Posts tagged with microscope

Feather identification workshop, Whanganui Regional Museum

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In a collaboration between National Services Te Paerangi and Whanganui Regional Museum, Te Papa’s bicultural researcher Hokimate Harwood brought her phenomenal feather identification skills to a community of 30 weavers and bird enthusiasts earlier this year. Hokimate’s feather identification research looks to decode materials and messages within kākahu | feather cloaks. This means bringing together… Read more »

Fascinating forget-me-not pollen

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Now that springtime is upon us in New Zealand, many plants are starting to flower, producing pollen. Many of us have a negative association with pollen due to its role in causing allergies [PDF, 172KB]. But not all pollen causes allergies, and pollen is of course extremely important to the biology and ecology of flowering plants. Some… Read more »

A new microscope: how improved technology is making our work easier

Jean-Claude inspect some specimens under the new macroscope, 2016. Te Papa.

Imaging specialist, Jean-Claude Stahl, has been getting to grips with our new microscope which can take incredibly sharp pictures of shells as tiny as a grain of sand. Being able to take high quality, close-up images, is an important part of our scientist’s role in documenting species from the natural environment. With older technology, this was no… Read more »

He huia tangata tahi – there is but one person synonymous with the huia, the chief

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Ngā rau kura – Precious feathers In 2007 I identified the birds in Te Papa’s Māori cloaks using microscopic analyses of feather down and museum bird skin comparisons. My findings have provided a deeper knowledge of the museum’s natural history and Māori collections but also an appreciation and understanding of Māori bird use at the… Read more »

Getting a measure of plant taxonomy

  • Laptop with spreadsheet showing highlighted cell with "13.28" mm leaf width measurement, that has been automatically transferred from the digital calipers to the morphological data matrix. Photo © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
  • Laptop screen with highlighted spreadsheet cell showing "13.28" mm leaf width measurement has been transferred to the morphological data matrix. © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
  • Here you can see the whole set up, including Heidi measuring the specimen with the digital calipers, that are in turn connected to the laptop for instant data transfer. Photo © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
  • Laptop screen with highlighted cell of spreadsheet showing "13.28" mm leaf width measurement now in the morphological data matrix. Photo © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

As a plant taxonomist, most of my work involves determining how many species are in a particular genus of flowering plants, how they are related to one another, and what the correct scientific names for those species are. To do this, I gather and analyze data from a number of sources, including genetics, chromosomes, ecology,… Read more »

Ask the feathers

Left: 'amakua hulu manu Kūka'ilimoku (feathered image), 1700s, maker unknown; feathers, animal teeth, pearl shell and plant fibres; gift of Lord St Oswald, 1912. Right: Close-up showing black Hawai'i mamo feathers used for the eyebrow

In early March, Te Papa Tongarewa was asked by an overseas museum if they could borrow ‘amakua hulu manu Kūka’ilimoku (feathered image) for an exhibition. As part of the process to allow or decline a loan, all the materials that make up an object need to be identified. We were unsure of the exact species… Read more »