You might have seen that last week we welcomed a new acquisition to the museum. An Albatross that hangs proudly in our new learning space.
The learning space will be a place where we celebrate contemporary natural science, and the albatross is a fantastic symbol, that highlights the link between nature and man. Gilbert White would have never seen this bird, but his work on identifying the connection between man and nature, was the foundation of the romantic movement. Samuel Taylor Coleridge used the image of an Albatross in his 1798 poem Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which reflects on the concept that by killing nature humankind brings a curse upon itself. A lesson we could all do with listening to more than 200 years later.
On the 22nd March Professor Richard Phillips will be visiting to discuss man’s effect of Antarctic bird life, particularly the albatross. Anyone having watched Blue Planet will remember the devastating effects our man made plastics have on sea life. Professor Phillips will highlight this along with other dangers such as fisheries and invasive species. He will also speak on the application of population, tracking and other monitoring data to understand and address threats to albatrosses.
Professor Phillips is the leader of the Higher Predators and Conservation group at British Antarctic Survey, and works on the population, physiological and evolutionary ecology of seabirds, particularly albatrosses and petrels. He is also involved with the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) and Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), trying to develop strategies for improving seabird conservation in the Southern Ocean.