AUBURN – Researchers at Auburn University have discovered a new species of trapdoor spider in a well-developed housing subdivision in the heart of the city of Auburn, Ala. Myrmekiaphila tigris, affectionately referred to as the Auburn Tiger Trapdoor Spider, is named in honor of Auburn University’s costumed tiger mascot, Aubie.
The research team, directed by biological sciences professor Jason Bond, lead investigator and director of the Auburn University Museum of Natural History, and Charles Ray, a research fellow in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, was excited at the prospect of such a remarkable find just underfoot. Bond and Ray actually live in the neighborhood where the new species was discovered.
Myrmekiaphila tigris belongs to a genus that contains 11 other species of trapdoor spider found throughout the eastern United States and includes the now-famous species Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi, from Birmingham, Ala., named for Canadian rocker Neil Young.
Auburn University student James Taylor, left, and University of Alabama student Stanton Ingram, right, examine a potential site in rural Alabama for a seismic station.
AUBURN – Despite their sometimes destructive consequences, can earthquakes actually be helpful events? The answer is a resounding “yes,” according to a team of two students and two professors from the University of Alabama and Auburn University.
Students Stanton Ingram, from the University of Alabama, and James Taylor, from Auburn University, along with their professors, Andrew Goodliffe, associate professor of geological sciences at Alabama, and Lorraine Wolf, professor in the department of geology and geography at Auburn, have teamed with other researchers across the country in a National Science Foundation-sponsored project known as Earthscope.
Earthscope, a scientific initiative to study the Earth’s interior, makes use of a collection of seismographs that will record earthquake waves from all over the globe. Aptly termed USArray, the seismographs will help geoscientists to study the characteristics of the deep Earth, much like a doctor can study the body’s interior through medical imaging.
AUBURN – The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University has installed “Sound Mapping Alabama: A Journey through Alabama Navigated by Ear.” This compilation of recordings collected in Alabama by Rich Curtis will be embedded in the museum’s south garden through April 30.
The more than 30 recordings in Rich’s outdoor sound piece include the sounds of swamp crickets chirping in Wind Creek, a gut-string banjo being played in Anniston, cars passing over the Edmond Pettis Bridge in Selma, Sacred Harp singing in Montgomery, hydraulics in a sock factory in Fort Payne, a rattlesnake sighting in Waverly, prayer in church in Camden and a Civil War funeral for an unknown Confederate soldier in Mobile.
AUBURN – The annual New Perspectives series begins this year with a lecture on photographer Prentice Herman Polk on Feb. 17 at 4 p.m. at Auburn University’s Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. Polk was a studio photographer and the official Tuskegee University photographer for 50 years. The series is sponsored by the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities in Auburn University’s College of Liberal Arts.
Amalia K. Amaki, professor of art history and curator of the Paul R. Jones Collection at the University of Alabama, will present Polk’s life and works in “P. H. Polk’s Images of Alabama.” Polk’s camera captured campus and community life as well as visiting dignitaries and local residents in hundreds of images. His work is a singular record of place and the Southern experiences of African Americans from the late 1920s until the early 1980s.
AUBURN – Auburn University and its partners in the Alabama Community Healthy Marriage Initiative will present this year’s regional conference on Tuesday, Feb. 3, through Thursday, Feb. 5, at the Montgomery River Walk Renaissance Hotel and Conference Center.
The 2009 Regional Healthy Marriages, Healthy Families and Responsible Fatherhood Conference on Best Practices is open both to professionals and to citizens interested in learning about ways to build and sustain healthy relationships and stable marriages. Workshops will cover a wide variety of subjects including marriage, youth, parenting, fatherhood, faith-based and community organizational development and health and wellness.
AUBURN – Black Belt Regional Museum curator John C. Hall will present a lecture on eighteenth-century naturalist and artist William Bartram on Thursday, March 27, at 3 p.m., in the Special Collections and Archives Department of the Ralph Brown Draughon Library.
Hall’s presentation will focus on Bartram’s 1775 journey through Alabama, where he recorded firsthand information on native inhabitants and the unspoiled natural environment. His writing and illustrations were published in 1791 in “Bartram’s Travels,” which Hall terms “one of the most important documents of American science and the first book of Alabama natural history.” The lecture will include various aspects of Alabama colonial and frontier history, Native American history and natural history.