Our first Australian Museum Research Institute (AMRI) seminar: "What can museum collections reveal about climate change?".

Our climate is changing. Since the 1950s, the atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amount of snow and ice have decreased, the sea level has risen, and the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has increased.

As our climate changes, the biodiversity of our planet is increasingly threatened, as is our way of life. Natural history museum collections represent an amazingly valuable window into biodiversity and it’s changes over time, but how do researchers use these collections to understand past, current and future climate change?

On 8th November 2013, the Australian Museum Research Institute held its first seminar on the role of natural history museum collections in understanding the effects of past, present and future climate change. On the day presenttations from Australian Museum Research Institute scientists Dr. Dan Faith, Dr. Dave Britton, Dr. Pat Hutchings, Dr. Don Colgan, Dr. Mandy Reid, Dr. Dan Bickel, Dr. Ross Pogson and guest speaker Prof. Craig Moritz (Australian National University).

These presenters discuss a wide range of topics around natural history collections and climate change, including the role museum-based phylogenetics in interpreting species loss, the use of museum records to assess the effects of a warming ocean on marine life in the Great Barrier Reef and the role of biodiversity informatics in understanding and conserving biodiversity.

Also see Australian Museum Trustee and University of NSW Dean of Science Merlin Crossley’s article in The Conversation about our seminar “Right at the museum: collections give clues on climate change”.