Queensland Museum science hits the Ekka

03 August 2010

Marine life, meteorites, minerals and fossils on show

A 540 million year old fossil and new species of marine life from the Great Barrier Reef will be on show at this year’s Ekka when the Queensland Museum visits the National Science Week pavilion, 5-14 August.

On day one of the Ekka, Thursday 5 August from 1pm – 5pm, Queensland Museum marine scientists will show off a unique touch tank of marine creatures collected from the depths of the Great Barrier Reef for the Seabed Biodiversity Project.

Queensland Museum Head of Biodiversity Dr John Hooper said the starfish, soft corals, dry sponges and shells in the waterless touch tank will give Ekka visitors a chance to get hands on with the science of discovering and classifying new species.

“Queensland Museum scientists worked with CSIRO, Australian Institute of Marine Science and Queensland Fisheries to collect and study marine life from the Great Barrier Reef’s seabeds,” Dr Hooper said.

“We discovered around 5,000 species, a great many new to science and some of these will be in our Ekka marine tank. The Museum is currently using DNA technology to barcode these discoveries to help identify the new species.”

Meteorites, minerals and fossils from the Queensland Museum’s vast geosciences collections will go on show at the Geological Society of Australia’s stand in the National Science Week pavilion, 5 – 14 August.

A 540 million year old trilobite is the oldest of the Museum fossils in the Ekka display that also includes crab, starfish and ammonite fossils, plus a colourful array of Queensland minerals.

The Museum collection at the Show also features two different types of meteorites – stony and iron. The stony meteorites are from the Tenham meteorite shower that fell in the Spring of 1878 around 300 kilometres east of Birdsville. The 25 centimetre iron meteorite crashed to earth in the early 1940s, landing in Gladstone weighing around 17 kilograms.

The Geosciences collection will be on display at the Geological Society of Australia’s stand in the National Science Week pavilion for the 10 days of the Ekka.

Queensland Museum’s scientists and the marine touch tank will be at the Queensland government’s Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation stand in the National Science Week pavilion, Thursday 5 August, 1pm – 5pm.

The Museum’s Ekka displays are designed as a tiny preview of the huge array of free, hands-on, Science for Life activities planned to celebrate National Science Week at Queensland Museum South Bank, 14 – 28 August 2010. Visit www.qm.qld.gov.au for details.

Media contact:
Louise Sturgess 07 3842 9388 or 0417 741 710


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