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Utah Museum of Natural History Presents Ground-Breaking Research to the Public

Giving the public a behind-the-scenes look into the world of a scientist, The Utah Museum of Natural History’s Scientist in the Spotlight continues to blossom into one of its more popular public programs. On the first and third Friday of every month, Scientist in the Spotlight provides Museum-goers a casual, one-on-one forum with a scientist as they convey the significance of their current research to the public.

The highlighted research covers the gamut of scientific topics and research. Subject matters range from biology and biodiversity, to dinosaurs, to anthropology and archeology… to name a few.

“The goal of Scientist in the Spotlight is to allow face-to-face interaction with a local scientist,” said the gallery programs coordinator, PaulMichael Maxfield. “This is an exciting and dynamic way for the public to learn about current, cutting-edge research that’s going on right in their backyard.

“The type of research conducted here at the University of Utah, and in the state, can potentially impact everyone’s daily lives. This program gives the public a sneak peek behind the science before it’s widely implemented.”

The program continues on Friday, September 17, when it highlights the work of Eric Rickart. Rickart has been conducting field surveys in the Toiyabe Mountains of Nevada to better understand the historical biogeography and community structure of small mammal groups. Rickart will have prepared specimens on hand, demonstrating how size difference, degree of isolation, selective colonization, and local extinction affects existing communities.

On October 1, Isotopes with Thure Cerling will take center stage. Cerling examines carbon isotope ratios to better understand the dietary changes taking place in African mammals over millions of years. He will be able to show how advancements in isotope technology are changing our current understanding of ecology and paleoecology. Some of the specimens that will be out include teeth from modern animals, fossilized animals, and the hair of a mammoth.

The Museum is an active research institution that cares for over 1.2 million objects. It provides unique natural history experiences to Utah residents and tourists through traveling and permanent exhibits, special events and other programs. The museum also offers a variety of outreach programs to communities and schools throughout Utah, reaching every school district in the state annually. Its Web site is www.umnh.utah.edu, and its phone number is 801-581-6927.

Scientist in the Spotlight Schedule:
Friday, October 15
Explore Caves with Cami Pulham
Cave Expert Cami Pulham studies the mysterious creators that live inside caves. Explore the world of Trogloxenes, Troglophiles, and Trogophiles- cave adapted macro-invertebrates that live at the cave’s entrance, twilight, and dark zones. And, explore the world of Utah’s bats. Get bat-identifying tips, see prepared bat specimens, and get up-to-date on the latest bat surveying technology.

Friday, November 5
Paleoecology with Allan Ekdale
Allan Ekdale has studied ancient marine invertebrates from all over the world- the Untied States, Mexico, New Zeland, Scandinavia, and Spain- just to name a few. Allan will uncover the ancient life that once inhabited shallow pools and the deep seas. See paleontological specimens and get up-to-date on recent trace fossil and ichnofabric discoveries.

http://umnh.utah.edu

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