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4/06/09

The Príncipe Felipe Science Museum shows the past and present of Spanish ecology


 

• Photographs, publications, and drawings in five explanatory modules to combine historical elements going back to 1857 with current research

From today to 30th August the Príncipe Felipe Science Museum is holding the exhibition “150 years of ecology in Spain – Science for a fragile Earth”. This has been organised by the Spanish Natural Science Museum and the Banco Santander Foundation and explores ecology in Spain past and present. At the same time it pays tribute to naturalists and ecologists and shows how the evolution of this science has influenced society.

The inaugural session of the exhibition was attended by the director general of the City of Arts and Sciences, Jorge Vela; the scientific director of the City of Arts and Sciences, Manuel Toharia; the director of the Spanish Natural Science Museum, Alfonso Navas; the organiser of the exhibition Santos Casado, and the managing director of the Banco Santander Foundation, Javier Aguado Sobrino.

By means of photographs, maps, publications, and drawings the relationship between science, society, and nature is shown by combining historical elements going back to 1857 with current research. The exhibition thus reviews a hundred and fifty years of not only the ecological history of Spain and the pioneers in the field, but also of scientific discoveries, nature information, and studies carried out throughout this period. Aspects that are today so worrying are not neglected, i.e. fires, the disappearance of ecosystems, and the massive extinction of species, protected areas, global change, and sustainability.

“150 years of ecology in Spain – Science for a fragile Earth” is divided into five main thematic areas, each of which is given a different colour and consists of various exhibition modules. The laws of thickness presents woodland as an ecosystem model but also as a laboratory in order to understand the balances and imbalances which link us to what nature brings. Islands of water in a sea of land recalls the work of pioneer researchers in disseminating the value of Spanish rivers and wetlands such as La Albufera. The first studies on this subject were carried out at the Spanish Water Laboratory which was inaugurated in 1912 in the corridor of a Valencia secondary school. The invisible promise, which reviews the primitive equipment with which early marine biologists and oceanographers studied the sea more than a century ago, is another part of the exhibition.

In From the individual to the landscape the exhibition also touches on man’s relationship with ecosystems. To help us to understand this we must start from the relationship of individuals between themselves and of the latter with the environment in which they develop in such a way that both have a strong influence on each other. The evolutionary conditions of man are thus changing at the same time as the latter modifies the landscape or the species that inhabit it. Finally, with The allies of the Earth the idea is to suggest that scientific development is inseparable from citizen awareness which has undergone many changes over time.


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