Our venues

Blog

Posts tagged with 'natural history'

Tobago: the final stop

27 August 2015 by Paula

The Tobago field collecting team: (left to right): David, Terri and Darren

The Tobago field collecting team: (left to right): David, Terri and Darren

Joanna Ostapkowicz, Curator of the Americas, collection concludes her research journey through Trinidad & Tobago:

Day 9-10: Tobago

Tobago: the final stop in the herbarium/strontium collecting tour. Forestry officer Mr. Darren Henry picked me up early on the first day for a quick visit to the Forestry offices to discuss itinerary and best places to find the specific species we’re after, before venturing out to the ‘wilds’ of the island. In contrast to the 8 days it took us to sample an island the size of Trinidad; we managed to do the length and breadth of Tobago in 2 days.  On the second day, we were joined by trainees Ms Terri Phillips and Mr David Quamina, both of whom quickly became proficient at herbarium collecting – from labelling to GPS readings.

The iridescent Jacamar and the not so-small Longhorn beetle

The iridescent Jacamar and the not so-small Longhorn beetle

Samples sites on Tobago

Samples sites on Tobago

Tobago is green and lush, with small, quiet villages nestled along the coast – its colonial history echoing in the names of its towns and bays: Glamorgan, Culloden Bay, Hillsborough, Englishman’s Bay and, memorably, Bloody Bay – named after the 1771 battle between English forces and African slaves that turned the sea crimson with blood.  At its northern core is the Tobago Forest Reserve – the oldest protected rainforest in the western hemisphere (established 1771, and consisting of 14,000 acres): we secured our last Andira sp there.  The ‘wildlife’ didn’t disappoint either – from insects to birds, the island is rich in natural wonders.

The coastline of Tobago, looking south from Flagstaff Hill, the Northern most point of the island

The coastline of Tobago, looking south from Flagstaff Hill, the Northern most point of the island

 

 

 

 

 

 

It poured down a couple of times during the course of our fieldwork, which made sample collection a bit of a challenge – but all worked out in the end, and we had 21 samples of Andira sp., Terminalia sp., and Brosimum sp., among others.  Thanks to Jameel, they were couriered back to the National Herbarium for processing.  Together with the 111 specimens from Trinidad, the two islands were well represented by 132 tree specimens. These benefit not only the herbarium collections of two institutions, but also contribute to building a thorough strontium isotope data set for both islands.

The project has built collaborative links with colleagues at the National Herbarium of Trinidad and Tobago as well as the islands’ Forestry Divisions, and it has been an absolute pleasure to work alongside everyone. My thanks to Yasmin, Jameel (and family), Kim, Keisha, Necheia, Shavini, Safraz, Harris, Imran, Leo, Nayo, Jason, Darren, Terri, David, Hamlet and Cyril – for making my time on the islands so productive and memorable!”

 

 

The central South West: ‘five-fingers’, ‘fat pork’ and tamarind sours

20 August 2015 by Paula

Waterloo temple

Waterloo temple

Joanna Ostapkowicz, Curator of the Americas Collection, is on the last leg of her research trip to Trinidad before heading over to Tobago:

Day 7-8: The central South West: ‘five-fingers’, ‘fat pork’ and tamarind sours

Our last area was the central South West, one of the island’s more geologically complex regions, with both Tertiary and Cretaceous sedimentary bedrock.  This was among the oldest geology on the island, and generally, the older the geology, the higher the expected strontium isotope values.  We covered a large region over the course of two days, from Waterloo in the north to Moruga on the south coast, finishing off on the important archaeological site of Banwari Trace, home of ‘Banwari Woman’, thought to date to ca. 5000 BC, which would make her the oldest human skeleton known from the entire Caribbean. Read more…

The source: Pitch Lake and environs

11 August 2015 by Paula

Pitch Lake and a view of the shoreline from the centre of the lake during a downpour

A view of the shoreline from the centre of Pitch Lake before and after a downpour. The two photos were taken within moments of each other.

We continue with Joanna on her journey through Trinidad as she reaches Pitch Lake:

Days 5 & 6: The source: Pitch Lake and environs

Pitch Lake: the reason I’m in Trinidad. Our mission over the next two days is to collect samples both within and around the lake to give us a good strontium signal for this unique region. Of course the other Trinidad/Tobago regions are important too – but this is the core of our study. Read more…

The oilfields of the South East and ‘pitch lake’ roads

7 August 2015 by Paula

The southeast crew

The southeast crew: (left to right): Keisha, Leo, Imran, Jameel.

Joanna Ostapkowicz, Curator of the Americas collection, continues her rather bumpy journey through Trinidad, we catch up with her for:

Day 4: The oilfields of the South East and ‘pitch lake’ roads

We were joined by forest officers Mr. Imran Mohammed and Mr. Leo Persad for our tour of the South East forest reserves.  This region holds some of the largest forested areas in Trinidad, including the Trinity Hills Wildlife Sanctuary. It also has oil reserves running throughout it, and there are many small oil pumps working away. Read more…

Mountains, Maracas beach and more mangos

4 August 2015 by Paula

A mountainous vantage point between Verdant Vale and Morne La Croix

A mountainous vantage point between Verdant Vale and Morne La Croix

It’s day 3 for Joanna Ostapkowicz on her research trip to Trinidad:

“Day 3: Mountains, Maracas beach and more mangos: the Central North West

The North West is Trinidad’s mountainous region, with steep roads heading out to the coasts. The roads cut through mountain rock, sometimes with only bamboo groves keeping the road from slipping down slope. It is here that we found some of the largest examples of our key species – such as this magnificent Andira sp. (Angelin), perched along the Marienne River. Read more…

Curious dogs, venomous vipers and a truck full of samples

24 July 2015 by Paula

The rugged coast along the road to Matelot.

The rugged coast along the road to Matelot.

Joanna Ostapkowicz, Curator of the Americas, collection continues her journey through Trinidad, here is her latest update:

Day 2: Curious dogs, venomous vipers and a truck full of samples – a hike in North East Trinidad

This is rainy season in Trinidad: not only did we benefit from another day of overcast skies, but the heavens did open for a short time – and there is nothing like a tropical shower to cool you down after a bit of humid forest trekking. Read more…

Cocoa, mango and the generous Trini spirit

20 July 2015 by Paula

Doux-doux - the sweetest of mangos

Doux-doux – the sweetest of mangos – though Trinidad has a huge variety of mangos, and everyone has their own preference, often hotly contested.

This is the second blog in the series from Joanna Ostapkowicz, Curator of the Americas collection at World Museum.

“Day 1: Cocoa, mango and the generous Trini spirit: Herbarium collecting in Eastern Trinidad

Overcast days are a blessing when fieldworking in Trinidad – and indeed any part of the Caribbean: the heat and humidity can knock even the locals back. Read more…

The connection between living trees and Trinidad’s prehistory

17 July 2015 by Paula

A medium-sized specimen of Andira sp., growing in the forest reserves of Tamana, Eastern Trinidad. These trees can grow up to 100 feet in height.

A medium-sized specimen of Andira sp., growing in the forest reserves of Tamana, Eastern Trinidad. These trees can grow up to 100 feet in height.

Joanna Ostapkowicz, Curator of the Americas collections for World Museum, has sent us this Blog post about her trip to Trinidad and the work she in undertaking.

“The 4×4 rattled down the dirt road surrounded by the lush vegetation of Tamana, Eastern Trinidad, coming to a stop when forestry officer Harris Soukiel gave the word that one of ‘our’ trees had been sighted: Andira sp. (common name: Angelin).  Read more…

Chinese New Year!

8 February 2013 by Lucy

Most of us have already celebrated the New Year, and enough time has passed that we have made – and broken – New Year’s resolutions a plenty!

If like me you’ve taken a while to get started with your plans to start a new fitness regime or take up a new hobby, why not have another crack at starting a fresh this Sunday, with the dawning of the Chinese New Year.

2013 is the Year of the Snake, and World Museum can certainly boast a lot of snakes in its collections. You can visit the Clore Natural History Centre to see some of the snake specimens and skeletons on display, or have a look at our online collection if you really want to have a good nose at what’s in our stores. Read more…

Wild Planet at World Museum

25 July 2012 by Laura

Louise Beard is volunteering with the Marketing and Communications team at the moment. Last week we sent her out to see Wild Planet, the latest exhibition at World Museum (runs until 28 October). Here is what she made of it:


Photograph from exhibition

Rajan snorkelling © Jeff Yonover/ Wild Planet

I visited the rather wonderful Wild Planet exhibition at the World Museum today. I’m no wildlife fanatic or, indeed, photography fanatic and I like nature programmes as much as the next person. But I was bowled over by this collection of stellar images. Read more…

About our blog

Welcome to the National Museums Liverpool blog! Written by our staff and volunteers, we’ll give you a peek behind the scenes of our museums and galleries.

Award-winning blog

corpcomms awards winner logo

Subscribe

RSS RSS Feed

Disclaimer

We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.