The V Factor team had a great bank holiday weekend at the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival spreading the word about our project and hopefully inspiring a future generation of Bryozoologists. We were part of a large team of staff and volunteers from The Natural History Museum who travelled to Lyme Regis to give families and fossil enthusiasts who might not normally be able to travel to London the opportunity to learn about our collections and research.
Volunteer Leaders Rehemat and Sam with Curator Mary
We let visitors experience what it’s like to be a V Factor volunteer by getting them to measure scallop shells and identify the epifauna (organisms living on the surface of the shell). In total 53 shells were measured, so thank you to the fossil festival-goers for getting us a few steps closer to our target!
Tiny scientists were able to help us too, by identifying epifauna on our large felt scallop shell which were too big or too old to live on our shell.
Visitors to the Natural History Museum in London weren’t left out either, Mary (our curator) and Volunteer Leaders Rehemat and Rosemary took part in a live link up to the museum’s Attenborough Studio, answering questions about the aims of our project and what it’s like to be a V Factor volunteer.
Mary being interviewed by Nature Live's Nick
Unfortunately typical bank holiday weather meant that we were buffeted by high winds and rain throughout both interviews. We hope the audience in London appreciated the dramatic backdrop, and could hear us over the wind!
When the weather improved we also collected local bryozoans to show visitors what they might find on the beach, including some Membranipora membranacea growing on kelp.
Membranipora membranacea viewed using a pocket microscope (40x magnification)
We really enjoyed meeting everyone at the Fossil Festival (even though it was sometimes a bit hectic and we nearly lost our voices from talking so much!) we really hope we will be able to return in the future.