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Egyptian mummy CT scan video, Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History

Office of Public Affairs
This 53-second video consists of a series of images taken with a Siemens Somotom CT scanner of a mummy at the Department of Anthropology in the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C. The individual shown here is a male who died at about 40 years of age; a relatively mature age by ancient Egyptian standards. He is believed to have lived in Lower Egypt sometime between the 25-26th Greco-Roman periods, which is between 600 B.C. and about 150 A.D., or roughly between 2,500 and 1,900 years ago. When this mummy was transferred to the Smithsonian from the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia in the late 1950s, it was partially unwrapped, and very little was known about its history or the individual inside. Years later, using 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional CT scans, Natural History Museum anthropologists found that the brain and major organs were removed and rolls of linen filled out the abdominal cavity. This mummification method is evidence of superior embalming, indicating a person of higher status. The CT scanner uses x-rays to produce a series of 2-dimensional image slices which, for this video, were processed and converted into a 3D model. Two different CT filters were used to extract and digitize the physical properties of the mummy—a bone filter to extract images of the mummy's bones and a second filter that imaged the mummy's soft tissues, both inside and out. After the flesh and bone was digitally extracted, the data were imported into a computer program called 3D Studio Max, where virtual cameras were set up, an animation path was assigned and an animated clipping plane was set up to visually "grow" the mummy. This and other CT scan images of human and animal mummies will be featured on a Website accompanying "Eternal Life in Ancient Egypt," a new exhibition opening at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History on Nov. 17, 2011. The exhibition will explore ancient Egyptian life, religious beliefs and examines how the burial practices serve as windows into ancient cultures and reveal how archaeologists and physical anthropologists gain these insights through their research. This video was made possible by Meg Rivers in the Exhibition Department and Dr. Dave Hunt in the Anthropology Department at the Natural History Museum and Adam Metallo and Vincent Rossi of the Smithsonian's Digitization Program Office.

Bat rejecting frog

Office of Public Affairs
A series of experiments conducted by scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama have revealed that frog-eating fringe-lipped bats (Trachops cirrhosus) are, by necessity, much more discerning diners than previously known. In fact, scientists now know, from the time they begin their attack dive to just before they swallow a frog, the bats are continually evaluating their prey through such sensory modalities as sound, echolocation, touch and taste. A paper on the work is published online in the Springer journal Naturwissenschaften (The Science of Nature). Reference: Page RA, Schnelle T, Kalko EKV, Bunge T, Bernal XE (2012). Sequential assessment of prey through the use of multiple sensory cues by an eavesdropping bat. Naturwissenschaften - The Science of Nature; DOI 10.1007/s00114-012-0920-6.

White dwarf stars orbiting and merging animation

Office of Public Affairs
Astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have found a pair of white dwarf stars orbiting each other once every 39 minutes. In a few million years, they will merge and reignite as a helium-burning star. This animation shows the merger process. Credit: Clay Ellis (CfA)

North American Orchid Conservation Center

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
A look at some of the most beautiful and imperiled orchids in North America, and what a team of ecologists led by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and the U.S. Botanic Garden is doing to save them. Watch with closed captions here: http://youtu.be/fw-2oQCVu20

Ecosystems on the Edge: Forests and Climate Change

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Trees in Maryland are growing faster than they have in the last two centuries, and CO2 seems to be the new steroid. Smithsonian ecologist Jess Parker explains how climate change is altering forests. View more Ecosystems on the Edge videos and learn how you can help at http://ecosystems.serc.si.edu. Created by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

Ecosystems on the Edge: Earthworm Invaders

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Most earthworms in U.S. soils aren't native--and they are threatening America's forests. Smithsonian ecologist Melissa McCormick explains how earthworms can be good for gardens and bad for forests, and how they could alter the course of climate change. View more Ecosystems on the Edge videos and learn how you can help at http://ecosystems.serc.si.edu. Created by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

Ecosystems on the Edge: A Crab-Castrating Barnacle

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
An invasive parasite known as Loxothylacus panopaei survives by hijacking the reproductive system of a mud crab, forcing it to produce parasite larvae. If the crab happens to be male, it will still give birth...to barnacles. View more Ecosystems on the Edge videos and learn how you can help at http://ecosystems.serc.si.edu. Created by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

Ecosystems on the Edge: An Endangered Orchid

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Endangered 16 of the 20 states where it still appears, the small-whorled pogonia has earned the title "rarest orchid east of the Mississippi."To save it, Smithsonian ecologists must delve into life underground. View more Ecosystems on the Edge videos and learn how you can help at http://ecosystems.serc.si.edu. Created by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

Flatworm Eats Amphipod Inside Out

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Tapeworms aren't the only flatworms capable of grotesque feats of nature. Non-parasitic flatworms have equally horrific ways of attacking their victims. The slender flatworm Euplana gracilis consumes its prey by sucking out their insides. Videographer: Dean Janiak (Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Benthic Ecologist) In this video, Euplana attacks a shrimp-like amphipod by wrapping around its back and completely immobilizing it. Sticking its tube-like pharynx through a segment of the amphipod, the flatworm then consumes and digests its internals--a process that takes about half an hour. Once finished, it abandons the empty carcass and goes into a resting period until its next meal. On the outside, an amphipod that's been eaten doesn't look that different from a normal amphipod...except for the fact that it's, well, dead.

Go Orchids: A Guide to Identifying Orchids

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Learn how to use Go Orchids, a mobile-friendly website that helps orchid enthusiasts identify orchids they encounter in the wild using their PCs, or using smartphones in the field. To try it out, visit http://goorchids.northamericanorchidcenter.org. The Go Orchids site was created by the North American Orchid Conservation Center, dedicated to preserving endangered and threatened orchids across the continent. Visit http://northamericanorchidcenter.org to learn more.

Cownose Ray Tagging: Smithsonian Movement of Life Initiative

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
The Movement of Life Initiative is a developing program in animal tracking research conducted by Smithsonian Institution researchers and their colleagues. As part of the program, scientists Matt Ogburn and Charles Bangley at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center are tracking Cownose Rays along the East coast of the United States. Cownose Rays are a native, migratory species that visit the Chesapeake Bay from May to October, but little is known about their behavior within the Bay and their migrations along the U.S. Atlantic coast. The scientists track the rays with special tags that emit a series of pings. Receivers along the Atlantic can then pick up the rays’ signals, showing where they have traveled. By using this system, called “acoustic telemetry,” the biologists are hoping to learn how these rays use coastal habitats, and whether they are part of a local, regional, or coast-wide population. Learn more about the Movement of Life Initiative: https://movementoflife.si.edu/ https://serc.si.edu/research/projects/coastal-migrations Music by Adam Vitovsky Creative Commons License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Ecosystems on the Edge: Wetlands of the Future

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
What will the world look like in 2100? Smithsonian ecologists are building CO2-flooded time capsules to find out. View more Ecosystems on the Edge videos and learn how you can help at http://ecosystems.serc.si.edu. Created by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

Ecosystems on the Edge: Low Oxygen

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Oysters have been hard hit by overfishing and poaching. Now they have another enemy: low-oxygen "dead zones" that emerge in shallow waters at night. Smithsonian biologist Denise Breitburg explains how even just a few hours with near-zero oxygen levels can leave them vulnerable to parasites and disease. View more Ecosystems on the Edge videos and learn how you can help at http://ecosystems.serc.si.edu. Created by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

Catfish Surgery: Explore Smithsonian

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Blue catfish are a delicious but dangerous invasive species in the Chesapeake Bay. Their ravenous appetites have caused serious disruptions in the food web. But they're also very fast and, in the Bay's clouded waters, tracking their movements can be a challenge. Marine biologists at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center insert small acoustic tags into the fish, enabling them to track them with sound. TV host Josh Bernstein joins SERC biologist Rob Aguilar to perform "catfish surgery." Learn more about catfish surgery: http://sercblog.si.edu/?p=4580

Underwater Science: Oyster Restoration at Harris Creek

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
In Chesapeake Bay, the oyster fishery opens on October 1. To celebrate the kickoff of the 2019 oyster season, the biologists of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Maryland are revealing some underwater footage comparing restored sanctuary oyster reefs to harvested oyster reefs. This 2.5-minute video shows oyster reefs in two creeks—Harris Creek and Broad Creek, in the Choptank River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Harris Creek has been an oyster sanctuary since 2010, and now has hundreds of acres of restored oyster reefs. Just next to it, Broad Creek has remained open for harvesting and has relatively flat oyster reefs. The key difference is in the seascape. The oyster sanctuary at Harris Creek has more vertical oyster reefs, which enable it to support a higher density of oysters that can filter the water and provide other benefits, like habitat for fish. Check out the video to see how the two creeks compare! Video Editing: Liana Quiñones Music: "Special Day 3" by Lincoln Grounds and Richard Rayner

Oyster Reef Restoration: Choptank River, Md.

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Chesapeake Bay is the focus of one of the world’s largest oyster reef restoration efforts. The Fish and Invertebrate Ecology Lab at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) has been studying how fish and crabs are using these new reefs. In addition to their work using Dual-Frequency Imaging Sonar (a.k.a DIDSON, an underwater sonar camera) to study these fish and crab communities, videos using GoPro cameras have allowed researchers to assess the quality of the reef habitats. In this video, you can see some footage from various good quality oyster reef restoration sites in Harris Creek. Learn more about the lab's projects at https://serc.si.edu/labs/fish-and-invertebrate-ecology Video by Peyton Mowery, SERC intern Music: Prelude in C by Bach, from the You Tube Audio Library

Plate Watch--2017 Citizen Science Newsletter

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
The Marine Invasions Lab researchers have been working with volunteers to track the movement of non-native marine invertebrates along the West Coast of the US and Canada. Citizen scientists deploy settlement plates—small PVC tiles that are zip tied to bricks to keep them underwater. Videos by Cosette Larash, Maria Sharova, Alison Cawood Music: Positive by AShamaluev https://www.youtube.com/user/AShamaluev/about

Ecosystems on the Edge: Forest Survival

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
In the battle between native and invasive plants, who wins and why? Smithsonian ecologist John Parker describes how the struggle for dominance in a forest plays out. View more Ecosystems on the Edge videos and learn how you can help at http://ecosystems.serc.si.edu. Created by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

Ecosystems on the Edge: Stream Health

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
How do you diagnose a sick stream? Count its insects, according to Smithsonian biologist Don Weller. View more Ecosystems on the Edge videos and learn how you can help at http://ecosystems.serc.si.edu. Created by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

Ecosystems on the Edge

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Coasts shelter 70 percent of the world's people. But they're under attack from pollution, invasive species, and the steady march of climate change. Smithsonian biologist Andrew Peresta narrates how they protect us, and how ecologists are working to protect them. View more Ecosystems on the Edge videos and learn how you can help at http://ecosystems.serc.si.edu. Created by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

Blue Crab Tagging: Explore Smithsonian

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
The Chesapeake's beloved blue crabs entered a downward spiral in the 1990s that lasted almost two decades. Now they've started showing signs of recovery. But what will it take to ensure that blue crab numbers remain healthy for generations to come? Marine biologists at the Smithsonian have been tracking blue crabs on the Chesapeake since the 1970s. Tuck Hines, director and blue crab guru at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, Md., takes TV host Josh Bernstein for a trip on the Rhode River to show him how it's done. Learn more about blue crab tagging: http://sercblog.si.edu/?p=5262

River Seining: Explore Smithsonian

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
What life is hiding beneath the clouded waters of Chesapeake Bay? While scientists have devised several high-tech ways to peer beneath the surface, they also rely on one tried and true method: dragging a giant seine net through the water and seeing what they catch! Marine biologist Stacey Havard of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center took TV host Josh Bernstein seining in the Rhode River, where they discovered the tiny creatures that can make a big difference for life in the Chesapeake.

Making Sense Of Climate Change 2 : Global Warming, Rising Seas and Extreme Weather

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Get the truth about climate change, with plant scientist Bert Drake of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. In this 6-part series, discover how we got here, how we move forward, and what climate change could mean for our food our coastlines and our homes. Learn more at https://serc.si.edu/making-sense-of-climate-change. Lecture 2: Global Warming, Rising Seas and Extreme Weather Discover how rising temperatures have the power to expand seas, increase flooding, and create weather and climate extremes. Credits: Opening images courtesy of NASA, Chesapeake Bay Program, USAID and the U.S. Department of Energy Thumbnail Image Courtesy of Chesapeake Bay Program Music: "Ruckus 3" by Dave Depper From The Free Music Archive Creative Commons license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/
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