist. Ecological research in Alaska has shifted elsewhere. No funds are available for collecting samples from Barrow or for analyzing them.
 
So, Friends, this is a demonstration of the importance of natural history museums. Our Georgia Museum will maintain those important collections, curating them, protecting them, against the time when such research becomes feasible again. That’s one of the things that make natural history museums so important. They are, indeed, the record of climates past.
 
Now – if you haven’t already done so – renew your membership!
 
Please visit out our web site (http://www.gmnhfriends.org) for a list of Friends activities, officers and Board Members.
-- Cheers from Dac Crossley, President
Friends of the Georgia Museum of Natural History.
Comments or suggestions, or just want to chat, I’m soilmite@earthlink.net.

Our email newsletter lets you know what is happening around the Museum and details about upcoming trips and activities of the Friends. Be sure to check out our website at  http://gmnhfriends.org and  Facebook page for the most up-to-date information.

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