Meet the Team – Events and Communications

Published on 15th January 2019

For the next couple of months we will be releasing profiles on Linnean Society staff members. Get to know us a bit more and find out what we do at the Society. First up is our Events and Communications Manager Leanne Melbourne (in post till April 2020).

Leanne Melbourne

What are the key parts to your role?

  • Organising logistics for upcoming events
  • Finding new speakers for our events programme
  • Planning new events and different ways for the Society to engage with the wider public
  • Using social media to promote our events and collections
  • On event days, setting up and running events.

What do you like most about your job?

My favourite part is listening to all the fascinating research about natural history and having a part to play in getting the public to hear it too.

How did you end up in this job?

I did a PhD on the effect of climate change on coralline algae at the University of Bristol. Within the PhD there were many different outreach activities and communication opportunities to get involved with. I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in these activities, which led to my passion for science communication. Once I finished the PhD I decided to apply for science communication roles and ended up here at the Society.

What is your favourite species of animal or plant?

Well obviously I do love coralline algae and seaweeds in general but other wise Glaucus atlanticus are pretty cool. They are a type of carnivorous sea slug (nudibranch) that eats things like the Portuguese man o’ war. The really cool part is that they store the poison from these animals in their extremities to use as a defence mechanism against predators.

Glaucus Atlanticus
Glaucus atlanticus © Sylke Rohrlach

What is the most interesting item to you in the Linnean Society collections?

Through my studies i have become fascinated by seaweeds. The Society has this book by John Stackhouse, Nereis Britannica (1795-1801), that has some stunning illustrations of Fuci from around the UK. Our copy has a lot of water damage though.

Stackhouse plate
John Stackhouse, Nereis Britannica

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like playing netball, which I mainly do in the week. On the weekend I like to go to museums, exhibitions and galleries. Try and get ideas for our own events.