The Linnean Society en-GB Fri, 20 Apr 2018 15:06:48 +0100 Fri, 20 Apr 2018 15:06:48 +0100 20th April 2018: Linnean Learning Podcast Channel Launch Fri, 20 Apr 2018 14:06:48 +0000

Today we are launching our Linnean Learning podcast channel!

linnean learning video series
The Curious Case of Carl Linnaeus © The Linnean Society of London

Back in November 2017, we identified the need to diversify the multimedia channels that we use and thought that audio podcasts were one way of achieving this aim. The Linnean Learning podcast channel is part of a wider digital educational resource strategy that began in late 2016 with the development of our first educational video series: Life Underground, Clever Collections and The Curious Cases of Carl Linnaeus. The stories, specimens and objects, shared in these 13 videos, are entirely unique to us. With the Linnean Learning podcast channel we aim to attract an additional audience to our already established Linnean Society YouTube channel audience.

Women in Science event speakers
Speakers from the 230th Anniversary of the Linnean Society: A Celebration of our First Female Fellows event © The Linnean Society of London

Our first Linnean Learning podcast, published today, is a summary of a Society event held last month titled “230th Anniversary of the Linnean Society: A Celebration of our First Female Fellows”. With this podcast, listeners will be able to learn about the hot topics currently being debated, such as imposter syndrome and the work/life balance of women in the field of science. The speakers include established scientists such as the Society’s president-elect Dr Sandy Knapp and Professor Athene Donald FRS. 

ross interviewing
Ross Ziegelmeier interviewing Mark Watson FLS © The Linnean Society of London

The forthcoming podcasts that everyone can look forward to hearing include: stories from our archives, such as Lady Pleasance Smith’s rise to fame and authority; teasers such as, Jack Ashby FLS talking about Linnaeus’s specimens in preparation for his lecture, “Animal Kingdom: A Natural History in 100 Objects.”; exciting new ideas in the field of biology, such as the assisted evolution of coral; and mind bending narratives such as, “The Space Potato” or “Swarms: The Origins of Consciousness”.

We created these podcasts through recorded conversations with researchers such as, botanists from The Linnean Society of London and Kew Gardens; professionals such as Zack Rago from the Netflix award winning documentary Chasing Corals and well known “curious minds” such as Vice’s Abdullah Saeed.

So make sure you subscribe to our channel on SoundCloud and check in with us every two weeks to catch another great story!


By Ross Ziegelmeier, Education Project Officer 

20th March 2018: Celebrating the first women Fellows of the Linnean Society of London Tue, 20 Mar 2018 14:39:40 +0000

This blog was originally posted on the OUP blog website.

Diversity in science is in the news today as never before, and it is hard to imagine what it might have been like to be a woman scientist in 1900, knocking at the doors of learned societies requesting that women be granted the full advantages of Fellowship. It might seem trivial to us now, but in the past these societies were the primary arena in which discussions took place, contacts were made and science progressed. In the early 20th century, science itself was only just finding its feet as a professional activity; for much of the previous century it had been the dominion of ‘amateurs’, like Charles Darwin, many of whom were wealthy enough to fund their own activities. So being barred, not just from Fellowship of the learned societies but also from being able to attend meetings, essentially meant exclusion from the day to day workings of science. 

Coinciding with the 230th anniversary of its foundation, the Linnean Society of London is holding a meeting on 21 March to celebrate its first women Fellows—the vote to elect 16 women to the Fellowship in November 1904 was a landmark for participation of women in the science of Natural History. It followed several years of requests from women who wished to become part of the workings of science, and to also illicit changes to the Charters that governed Fellowship. These women were from all branches of natural history—botany, zoology, geology, microbiology (one even studied organisms in rum), and spanned the gamut from Dames, to Professors, to Misses. In 1906 the husband of one of their number commissioned a painting from James Stant depicting the admittance of some of these ‘first women’ that today hangs in pride of place on the staircase in the Society’s premises in Burlington House. 

The Zoological Society of London had admitted women as Fellows since 1826 and the Botanical Society admitted women as Members on the same terms as men in 1837, so the Linnean was behind in a sense, but it is worth bearing in mind that the Royal Society did not routinely admit women until the 1940s—sometimes change is a long time in coming. It was quite radical of the Linnean Society to work to change its Royal Charter to allow admission of women to the Fellowship – changing a Royal Charter is no trivial matter. It is testament to the drive of the Council and Officers, who may not have been united on this matter, that it happened in a mere four years. 

But was there a specific tipping point for this change? In 1900, Mrs. Marian Farquharson, a botanist who had helped to publish a field guide to British ferns, requested that “duly qualified women should be eligible for ordinary Fellowship and, if elected, there should be no restriction forbidding their attendance at meetings”. This insistence on attendance at meetings was important; other societies allowed women to be members, but they were barred from attending meetings (Farquharson had been elected as the first female Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society in 1885 but was not allowed to attend). At first she was rebuffed by the Council of the Linnean Society, but eventually won the day, through sheer persistence (the Society holds a plethora of correspondence from Farquharson) and the vocal support of some members of Council. Ironically, she was the only one of the 16 proposed Fellows who was not admitted on that day in November 1904! 

Five Female Fellows
© The Linnean Society of London

Natural history seems an obvious place for women to have made breakthroughs in acceptance—after all, I was often told in my youth, “botany is for girls”. Botany was traditionally a place where women could make contributions without seemingly threatening the social order, and in the late 18th and 19th centuries there was a thriving culture of women writing botanical books for children that stressed thinking for oneself and questioning authority. 

Carolus Linnaeus (or Carl von Linné)—the ground-breaking 18th century Swedish botanist whose collections of plants, animals and books are now cared for by the Linnean Society of London—had female pupils, even in the highly male-dominated world of the late Enlightenment, though they never went on worldwide journeys like his male ‘Apostles’. Famously Linnaeus’s ‘sexual system’ of organising plants by counting their male and female parts was considered scandalous in the 18th century by some—one botanist even went as far as to suggest that it rendered botany a pursuit that would be inappropriate for women! 

Times have changed, though looking back and celebrating the achievements of female scientists who struggled to attain their place at the table of science in no way diminishes the challenges faced by women in science today. Despite over 100 years of admission of women as Fellows to the Linnean Society, in 2017 only about 22% of Fellows were female—given the relative parity of men and women in undergraduate biology degrees, this indicates there is still room for improvement. But it is important not to consider the participation of women—or of diverse communities in general—in science as a difficult or impossible task, or to consider broadening participation as some sort of necessary evil. Diversity is good for science, it brings new perspectives and ideas; inclusion helps institutions like learned societies to achieve their aims. 

The meeting on the 21st March will not only celebrate the pioneering women who pressed for, and achieved, Fellowship within the Linnean Society, but will also celebrate the efforts and successes of female natural historians in documenting and describing the world around us. The event seeks to explore issues confronting today’s female natural historians, such as imposter syndrome (feeling that one is not really good enough), or the vagaries of fieldwork. These issues affect men as well, but the Society hopes the day will allow all natural historians to come together and discuss how to expand the diversity in our community to become a catalyst for change. 

By Dr Sandra Knapp FLS, President-Elect

12th February 2018: Darwin Day Mon, 12 Feb 2018 12:18:00 +0000 Darwin
© aitoff via Pixabay.

This blog was originally posted on the OUP blog website.

Monday 12th February 2018 is Darwin Day, so-called in commemoration of the birth of the father of evolutionary biology, Charles Darwin, in 1809. The day is used to highlight Charles Darwin’s contribution to evolutionary and plant science. Darwin’s ground-breaking discoveries have since paved the way for the many scientists who have come after him, with many building on his work. As a testament to his lasting legacy, Darwin’s Origin of Species was voted the most influential academic book in history in 2015, remaining as ground-breaking and relevant as ever, over 159 years since it was first published.

To celebrate and commemorate Darwin Day 2018, we have put together a collection of academic research about Darwin’s theories and works – including several papers written and co-authored by the great man himself…

© by nuzree via Pixabay.
  •  Darwin focused much of his energy on studying the behaviour of animals, including humans, exploring the role of behaviour in evolution. However, not all of Darwin’s intellectual energy was spent developing his evolutionary ideas. Did you know he devoted a surprising amount of time studying the biology of barnacles?
  • Not only fascinated by evolution and the biology of barnacles, Darwin was also a keen botanist, and published several papers within in the discipline, investigating the movement and habits of climbing plants, and writing about the complex relationships that the angraecoid orchid group have with specific pollinators within On the Origin of Species. But what impact has Darwin’s legacy had on the history of orchid pollination biology and why is his idea of reciprocal evolution arguably put forward as one of the great contributions to evolutionary biology?
  • Darwin’s fascination with botany and plant life is well documented, and he described the Venus fly trap as ‘one of the most wonderful [plants] in the world’. Research has shown that carnivory has evolved at least six times independently in plants. Despite this, independently-evolved carnivorous plants show similar mechanisms for digesting and assimilating their prey, and their ‘traps’ can range from being a complex mechanism to simply being sticky.
  • Darwin was well known for the vast array of scientific papers, studies, and research he published throughout his life. Given the undiagnosed ill-health he suffered with for most of his life, this makes his body of work all the more remarkable. Over 40 medical conditions have been suggested as the reason for his ill-health, but none have received widespread acceptance. Although one 2015 study suggests that Darwin was suffering from lactose intolerance (a condition that has contributed to our own understanding of natural selection). 

By Katy Roberts, Marketing Executive at Oxford University Press.

2 February 2018: #Ephemera and #ColorOurCollections Fri, 02 Feb 2018 12:55:00 +0000 Mermaid advert

A month-long Twitter campaign has been initiated by the Natural History Museum Library and Archives to raise awareness of the importance of ephemera in natural history collections. Throughout February, we're joining in with to tweet a piece of from our collection.

There will be some intriguing items, like this undated (probably eighteenth-century) advert tweeted on 2 February. It invites Ladies and Gentlemen (for the price of 6d) as well as Tradesmen, Servants and Children (for 3d) to come and see a 'Mermaid, Angel Fish or Sea Woman! from Bengal'. 

There will be newspapers clippings, leaflets, telegrams, postcards, posters, and all sorts of other material that are not normally preserved, but if kept enrich the history of the Linnean Society, and highlight its links with other institutions. So look out for our daily tweets! 

Herbst, Krabben und Krebse

In addition, we are taking part in #ColorOurCollections, organised by the New York Academy of Medicine every year. We selected 5 black and white illustrations for people to colour in – this campaign starts next week and many institutions are participating: The five images selected by the Linnean Society will be available to download from the New York Academy of Medicine website, along with many other collections from other participating institutions.

Isabelle Charmantier, Deputy Collections Manager

26 January 2018: Linnean Learning take on the ASE conference Fri, 26 Jan 2018 10:31:00 +0000 ASE stand

As the nation rubbed their sleepy eyes after a hectic New Years Day, the Linnean Learning team were busy preparing to head to Liverpool to join the annual Association for Science Education Conference (ASE). The ASE Conference — held between Wednesday 3 and Saturday 6 January 2018 — attracts science educators from all over the UK and beyond to share good practice, research and practical ideas for the classroom. Linnean Learning has developed a wealth of resources over the years to support the national curriculum and the education of young people. 


This year, we decided to load the entirety of our resource collection onto USBs to hand out, rather than paper copies, meaning that not only are we doing our bit to save on paper waste, but we’re also providing teachers with an unlimited supply of our resources. Additionally we signed up many schools who wanted printed copies of our great posters and new Biomedia Meltdown booklet — so we’ll be sending those out shortly.

When we weren’t chatting to teachers, the Learning team managed to attend some of the talks and sessions for educators. The Linnean Society sponsored a talk called Biology in the Real World by Graeme Shannon from Bangor University which explored cognitive abilities in the wild. Other great sessions included teaching science to students with special educational needs and disabilities, and discussing a space-science-art project called SunSpaceArt.
While the Conference focused on the educators, it was great to meet up with other resource-providers and explore how we can work together in the future, whether that be through sharing ideas, resources, skills or just a pot of tea.
The ASE Conference has filled us up with happy thoughts as we look forward into 2018 – we hope you’re as excited as we are!

To keep an eye on what we will be up to in 2018 you can follow us via twitter @linneanlearning

Joe Burton, Education and Public Engagement Manager

linnean learning team
12 January 2018. Linnean Learning videos Fri, 12 Jan 2018 14:52:00 +0000 linnean learning video still

On the 28th of November the Linnean Learning Video Series Launch event celebrated the beginning of their release which will extend until the 1st of March. Each week the society will release one new video on the Society's YouTube channel. The video series explores the fascinating world of Carl Linnaeus, taxonomy and whole organism biology. The stories, specimens and objects, shared in these 13 videos, are entirely unique to The Linnean Society of London. 

The first in this series, Life Underground, explores the collections in a pseudo-noir style, playing with the idea of biologists as sleuths in the natural world. Each video delves into mysterious stories about Linnaeus’s specimens, housed within the vault below London’s streets. We have rang in the New Year with series two, Clever Collections, which uses objects from the Society’s collections as starting points for understanding the modern scientific method. Finally in February 2018 we will launch series three, The Curious Cases of Carl Linnaeus, a beautiful and fully animated series narrated by Dr George McGavin FLS that looks at Linnaeus and his innovations.

Brown microscope

The huge task of creating these videos would not have been possible without the knowledge and expertise of the collections team. The collections team helped in the identification of potential stories, specimens, images, the locating of books for research and digitization. The collections team has curated an exhibition on some of the collections featured in the videos, which opened on the night of the launch event. Each of the five display cases contains objects which illustrate or are mentioned in one of the videos. Showcasing the 'Robert Brown's Microscope' video, in the series Clever Collections, is Brown's microscope itself, a modification of Cuff’s microscope, and probably made especially for him. With it, Brown observed the jiggling of particles released by pollen grains in water. This jiggling, known as Brownian motion, was analysed mathematically by Einstein and showed to be caused by the impact of individual molecules. The display also includes James Sowerby’s beautiful drawings for the plates illustrating Robert Brown’s paper in the Transactions of the Linnean Society (1831), in which the nucleus of the plant cell was first described.

seahorses and pipefish

Another case illustrates the video 'Sex - the Predawn Dance', in the series Life Underground, with the two specimens of seahorses from Carl Linnaeus's collections. A variety of works from the 17th to the 19th centuries charts the evolution of the classification of seahorses, from being classed as insects by the English naturalist Thomas Moffet (1643), to Bernard Germain de Lacépède (1802) who, like Linnaeus, grouped pipefishes and seahorses under the same genus of Syngnathus, within fishes. 

The videos are free and available to watch on the Linnean Society's YouTube channel. To find out which new video is being released each week you can follow us on Twitter @Linneanlearning

The videos are also all available to watch on a touch screen in the Library. The exhibition will be on display until 16 March 2018. The Library is open Monday to Friday, 10am to 5 pm, and accessible to all. It is recommended to contact us before your visit, as the Library is sometimes closed for functions.

Ross Ziegelmeier, Education Project Officer and Isabelle Charmantier, Deputy Collections Manager

18th-26th November 2017: Explore Your Archive Wed, 22 Nov 2017 15:18:00 +0000 Explore your Archive logo

Explore Your Archive is an annual campaign coordinated jointly by The National Archives (UK) and the Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland), with and on behalf of the archives and records sector, across the UK and Ireland. Every year, for a week, the archives sector highlights the importance of records in all aspects of our society, by organising talks, seminars, guided tours and other events. 


The Linnean Society is participating in the campaign this year, and Library staff organised a guided tour focusing on the archival collections on 21 November. It included a visit of the Linnaean Collections in the Collections Store and a display of some of our wonderful archives, much to the visitors' delight. 

The Linnean Society is also taking part in the Explore Your Archive Twitter campaign, highlighting some of its archives according to the campaign's daily hashtag. So far we've had #archivecatwalk, #ediblearchives and #hairyarchives - with more to come in the next few days. Explore Your Archive is a fun way to increase public awareness of the essential role of archives in our society, to celebrate our network of collections and emphasise the skills and professionalism of the sector. And for the Linnean Society, to show off some of its history and its treasures!

In December, researchers will be able to explore the Linnean Society's archives in much greater detail for the first time, with the launch of the Society's first online archive catalogue. So stay tuned!

31st October 2017: Housekeeping Week Tue, 31 Oct 2017 11:34:00 +0000 Housekeeping week

Over the course of two weeks in October, the Library was closed to readers to enable staff to make more space for incoming books. The process was initiated by moving a section of books from the upper gallery to our East basement storage. In a domino effect, seven major sections of the Library were moved around and re-shelved in more capacious areas, with space left on each shelf for growth. At the same time, the books and the shelves were cleaned of their Piccadilly grime. This could not have been undertaken without the enthusiastic help from Linnean Society staff and volunteers, with new volunteers recruited on the promise of tea and cake. 

These successful two weeks have enabled staff to start shelving books often generously donated by our Fellows, and which had been waiting in boxes or on cradles for lack of space on the shelves. A further closure of the Library is planned for the New Year to continue the process.

At the same time, archivist Liz McGow catalogued around 90 manuscripts, ahead of the launch of the archives catalogue Calm View at the end of the year. 

27th October 2017: Birds' Eggs: A Display on the History of Egg Collecting Fri, 27 Oct 2017 16:13:00 +0000

The Library has a new display, which coincided with Professor Tim Birkhead's talk last Thursday, The Most Perfect Thing: a Birds' Egg. The display looks at the history of egg collecting has been represented through our manuscripts and book collection.

Collecting birds’ eggs began in the 1600s when scholars and naturalists began to acquire natural history objects and create cabinets of curiosities. The Italian naturalist Ulisse Aldrovandi (1522–1605) produced voluminous tomes on all aspects of natural history, and owned many curiosities in his museum, which opened posthumously in 1617. His collection contained an ostrich egg, amazing for its sheer size, but also several monstrously large and deformed hen’s eggs. Aldrovandi's chapter on hens includes a substantial section on their reproductive system and the mechanisms that lead to the creation of an egg.    

Remarks on the First Order of Aquatic Birds, by William Markwick
Remarks on the First Order of Aquatic Birds, by William Markwick

Naturalists and scholars have been studying, collecting, drawing, and dissecting eggs for centuries. They have been attempting to answer questions such as: How are eggs made within the female reproductive system? Why do they differ in shape and colour? How is the egg shell formed and when?

Birds’ eggs were collected—sometimes far too assiduously—for their shape, their spectacular colours, or their rarity. Collections were then organised according to colour, size, shape or texture. 

In his manuscript, 'Remarks on the First Order of Aquatic Birds' (1800), William Markwick (1739–1813), a naturalist from Sussex, painted the birds but rarely their eggs. Yet he made an exception for the Woodcock, because, as he noted on the next page: ‘As the eggs of this Bird are rare in our Country, [I] have figured one which was presented to me by a friend.’

Guillemot eggs, such as the ones depicted in Henry Seebohm's A History of British Birds, with Coloured Illustrations of Their Eggs (1883–1885), have long fascinated and intrigued naturalists and biologists, due to their pointed shape and their vibrant and varied colours.

British Birds' Eggs and Nests, Popularly Described, by J C Atkinson (1862)
British Birds' Eggs and Nests, Popularly Described, by J C Atkinson (1862)

Egg collecting is now forbidden, but used to be part a young naturalist's training. John Christopher Atkinson wrote British Birds' Eggs and Nests, Popularly Described in 1862, so ‘that it may be interesting and useful to young egg-collectors’. In his introductory chapter, he defended himself against accusations of ‘cruelty’ from ‘some of his conscientious friends’: ‘If I thought there was any real (…) connection between a love of egg-hunting (…) and cruelty, I would not say another word for it or about it. But I am sure that the real lover of birds and their nests and eggs is not the boy who is chargeable with those torn and ruined nests (…) which grieve one as he walks along the lanes and hedge sides.’

Linnaeus's Coat of Arms
Linnaeus's Coat of Arms

The egg is central to the understanding of life. William Harvey (1578–1657) famously asserted that everything comes from an egg (ex ovo omnia). Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778) readily adopted this, annotating a copy of Harvey's work. In an early botanical manuscript, Linnaeus drew an anatomised egg, and wrote that every egg must be impregnated to allow procreation—be it the seed of a plant or the egg of an animal. When in 1761 Linnaeus was ennobled and designed his own coat of arms, he placed an egg at the center of the escutcheon, whose three colours symbolised the three kingdoms of nature. Linnaeus's coat of arms was later integrated in the Linnean Society's coat of arms. 

The display ends with a reflection regarding the impact of man on birds and their eggs. It evokes the over-hunting and over-collecting that led to the extinction of the Great Auk in 1844, and the harmful effect of pesticides (notably DDT) on birds' eggs like the Peregrine's.

Come and see the display!

The Library is open Monday to Friday, 10am to 5 pm, and accessible to all. It is recommended to contact us before your visit, as the Library is sometimes closed for functions.

Isabelle Charmantier, Deputy Librarian

26th September 2017: Smiley Faced Spiders Mon, 25 Sep 2017 23:00:00 +0000

A scientist at the University of Vermont and four of his undergraduate students have discovered 15 new species of “smiley-faced” spiders—and named them after, among others, David Attenborough, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

This was an undergraduate research project. In naming these spiders, the students and I wanted to honour people who stood up for both human rights and warned about climate change—leaders and artists who promoted sensible approaches for a better world.

Ingi Agnarsson, Spider expert and Professor of Biology at UVM who led the new study.
Lily Sargeant, Ben Chomitz and Professor Ingi Agnarsson
Lily Sargeant, Ben Chomitz and Professor Ingi Agnarsson © Joshua Brown, University of Dermont

Until now, the beautiful yellow “smiley-faced spiders” in the genus Spintharus—named for a smiley face pattern on their abdomens—has been thought to have one widespread species “from northern North America down to northern Brazil,” Agnarsson says.

However, when a research team from the Caribbean Biogeography Project (CarBio)—spearheaded by Agnarsson and Greta Binford at Lewis & Clark College—examined spiders from Jamaica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the Lesser Antilles, Florida, South Carolina, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Colombia—they discovered that one widespread species was actually many endemic species. Using CarBio genetic work, and the Vermont students’ painstaking photography and lab work, the team—with support from the National Science Foundation—was able to identify and formally describe fifteen new species. “And if we keep looking, we’re sure there are more,” Agnarsson said.

Conservation concerns

The Caribbean region has long been known to scientists as a major global hotspot for biological diversity. The leading spider expert on the Spintharus genus in earlier decades, Herbert W Levi (1921–2014), had concluded that differences he observed in these spiders across a wide swath of geography represented variation within one species. But newer molecular techniques deployed by the project’s leaders, Agnarsson and Binford, show otherwise. “These are cryptic species,” Agnarsson says. “As Dr Levi’s work clearly showed, they are hard to tell apart by looking at them.” But the DNA data are clear: these spiders have not been interbreeding—exchanging genes—for millions of years.

Spiranthus davidattenboroughi © Agnarsson Lab
Spiranthus davidattenboroughi © Agnarsson Lab
Spintharus davidbowiei © Agnarsson Lab
Spintharus davidbowiei © Agnarsson Lab

Spintharus leonardodicaprioi © Agnarsson Lab
Spintharus leonardodicaprioi © Agnarsson Lab
Spintharus.berniesandersi © Agnarsson Lab
Spintharus.berniesandersi © Agnarsson Lab

The study was published September 26 in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. [LINK TO 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlx056]

Media contact: Joshua BrownUniversity of Vermont

22nd September 2017: Linnaeus – on the run next week! Fri, 22 Sep 2017 10:08:00 +0000 Linnaeus on the run

Just one week now until our drama workshop, Linnaeus - Naming the World's Plants tours primary schools in Exeter and Plymouth. The workshop is part of a research project, funded by the Linnean Society, investigating the efficacy of drama as a pedagogical tool in science education. We are lucky to have an actor for the character of Linnaeus who is both a graduate biologist and a primary school teacher. Ben Jewell has a broad range of experience of educational and historical theatre, including this clip as John Benjamin Dancer for the BBC.

Six primary school Year 6 classes will get to meet Linnaeus, who arrives at their school on the run from Hamburg, where he has angered the city officials by revealing the city’s seven-headed hydra beast as a fake! Linnaeus will recruit the pupils as his apostles, putting them to the test with an explorer game, a classification task using live mosses, ferns and flowering plants. The students will also have the opportunity to create their own binomial plant names, using Linnaeus’s Latin dictionaries. The image shows Linnaeus’s trunk, which he carries from school to school.

24th August 2017: Science & Art Collide in North West London Thu, 24 Aug 2017 16:12:00 +0000 Graffiti

BioMedia Meltdown is back! The Linnean Society of London is once again teaming up with John Lyon’s Charity to deliver a creative science competition like no other.

From September the Linnean Learning team will be delivering free hands-on workshops around your borough. Young people will enjoy one of two fun-filled sessions. Take social media by storm designing and sharing an infographic on biodiversity, or channel your inner Banksy by creating street art that shows the importance of pollinators. All workshop creations can be entered into the competition. There are lots of great prizes to be won, such as Keeper for a Day at ZSL London Zoo.

The BioMedia Meltdown Competition is helping to reverse the decline in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) uptake in UK schools. Studies have found that engagement with STEM decreases dramatically during secondary school, which has led to a severe shortage in STEM skills across the UK. Our competition enthuses and inspires young people about biology, encouraging them to get creative in the name of science.

BMM ipads

If you live or know somebody living in Barnet, Brent, Camden, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Kensington & Chelsea and the Cities of London and Westminster, please pass on the competition details. 

We are also recruiting volunteer judges, ideally artists with knowledge on ecosystems and/or evolution (early February) and volunteers to speak to children about career opportunities in the arts and sciences (celebration event on 22 March 2018).  

Elisa Jones, Education Project Officer, 020 7434 4479 Ext 226

Twitter: @linneanlearning #BioMediaMeltdown

17th August: Adopt an 'Ortus Sanitatis' Thu, 17 Aug 2017 12:31:00 +0000 AdoptLinn
Ortus Sanitatis, 1491

The Library of the Linnean Society wants to conserve two of its oldest books, from the library of Carl Linnaeus. The two books are two different editions of the first natural history encyclopaedia, the Ortus (or Hortus) Sanitatis, or Garden of Health. The Ortus Sanitatis was first published by Jacob Meydenbach in Mainz, Germany in 1485. Linnaeus owned the second edition (1491) as well as the fourth edition (1499), published in Strasbourg by J. Prüss.

Written at the end of the Middle Ages, the Ortus Sanitatis is a wonderful window into an age when it was believed that the natural world had been created by God to be of use to humanity and that animals and plants were there to provide cures for diseases. The Ortus Sanitatis describes species in the natural world, from plants, to animals and minerals along with their medicinal uses and modes of preparation. It was also a world filled with wonder and belief in extraordinary creatures. Mythical creatures are therefore included, and the pages are filled with creatures such as the phoenix, dragon, mermaid and other monsters.


The work includes tracts on medicinal plants, animals, birds, fish; mining and gemstones; and a work on the analysis of urine. This last tract is illustrated by a woodcut showing medical men examining phials of urine, in a shop. Two children seem to be fighting in the foreground, perhaps afflicted by the choleric disposition that the physician is trying to diagnose.

The 1491 edition is particularly impressive, being one of the bulkiest books in the Library of Carl Linnaeus. The charm of this wonderful book rests in its woodcut illustrations. Many of the plants, while delightfully stylized, are easily recognizable, helped by the rudimentary colouring that was added by hand. There are numerous annotations throughout, in various hands. The title page (see above) indicates the numerous readers to which this book belonged, before coming into the hands of Linnaeus and, in 1784, of James Edward Smith and ultimately the Linnean Society. 

The 1499 copy is of particular Swedish interest: one entry at the end of the book is dated 1519 and gives the price given for it. In addition, an old Swedish print pasted on the inside of the cover indicates that the binding was done in Sweden. A name scribbled on the third page indicates that it once belonged to Olaus Johannes Holus [?].

Conservation of these two books is essential if they are to remain in use. Once damaged, such heavy volumes, when handled, soon deteriorate and access will become more restricted.

Ortus Sanitatis

In both books, the front boards are detached, exposing the first several pages to unnecessary wear and at risk of becoming adrift from the sewing stations. The missing spines has resulted in damage to the sewing cords and there is a danger that the rear boards will also detach. Some pages are torn and the paper has become fragile and prone to loss.

The aim of conservation will be to make the books safe to handle while still retaining their original features and any historic evidence. The boards will be re-attached and the sewing supports strengthened. The spines will be recovered and any fragile or torn pages repaired. A new box will be made for each book.

You can help us conserve these two beautiful books by adopting them through our AdoptLINN scheme. Due to the high level of expertise and intervention required, each book is within the AdoptLINN Treasures category: for £1,500, you can adopt one of the Ortus Sanitatis. The benefits include:

  • Your name will be permanently associated with the book you are adopting on the Online Library Catalogue.
  • You will receive a certificate with details of your item.
  • Your donation will be acknowledged on our website and proceedings.
  • A conservation demonstration by our Conservator for you and up to four guests.
  • Once conserved, your item will be displayed with an acknowledgement of your contribution.

Please contact the Library team if you are interested.

16th August 2017: Colours of Burlington House – A Chronicle Wed, 16 Aug 2017 10:45:00 +0000 RHS Display

Last Friday 11 August, the Royal Academy of Arts, the Society of Antiquaries, the Royal Astronomical Society, The Geological Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Linnean Society partnered in the celebration of the second Burlington House Courtyard Summer Late. 

After a successful kick-start in 2016, the six organisations decided to join forces once again under the common theme of colour. It proved a unique opportunity to meander around the Courtyard discovering the activities each Society had to offer. 

The Linnean Society had the pleasure of having Paul Henderson FLS who gave a short lecture on the use of colour by the influential James Sowerby. The talk was complemented by an exhibition on the development of colours in natural history books from the 16th to the 20th centuries. 

From unevenly hand-painted editions of 16th century herbals to printed colour nomenclatures of the 20th century, the display traces the standardisation of colours used by naturalists and illustrators, which revolutionised natural history works in the late 18th and early 19th century. One such work was John Sibthrop’s Flora Graeca (1806–1840), illustrated by the botanical artist Ferdinand Bauer, and engraved by James Sowerby.

Paul Henderson

Sowerby devised a method for obtaining a scale of colours with the only assistance of a triangular prism and daylight. The 'chromatometer' was his attempt to represent colours for natural history Illustration. Visitors were able to test it themselves to find the colours of the spectrum, as Sowerby explained in his book A New Elucidation of Colours (1809), also on display.

Making paints

Members of the public particularly enjoyed making badges with images derived from natural history books in our collections. Dr John David FLS, from the Royal Horticultural Society, brought the latest RHS colour charts and discussed colour nomenclatures and their uses in plant identification.

To conclude, visitors were able to express their creativity by making their own ‘do it yourself’ paints using natural ingredients while learning the chemistry behind the process. 

The Library exhibit, as well as Sowerby’s chromatometer, will be on display until Monday 11 September. Members of the public are welcome to drop in, but please be aware that the Library is sometimes closed for functions. Contact the Library for more details (+44 (0)20 7434 4479 EXT 223). Opening hours: Monday–Friday, 10am–5pm  

Alicia Fernandez, Events and Communications Manager & Isabelle Charmantier, Deputy Collections Manager / Librarian

16th August 2017: University of Stirling team discovers new plant in Shetland Wed, 16 Aug 2017 10:40:00 +0000

Scientists at the University of Stirling have discovered a new type of plant growing in Shetland—with its evolution only having occurred in the last 200 years.

Shetland Monkeyflower

The new plant is a descendant of a non-native species, the yellow monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus), which colonised the United Kingdom in Victorian times. It has evolved through the doubling of the number of chromosomes, known as genome duplication or polyploidy. The plant, referred to as ‘Shetland’s monkeyflower’, produces yellow flowers with small red spots. It is larger than the typical monkeyflower and its flowers are more open.

Researchers say the finding is significant as it shows that a major evolutionary step can occur in non-native species over a short period of time, rather than over thousands of years.  

Evolution is often thought to be a slow process taking thousands or millions of years. Yet we show that a major evolutionary step can occur in a couple hundred years.

Associate Professor Dr Mario Vallejo-Marin

A team from Stirling’s Biological and Environmental Sciences, working with Dr James Higgins at the University of Leicester, carried out tests after a 'chance encounter' with the plant while conducting fieldwork near Quarff, Shetland. 

Led by postdoctoral researcher Dr Violeta Simon-Porcar, they measured the plant’s genome size and surveyed 30 populations of monkeyflowers from Shetland and across the United Kingdom. The plants were then grown under controlled conditions and their floral and vegetative characteristics were measured to compare the effect of genome duplication in morphology and flowering time. The team also conducted genetic analyses to investigate the relationship between the new polyploid plant and other populations in the Shetland Isles.

Genome duplication is common in the evolutionary history of flowering plants. Many crops—such as potatoes, tobacco and coffee —are polyploids. However, it is rare to witness the phenomenon in recent history. While genome duplication seems to be particularly common in hybrids between different species, the new plant has doubled its genome without hybridisation and has the same species as both its father and mother.

The Stirling team say that young polyploids, such as the new plant, provide an opportunity to investigate the early stages of an important evolutionary process. 

The fact that the new polyploid involves a non-native plant is poignant, given the fact that human activities are transporting all sorts of animal and plant species well beyond their native habitats. This raises the possibility that non-native species may increasingly participate in major biological processes, including the formation of new types pf plants and animals.

We found that genome duplication has immediate effects on the morphology and life strategy of this plant. Plants with double the DNA in their cells produce larger flowers, larger leaves, thicker stems, but they also take longer to flower.

Although these type of changes are predicted by theory, demonstrating them is complicated as in older polyploids the parental species may be missing or may have evolved since the separation of the polyploid and non-polyploid lineages.

Associate Professor Dr Mario Vallejo-Marin

The paper, Recent autopolyploidisation in a wild population of Mimulus guttatus (Phrymaceae), has been published in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. Dr Simon-Porcar was funded through a postdoctoral fellowship from Plant Fellows.

Greg Christison, Communications Officer, University of Stirling. 

1st August 2017: Remembering E E Riseley Tue, 01 Aug 2017 09:00:00 +0000

The Librarian of the Linnean Society, E E Riseley, was killed 100 years ago today, fighting in World War I. To commemorate his death, a display has been produced about his life in the Reading Room which everyone is welcome to come and visit.

Rifleman S/21693, 3rd Batallion, Rifle Brigade
Rifleman S/21693, 3rd Batallion, Rifle Brigade

Edwin Ephraim Riseley was born on the 15 February 1889 in Abbots Ripton, Huntingdonshire, to Ephraim Riseley and Emily Elizabeth Murkett.

After leaving school at the age of 15, Riseley began work as the Library Clerk to the Zoological Society, where he gained an introduction to librarianship and zoological material. In the spring of 1914, the Assistant to the Librarian at the Linnean Society, Mr W H T Tams, resigned from his post and the role was offered to Riseley, who had previously applied for the position. He started on a salary of £100, working 10am-6pm on weekdays, 10am-1pm on Saturdays and on meeting nights.

Ref: B Vol. V, p. 224
Ref: B Vol. V, p. 224

At the outbreak of World War I, the Librarian, German-born August Wilhelm Kappel, had been declared an enemy alien by the police and the Council of the Linnean Society felt forced to dismiss him. Kappel died on Christmas eve the following year.

Ref: CM/9 – 15 Oct 1914
Ref: CM/9 – 15 Oct 1914

Riseley was promoted to the role of Librarian, officially from the 1 January 1915, on an increased salary of £125 per annum. He thrived in his new role and spent the next two years making improvements to the library.

In January 1916, the Military Service Act introduced conscription and in May, the Council decided to take preliminary steps to find help in the library in the event of Riseley being called up to fight. This foresight was sensible as not long afterwards Riseley was indeed summoned for duty by the Army and on the 8 December he enlisted in the 9th Battalion, Rifle Brigade.

Riseley undertook training on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent. In his absence, the Council appointed a temporary librarian but elected to still pay Riseley £45 of his salary whilst on active duty. On the 29 June 1916 whilst still based in Kent, he writes to the Officers of the Council to thank them for continuing to pay his salary whilst he is away fighting. He also comments that: 

To see the battleplanes here every day and the firing that goes on, one would think it impossible for any more raids to take place in London.

E E Riseley
Ref: B Vol. VI, p. 69
Ref: B Vol. VI, p. 69

He embarked for France on the 15 June 1917 and was killed less than a month later, by a shell on the 1 August.

His death was reported at a Council meeting on the 18 October 1917, where it was proposed that a memorial plaque should be placed in the library in commemoration. 

Ref: CM/9 – 18 Oct 1917
Ref: CM/9 – 18 Oct 1917

A Riseley Memorial Committee was established to investigate this further and they got in touch with the librarian at Windsor Castle who had commissioned a similar commemorative object. On the 21 February 1918, a draft sketch submitted by Mr William Thomas Pavitt, of 17 Hanover Square, a renowned metal worker, was chosen at a cost of £12.

Ref: CM/9 – 21 Feb 1918
Ref: CM/9 – 21 Feb 1918

The memorial tablet, which was received a few months later, consists of a beaten copper memorial plaque mounted on a thin oak board.  

Memorial Plaque

The plaque translates as:

In memory of Edwin Ephraim Riseley. Born on the 15 February 1889, in charge of this library from 1914 to 1917 during which period by universal consent he endeared himself to the Fellows [of the Linnean Society] by the energetic and able discharge of his duties; he had laid down for his country a life of high promise on the 1 August 1917 in the 29th year of his age.

The plaque was placed in the library as a permanent reminder of Riseley’s contribution to the work of the Society and still hangs there to this day.

Gwatkin album I - Field poppy
J R G Gwatkin - Field poppy
19th July 2017: Giant sunfish species eludes discovery for centuries Wed, 19 Jul 2017 12:00:00 +0000 Sunfish

An elusive new species of ocean sunfish has been discovered by an international team of researchers led by a Murdoch University PhD student.

Marianne Nyegaard from the School of Veterinary and Life Sciences uncovered  the new species while researching the population genetics of ocean sunfish in the Indo-pacific region.

The previously undescribed species has been named the Hoodwinker Sunfish (Mola tecta).

Iconic ocean sunfishes are the heaviest and most distinctive of all bony fishes, with some species weighing in excess of two tonnes and growing to three metres in length. The newly discovered species is thought to approach a similar size.

The challenging journey to confirm the discovery was a four-year labour of love for Ms Nyegaard, who began her investigations after noticing genetic differences in sunfish samples from the Australian and New Zealand longline fishery.

“A Japanese research group first found genetic evidence of an unknown sunfish species in Australian waters 10 years ago, but the fish kept eluding the scientific community because we didn't know what it looked like,” Ms Nyegaard said.

Finding these fish and storing specimens for studies is a logistical nightmare due to their elusive nature and enormous size, so sunfish research is difficult at the best of times. Early on, when I was asked if I would be bringing my own crane to receive a specimen, I knew I was in for a challenging – but awesome – adventure.

Marianne Nyegaard

Over a three-year period she collected data from 27 specimens of the new species, at times travelling thousands of miles or relying on the kindness of strangers to take samples of sunfish found stranded on remote beaches.

“The new species managed to evade discovery for nearly three centuries by ‘hiding’ in a messy history of sunfish taxonomy, partially because they are so difficult to preserve and study, even for natural history museums,” Ms Nyegaard said.

That is why we named it Mola tecta (the Hoodwinker Sunfish), derived from the Latin tectus, meaning disguised or hidden.

Marianne Nyegaard

“This new species is the first addition to the Mola genus in 130 years. The process we had to go through to confirm its new species status included consulting publications from as far back as the 1500s, some of which also included descriptions of mermen and fantastical sea monsters. We retraced the steps of early naturalists and taxonomists to understand how such a large fish could have evaded discovery all this time. Overall we felt science had been repeatedly tricked by this cheeky species, which is why we named it the Hoodwinker.”

Similar to its two sister species, Mola mola and Mola ramsayi, the new species has the characteristic truncated appearance of half a fish, but the differences between the three species become clear with growth.


Mola tecta remains sleek and slender even in larger sizes, differing from the other species by not developing a protruding snout, or huge lumps and bumps. Ms Nyegaard suspects that, as with other sunfish species, feeding takes place during deep dives. The digestive tract contents of three specimens she sampled consisted mostly of salps, a gelatinous sea creature loosely resembling a jellyfish. Mola tecta appears to prefer cold water, and has so far been found around New Zealand, along the south-east coast of Australia, off South Africa and southern Chile.

Ms Nyegaard’s paper on the new sunfish species will be published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. The research involves collaboration between Murdoch University, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, the University of Otago, Hiroshima University and the University of Tokyo. 

Media enquiries: Pepita Smyth 9360 1289/0417171551  

8th June 2017: World Oceans Day Thu, 08 Jun 2017 13:20:00 +0000 Conus geographus – Harnessing the Power of this Mighty Mollusc

In honour of the World Oceans Day, we thought we’d revisit an article looking at the importance of a fascinating animal in our collections. (This article was originally published in PuLSe in June 2015.)

Cornus geographus
The Linnaean specimen of Conus geographus © The Linnean Society of London

Carl Linnaeus described this species as Conus geographus (the geography cone) in 1758. It was one of 700 molluscan species to be published in the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae, a book that radically changed taxonomy and nomenclature. In the 12th edition of that work (1767) the number of described molluscs increased by over a hundred, and a further 28 were described in the “Regni Animalis appendix” of his Mantissa Plantarum (1771). The Linnean Society of London holds 1,564 lots of Linnaean mollusca, all of which have been digitised and are available to view online. 

Linnaeus based the description on the only thing available to him—the shell of the animal. Like many early taxonomists, he probably never saw the animal alive, solely working with the shell itself. Yet, the same animal described over 250 years ago is revolutionising science and saving lives.

C. geographus is one of 600 species of cones from the largest genus of marine animals. This group of sea snails is found worldwide in tropical and subtropical seas, with the highest diversity in the tropical Indo-West Pacific region. Cone snails are most commonly found in the sublittoral epipelagic zone, living on sandy regions or among rocks or coral reefs. They are carnivorous, highly-evolved predators, hunting prey such as marine worms, fish or other gastropods. The shells themselves have proven to be highly prized by shell collectors due to the variety of colours (brown, white or black), and the intricate and diverse patterns (dotted, zigzag or striped).

Sharp Shooters

Though their slow movement might otherwise preclude successful predation, an adaptation enables cone snails to catch their prey—a harpoon-like radula (primarily made of the polysaccharide chitin) is shot from the proboscis. This radula, or modified tooth, contains the venom conotoxin, a mixture of short peptides that induces neuromuscular paralysis in its prey, which is then swallowed whole. While all cone snails have this adaptation, interestingly no two species have the same venom proteins, and C. geographus itself dispenses two venoms—one defensive and one predatory. The venom of C. geographus is potentially fatal to humans; well known as the most venomous of all known cone snail species, it is considered to be one of the most deadly animals in the world, even nicknamed the “cigarette snail”, as a victim, once stung, may only have time for one last cigarette. Envenomations by Conus geographus are extremely rare (only ca. 15 deaths have been attributed, with conviction, to cone snails in Goldfrank's Toxicologic Emergencies). Nevertheless, there is no antivenom for a cone snail sting, and treatment is limited to merely keeping victims alive until the toxins wear off.

Medical Resource

Cornus geographus
The venomous geography cone © Scott Johnson (

Research shows that this venom has great potential in medicine and that, pharmacologically, the Conus genus is a fantastic resource. The venom was first studied in 1932 by clinical pathologist L.C.D. Hermitte. A patient had been stung and incapacitated by a cone snail in the Seychelles, and was still unable to walk some nine hours later. Hermitte, whose interest was piqued by the hidden power of such a small animal, dissected the snail and discovered the radular tooth, and the venom duct and bulb. Since then, practical applications to neurobiology and medicine have been found, with current research continuing to develop ways to utilise the venom. Certain components of the venom can be up to 10,000 times more potent than morphine, but without morphine's addictive properties and side-effects. This effective analgesic could be used for treating chronic pain found in patients suffering from cancer, arthritis, diabetes and AIDS. Other parts of the venom are being studied to help combat and relieve the symptoms of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer's, with the peptide ‘conantokin G’ also showing positive signs in clinical trials for epilepsy. Additionally, recent studies have found that within the venom is a unique type of weaponised insulin that C. geographus releases in order to weaken entire schools of fish by bringing about reduced blood sugar levels. This weaponised insulin could assist in a better understanding of how blood sugar levels are regulated in humans.

We are just beginning to discern and take advantage of the medical possibilities of this venom. Continued study of conotoxins may help to make inroads in the treatment of not only the diseases previously listed, but addictions as well. And it all began over 250 years ago when this small marine mollusc was classified and described by Linnaeus.

Andreia Salvador, Curator, Marine Mollusca, Department of Life Sciences Natural History Museum, London

Leonie Berwick, Special Publications Manager, Linnean Society of London

7th June 2017: Hiroshige's Fishes Wed, 07 Jun 2017 16:29:00 +0000

As the British Museum celebrates Japanese art with an exhibition focusing on the last 30 years of Hokusai’s life, the Linnean Society Library staff recently rediscovered its own treasure of Japanese art, that of another master, Hiroshige.

Like Hokusai, Utagawa Hiroshige, also Andō Hiroshige (1797–1858), was a Japanese ukiyo-e artist, and is considered the last great master of that tradition. Western artists closely studied Hiroshige's compositions, and some, such as Vincent van Gogh, painted copies of Hiroshige's prints. Hiroshige is best known for his landscapes, and for his depictions of birds and flowers, but between 1832 and 1840 he produced a 'Grand series of fishes' ('Uwo-zukushi'), now quite rare. The series consists of two sets of ten woodblock colour prints of fishes, published around 1832 and 1840. 


Seventeen of these 20 prints can be found in albums of animal art collected by German herpetologist and ichthyologist Albert E.L. Günther (1830–1914), held in the Linnean Society collections. Günther, FRS, FLS, was Keeper of Zoology at the Natural History Museum, London, from 1875 to 1895, as well as thirteenth President of the Linnean Society from 1894 to 1900. Günther amassed a major collection of animal art in 39 large volumes of printed illustrations, drawings, photographs and printed ephemera on terrestrial and marine fauna of all regions. As Günther was an ichthyologist (his major work was the Catalogue of Fishes (1859-1870), published by the Ray Society), he collected a large amount of art linked to fishes. 

Hiroshige's prints often team fish with plants, and the poetic text surrounding the illustration comments on the seasons and the pleasures found in nature. Hence the print of 'Hirame' and 'Mebaru' (flounder, mebaru and cherry blossom) relates to the month of March: ‘The taste of fish and the sweet smell of blossoms; both reach their peak in the spring.’


For summer, Hiroshige has chosen to depict a crab and a mackerel, accompanied by morning glory: 'The fish market comes to life at dawn like a great morning glory opening up.'


As for October, the plant is a low striped bamboo, and the fishes two gurnards and a right eye flounder. The text reads: 'The flounder are like autumn leaves hanging in the sun near the fisherman's hut.'


Hiroshige's Fishes are rare, and they were later reproduced, copied and reprinted. We would be keen to know more about the Linnean Society woodblocks and we welcome anyone with a knowledge of Japanese art to come and have a look at them and help us uncover more about these prints. 

The Library is open Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm, and accessible to all. It is recommended to contact us before your visit, as the Library is sometimes closed for functions.

Isabelle Charmantier, Deputy Librarian

25th May 2017: Medal Winners 2017 Fri, 26 May 2017 10:47:00 +0000 Medal Winners 2017
From left to right: David Rollinson, Tim Douthit, Sonia Rowley, John Walters, Lynn Dicks, Steven Dodsworth, John Thompson, Paul Brakefield, Claire Spottiswoode, Johannes Girstmair, Kwaku Aduse-Poku, Charlie Jarvis and David John © The Linnean Society of London

At our Anniversary Meeting on Wednesday 24th May 2017, Professor Paul Brakefield—President of the Linnean Society of London— presented our Medals and Prizes to celebrate the achievements of academics across the natural sciences. Below is a list of the medal and award winners.

Charlie Jarvis received the Linnean Medal (Botany) to a biologist for service to science.

Charlie Jarvis

David Rollinson received the Linnean Medal (Zoology) to a biologist for service to science.

David Rollinson

John Thompson received the Darwin-Wallace Medal to persons who have made major advances in evolutionary biology.

John Thompson

Claire Spottiswoode received the Bicentenary Medal to a biologist under the age of 40 years in recognition of excellent work.

Claire Spottiswoode

Johannes Girstmair received the Trail-Crisp Medal in recognition of an outstanding contribution to biological microscopy that has been published in the UK.

​Johannes Girstmair

Steven Dodsworth received the Irene Manton Prize to a PhD student for the best botany thesis in an academic year.

Steven Dodsworth

Kwaku Aduse-Poku was awarded the John C Marsden Medal for the best doctoral thesis in biology.

​Kwaku Aduse-Poku

John Walters received the H H Bloomer Award awarded to an amateur naturalist for an important contribution to biological knowledge.

John Walters

Lynn Dicks received the John Spedan Lewis Medal awarded to an individual who is making a significant and innovative contribution to conservation.

Lynn Dicks

Karin Douthit and David Williamson received the Jill Smythies Award to a botanical artist for outstanding illustrations.

Tim Douthit on behalf of Karin Douthit
Tim Douthit received the award on Karin Douthit's behalf
David John on behalf of David Williamson
David John received the award on David Williamson's behalf

Sonia Rowley received the Sir David Attenborough Award for Fieldwork from the Systematics Association and the Linnean Society of London.

Sonia Rowley

The Linnean Society seeks to encourage excellence in the natural sciences by awarding a series of medals and prizes to scientists and artists for outstanding work in their fields. Nominations for 2018 are now open and will close on 30th November 2017.