Amgueddfa Blog

Helo Cyfeillion y Gwanwyn,

Heddiw yw’r diwrnod olaf i gasglu darlleniad tywydd cyn Nadolig! Byddwch yn cymryd darlleniad tywydd nesaf yr wythnos o’r 8-12 Ionawr. Wrth gofnodi eich darlleniadau i’r wefan, plîs nodwch ‘dim cofnod’ ar gyfer y dyddiau rydych i fwrdd o’r ysgol.

Does dim rhaid cymryd eich potiau adra dros y gwyliau. Os yw’r potiau mewn lle saf lle byddant ddim yn cael ei effeithio gan y gwynt, bydda nhw’n iawn. Mae'r pridd yn cadw’r bylbiau yn ddwfn yn erbyn y tywydd oer.

Mae’r tywydd wedi bod yn eithaf cynnes am y gaeaf, a bydd o’n ddiddorol i weld yr effaith mae hyn yn cael ar ein bylbiau! Gwelodd Tachwedd 2017 tymereddau ucha a llai o law na flwyddyn ddiwethaf. Ac er ein bod wedi cael ychydig llai o oriau haul na'r llynedd, oedd Tachwedd 2017 dal yr ail mwyaf heulog ers i gofnodion DU cychwyn yn 2012! Os mae’r patrwm yma yn parhau, efallai fyddwn yn weld ein blodau yn gynharach flwyddyn yma!

Mwynhewch eich gwyliau Cyfeillion y Gwanwyn.

Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda,

Athro’r Ardd a Bwlb Bychan

 

Sylwadau:

Diolch ichi am eich holl sylwadau, cawsom grynodebau tywydd manwl iawn am yr wythnosau diwethaf, ac rydw i'n hynod o falch! Rydym hefyd wedi cael gwybod gan ychydig o ysgolion bod eu planhigion wedi dechrau blaguro! Byddwn yn ddiolchgar pe gallai'r ysgolion hyn rannu lluniau gyda mi cyn ac ar ôl y gwyliau Nadolig, fel y gallwn ni i gyd weld faint maent yn tyfu yn yr amser hwn!

Diolch am eich holl waith caled Cyfeillion y Gwanwyn. Edrychaf ymlaen at barhau eto yn y Flwyddyn Newydd!

Athro'r Ardd

 

Planhigion wedi dechrau blaguro:

Ysgol Beulah: Mae pedwar blaguryn wedi dechrau tyfu.

Ysgol San Sior: Our crocus plants have already started to grow! We are very excited – A.

Ysgol San Sior: A lot of our plants have started to grow but I am still waiting for mine. I'm checking every morning. – C.

Adamsdown Primary: My plant has started to grow.

St Julians Primary School: Lots of our daffodils have started to peek through the compost now.

Hemlington Hall Academy: Some of our crocuses have begun to grow. We can see them peeking through the top of the soil about 1-2cm. We didn't expect to see this until the spring.

 

Sylwadau am y prosiect:

Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant (Llanelli): Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda oddi wrth Blwyddyn 4 Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant, Llanelli.

St Andrew's RC Primary School: It was really enjoyable to go outside to measure the status of the plants and to plant them.

YGG Tonyrefail: Having fun

Our Lady of Peace Primary School: First day of doing this in December can't wait for Christmas see you then.

Ysgol San Sior: We have asked a school in Barcelona to join us in this project. They have planted some bulbs that we bought and sent them. Their plants haven't grown like most of ours. Carys and Amelia are still checking every day for some growth. Professor Plant: That’s fantastic Bulb Buddies! Please keep me updated on how your projects go and what you learn.

Falkland Primary School: Plants are epic

Falkland Primary School: Cool stuff.

 

Sylwadau am dywydd eithafol:

Ysbyty Ifan: Dim ysgol dydd llun oherwydd eira dydd mawrth roedd 110 mm o eira yn y mesurydd glaw diolch am y cerdyn

Garstang St. Thomas' CE Primary School: We had local flooding this week!

Auchenlodment Primary School: Storm Caroline brought high winds this week to Johnstone.

Beaufort Hill Primary School: School closed on Friday due to snow

St Teresa's Primary School: The school was closed on Monday due to snow/ ice.

Ysgol Bro Pedr: 2 days off this week due to the snow

Henllys CIW Primary: the school was closed on monday and tuesday and on wednesday it was 43 mm

Shirenewton Primary School: Snow day Monday

 

Crynodebau tywydd:

Ferryside V.C.P School: Roedd wythnos hyn yn oer a cael lot o glaw.

Ysgol Casmael: Cesair ac eira wythnos yma.

Ysgol Carreg Emlyn: Roedd yr ysgol ar gau dydd gwener oherwydd yr eira felly nid oedd yn bosib cofnodi'r tywydd.

Ysgol Y Traeth: Wedi bwrw cenllysg ac eira ychydig heddiw (Dydd Gwener 8/12/17)

Ysbyty Ifan: mae hi wedi bod yn bwrw eira heddiw

Darran Park Primary: It’s the same as last week the lower the temperature the less rain and the higher the temperature the more rain.

Auchenlodment Primary School: It was a cold and dry week. We were off on Thursday as it was St Andrew's Day (Scotland's patron saint).

Carnbroe Primary School: Hi Professor Plant, we have had mixed weather this week. It was really wet on Monday, on Wednesday it was icy and today it was mild. Our plants are doing fine.

Carnforth North Road Primary School: We had some very cold weather.

Ysgol Iau Hen Golwyn: not much rain.

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: It's been a cold and frosty week!

St Paul's CE Primary School: Lots of heavy snow this week and very low temperatures. Snow lying thick on the ground Thursday and Friday. Frosty every morning.

Inverkip Primary School: It was frosty throughout the week. This will not help. There was barely any rain.

Waddingham Primary School: Overnight on Thursday, it snowed. By the time we did our readings on Friday, the snow had melted and the water level was 2mm.

Canonbie Primary School: We have had a slight flurry of snowflakes. We have not had much rain. It is quite cold.

Ysgol Bro Pedr: Beautiful and chilly end to a week that started miserably.

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: Hi been a cold and windy week, very cold and wet. Not excited for the winter coldness ahead. BYE BYE.

Beaufort Hill Primary School: Very cold week!

Garstang St. Thomas' CE Primary School: Brrrrrr!

Peterston super Ely Primary School: It was very cold this week for our bulbs!

St Robert's R.C Primary School: We didn't get much snow!

Inverkip Primary School: On Wednesday, we had lots of rain. This would help the plants grow. But because the temperatures were low, they might not grow.

Arkholme CE Primary School: This week was fairly cold and wet. In the mornings it was very frosty. We could not get to bulbs because of the plumbers. The temperatures were all above minus because we checked them in the afternoon and by then it was warmer.

St Robert's R.C Primary School: It got cold this week and we had a little bit of snow in Bridgend, but not much!

St Paul's CE Primary School: Heavy rain Thursday Friday. Cold all week. Frosty mornings

Pembroke Primary School: Would you like more detailed information as provided previously? I can include daily high, low and weekend information. Professor Plant: Hi Bulb Buddies, if you have time to enter the detailed information that would be lovely! And if you are doing any activities in the classroom using this data I’d love to hear about it!

Bardney Church of England & Methodist Primary: Cold!

Henllys CIW Primary: actual rain fall on Thursday was 25ml and friday raingage had fallen over with the snow

Portpatrick Primary School: Snow on Friday!

Canonbie Primary School: It has been a cold wind and we might be getting some snow. We have had a busy with our Christmas play.

Carnbroe Primary School: Hi Professor Plant the weather has been very cold this week. It started quite mild and damp and then on Thursday it dropped to 4°C. On friday it dropped again down to 2°C and it is very cold and icy but our plants are still thriving.

Darran Park Primary: Its kind of done the opposite to last week. The temperature has been higher and on Thursday we had more rain. Today we had some snow and the temperature has dropped.

Ysgol Iau Hen Golwyn: There was not that much rain this week and the temperature was high on the first 4 days and then on the last day it was 4 which is low.

Ysgol Bro Pedr: Rather chilly in the west of Wales!!!

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: We've had snow flurries this morning - it's been a cold week.

Llanishen Fach Primary School: It has been really cold this week. We have checked our bulbs but they haven't grown yet.

Carnforth North Road Primary School: Its been very cold this week.

Carnbroe Primary School: Hi Professor Plant we hope that you have been wrapped up this week. It has been very cold and icy in Carnbroe this week. It rained on Wednesday and today and because it has been so cold its iced over. Our plants are still sleeping. Professor Plant: I have been wrapped up, thank you Bulb Buddies. And thank you for sharing your lovely photos.

Edenham Church of England Primary School: Monday - snowfall not rainfall!!! Professor Plant: Exciting Bulb Buddies, I hope you enjoyed bringing the snow in to melt before taking your readings! Keep up the good work.

YGG Tonyrefail: On Monday Tuesday and Wednesday it was snowing so no record

Ysgol Iau Hen Golwyn: The temperature and rainfall have both been very low as there was not much rain and not very hot.

Shwmae,


I am a Biology Undergraduate at Cardiff University and today I am just over two months into my professional training year placement within the Botany section, Department of Natural Sciences at the National Museum Wales. Plant life of all sorts has always delighted me, and when an opportunity to work in Wales’s largest herbaria arises, you grab it by both hands! So far, my experience has been nothing short of extraordinary. Working with and learning from a team of respected and experienced botanists has been the highlight of my stay so far, rivalled only by the history and scientific value that this department holds behind its doors.

 


The project I am working on involves studying the highly invasive annual plant Impatiens glandulifera,-Royle, or Himalayan Balsam as it is commonly known. Himalayan balsam, like so many other invasive plants found in Britain today was introduced by the Victorians as a botanical curiosity. First contained in botanical gardens, its high growth rate and reproductive output mean that now, it is found in almost every area of Britain. Himalayan balsam can reach heights of 3 metres and produce up to 2500 seeds per plant, often forming dense populations along river banks throughout the UK. Buoyant seed pods mean that seeds are easily transported in river systems, and seeds don’t have to germinate the following year after set, they have a two-year dormancy period whilst they wait for the right growth conditions. The life traits of Himalayan balsam mean that it has become incredibly invasive in the UK, with it being listed as a Schedule 9 plant in the Wildlife and Countryside Act; i.e. it is illegal to plant or otherwise cause it to grow in the wild.

 


My project involves studying specimens to see if any morphological traits have changed since its introduction into the UK in 1839, and looking at variation between populations of Himalayan balsam in the South Wales area. So far, much of my time has been spent conducting field work! I have been out collecting specimens of Himalayan balsam using a plant press. Specimens are randomly chosen from their habitat, mounted between a folded bit of thin paper called a ‘flimsy’, making sure that all leaves and flowers are flat and arranged in a way that their features can still be studied. Acid free card is placed between specimens and they are mounted into a plant press, straps are then wrapped around the plant press and pulled as tight as possible before it is placed in a specialist drying oven. After the specimens have been in the drying oven for between 5-7 days, they are then placed in a freezer for 4 days to kill any insects, bacteria or fungal spores that may have contaminated specimens.

 


After the drying and freezing process is over, specimens are ready to be examined and studied! So far, I have spent most of my time in the field collecting information such as number of seeds, flowers, height, colour of flowers, type of habitat, light levels, whether population is managed or not, etc. I plan to use this information to compare differences between sites where I. glandulifera is found in the South Wales area, and whether there are discrete differences between these populations. This will involve molecular work in the lab; potentially looking at differences in the number of ‘microsatellites’ between populations. ‘Microsatellites’ are repetitive DNA sequences and by directly comparing the number of repeats of microsatellites we can learn more about the diversity within and between local populations.

 


I am collecting a large data-set for I. glandulifera in the South Wales area, looking at different morphological characteristics of the plants, as well as collecting measurements from the habitat it was collected from. Measurements include light levels, tree cover, habitat type, whether the population was managed etc, with the ultimate goal of allowing me to see if these different habitat variables impacts how I. glandulifera grows. After I have collected specimens from different habitat types, their morphological characteristics can be analysed. This will involve imaging software to look at traits like leaf area, leaf width, leaf length, flower length, leaf shape, and microscopy work looking at stomatal density, size of ‘guard cells’ that make up a plant’s stomata and pollen structure (picture). Once I have collected measurements from I. glandulifera collected in 2017, I can then look at specimens of I. glandulifera in the herbarium collected in the 1900s to see if there has been a change in any of these morphological traits in the past 100 years. If there has been a change, what is happening, are the leaves larger or smaller? Are plants taller or shorter? Do they produce less or more flowers? These are the questions I am hoping to answer with my research, and in doing so produce some answers on how we can begin to tackle this unwelcome invader.

 


It has been a very exciting and enjoyable few months in the herbarium I have had opportunities that most people would only dream of, and each day I spend here I learn something new from the experienced curators I have surrounding me. The herbarium is something to be treasured, plant records frozen in time that contain a wealth of information just waiting to be discovered. And this resource is here for you to explore and enjoy too, just contact one of the herbarium team to make an appointment (https://museum.wales/curatorial/botany/staff/). Everything here fills me with sheer joy, and it is an absolute pleasure to wake up each day knowing that I am spending my time in such a wonderous place. I don’t look forward to leaving this gorgeous establishment, but I look forward to seeing what wonders this herbarium has in store for me, and what answers it can provide me on my path to stop invasive species here in Wales.

 

 

When Dr Christian Baars, the Senior Preventive Conservator at National Museum Cardiff, contacted me to ask me take part in his project, I’d never really thought about the work going on behind the scenes at a museum. I’d been on a tour I mean, beyond the ticket desk, café staff, security guards and perhaps cleaners if you’re there right to the end of the day. But have you ever thought about the work that goes into maintaining collections and displays? I doubt it.

Conserving the historic exhibits is one of the largest behind the scenes jobs. There are many things that can damage the artefacts, such as light, air pollution and moisture. But for a big collection of stuffed animals, such as in Cardiff, one of the big problems is pest insects. Lots of different insects, such as carpet beetles and clothes moths, like to eat dead animals. Dr Baars showed me some of the pinned insect collection, which are falling apart or disappearing because one of the beetles has got in to eat them.

We wanted to show the visitors that fighting these insects is a huge job and so we set about making a video that showed the damage the beetles can do. Luckily, Dr Baars had a dead mouse in the freezer (as you do!) which would do just the job. I added some beetle larvae to the dead mouse and left it in a box to be eaten. I used a time lapse camera to film the process of the mouse being devoured by the beetle larvae.  

The resulting video is on the right hand side of this page. Evidently, the mouse is getting progressively smaller as the larvae munch through its body. Now imagine this happening to the woolly mammoth, or the foxes, or any other amazing object at the museum. This is what museum conservators work hard to prevent and this is why we wanted to spread the word.

Once the video was finished, I showed it to museum visitors and asked people to tell me what they thought it was about. Most people had not heard about conservation in museums before nor about the damage insects may cause, even though some had experience with moths or similar insects at home. One visitor described it as fascinating. Another reminded me that “dead things always make good exhibits!” People certainly enjoyed the “gross factor” of a video of a decomposing mouse!

Yet the most important result for me was the finding that everyone wanted to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes at museums. Both adults and children understood the significance of the work. An adult visitor said “once it’s dead and in a case, you don’t really think about it about what happens after”, highlighting the need and the interest in what goes on to make a museum exhibit happen. And a younger visitor exclaimed “imagine you had a billion year old thing and it just got ate… I would very sad”. I couldn’t agree more.

While the purpose of this project was to educate museum visitors about pest management in museums, I think this experiment shows there is an enthusiasm for knowing more about the hard work of museum staff beyond those you see when you visit. In Cardiff visitors can come for free, but in a world where every institution is fighting for funding, we need to show the public that our work is vital and worth every penny. We showed that it is simple to raise awareness and that the work of conservators is worth an exhibit or two all of its own.

 

Charlotte @scicommchar undertook this project as part of a 'Learning Lab' placement while studying for a MSc degree in Science Communication at the University of the West of England. The University contact was Andy Ridgway, Senior Lecturer in Science Communication and Programme Leader MSc/PGCert in Science Communication, @AndyRidgway1. Many thanks also to Rhodri Viney, the National Museum's Digital Content Assistant, for help with producing the video.

Find out more about Care of Collections at Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales here and follow us on Twitter.

 

Heather Pardoe from the Botany Section, Natural Sciences, has been working with the Museum Shop to provide a beautiful selection of Christmas themed botanical images for you to view.

The Museum holds a collection of over 7000 superb botanical prints and drawings.  Principle Curator, Heather Pardoe, has handpicked a seasonal range of exquisite botanical illustrations in order to reflect the  range of illustrations in the collection. 

This provides a ‘bird’s eye view’ of some of the illustrations that Botany holds behind the scenes; many are rarely on public display.

We have been working towards providing a series of collections for you to enjoy - we are currently focusing upon a spring collection. Watch this space for more news!

If you would like to see more of this beautiful Christmas collection, please follow the link below which will take you to the Print section of the online shop.  This will also provide you with the opportunity to purchase a reproduction of one of these beautiful images, as well as a wide range of other images from the Museum collections.

Online Shop

Don’t forget to follow the Shop blog and Natural Sciences blog for regular updates!