New Exhibit at Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton Bring Very Big & Very Tiny to Life
Natural Selections, the latest exhibit at the renowned Edmonton attraction, features behind-the-scenes research from the Royal Alberta Museum – on a very big scale
There are also very, very, very tiny things to see in the Royal Alberta Museum's Natural Selections exhibit such as colonies of mites chewing down on soil. "If we were to step on them, we'd be stepping on a million of them with one footstep," says Todd Crawshaw, Communications Coordinator with the Edmonton, Alberta museum.
The many fascinating mites and beetles in this exhibit might normally be missed by the human eye, but they're incredibly important to life on this planet. For instance, the White-spotted Sawyer Beetles, one of the first to arrive at a freshly burned forest site, follow smoke plumes from forest fires to find the dead coniferous trees they need to survive. "They leave their larva in a burned out tree stump. They feed off the stump and then poop out a substance called Frass. Frass then accumulates at the base of the tree stump and stimulates the soil and plant life. This is the first domino into recreation of a new forest," Crawshaw explains.
"Through a series of field and laboratory experiments, I was able to establish a clear link between the feeding activity of the White-spotted Sawyer and nutrient cycling in burned forests," says Dr. Tyler Cobb curator, invertebrate zoology. "These finds illustrate that the forests on which we depend may themselves depend on insect species considered by some to be pests."
Or as Crawshaw puts it, "Every form of life in our province somehow, someway is interconnected. That's what biodiversity is."
Another Royal Alberta Museum exhibit that highlights the wonders of the natural world is Wildlife Photographer of the Year. It showcases award-winning and commended photos from the 2009 edition of the world's most prestigious photography competition, organized by the Natural Museum in London, England and BBC Wildlife Magazine. Another perfect reason to visit the Edmonton attraction this summer, the exhibit gives viewers a chance to get at times wildly up-close-and-personal with nature in 95 extraordinary photographs, including the 17 overall category winners chosen from more than 43,000 entries from 94 countries.
"There are a number of shots taken from underwater reefs throughout the world and deep in the continent of Africa, Papa New Guinea," says Crawshaw, "but you don't have to go that far to find exotic species. A close up shot of a lady bug is one of my favourites."
For more information on the Royal Alberta Museum and other Edmonton attractions and events, visit www.edmonton.com/liveallyear
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