Showing blog posts tagged with "Our Research"
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Two extraordinary new species discovered by scientists at the American Museum of Natural History — a toothy leech and a Louisiana batfish — have been named in the Top 10 New Species of 2011, a ranking compiled by the International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) at Arizona State University. Every year taxonomists at the IISE review thousands of new species uncovered over the preceding calendar year.
One of the Top 10 is Tyrannobdella rex, which means “tyrant leech king,” a new species of blood sucker with ferociously large teeth lining a single jaw. It was discovered in Perú when the leech, which is less than 2 inches in length, was plucked from the nose of a girl who had recently been bathing in a river. T. rex was first brought to the attention of Mark Siddall, curator in the Museum’s Division of Invertebrate Zoology, when he received a specimen collected by Dr. Renzo Arauco-Brown, a Peruvian medical doctor. Siddall immediately recognized it as a new species. Part of the research for the paper, originally published in PLoS ONE, involved an expedition by two of Siddall’s students, Anna Phillips and Alejandro Oceguera-Figueroa, to gather new specimens for DNA analysis.
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Museum astrophysicist Jacqueline Faherty, who recently completed her doctorate under the supervision of Curator Michael Shara, was one of five students at Stony Brook University who received the 2011 President’s Award for Distinguished Doctoral Students.
Faherty’s dissertation looked at the kinematics of brown dwarfs—objects intermediate between planets and stars because they aren’t massive enough for nuclear fusion. The award citation is:
“For creating the largest extant catalog of uniform astrometric data on brown dwarfs, and for making signiﬁcant contributions to our understanding of the nature and physics of brown dwarfs based upon this astrometric data.”
by AMNH on
Small enough to climb onto the inflorescence, or flower cluster, of a palm plant, this tiny mouse opossum belongs to a newly re-classified South American species: Zeledon’s mouse opossum (Marmosa zeledoni). Minute marsupials like this one are rarely seen at flowers, but this species may be a pollinator for some neotropical palms.
Zeledon’s mouse opossum was previously lumped together with the Mexican mouse opossum, Marmosa mexicana. But in a recent study partly funded by the National Science Foundation, Curator Rob Voss of the Division of Vertebrate Zoology at the American Museum of Natural History and colleagues examined roughly 1,500 mouse opossum specimens, some collected from as far back as the 1800s. They determined that what had been known as the Mexican mouse opossum could actually be subdivided into two different species.