Gibraltar Museum

GIBRALTAR MUSEUM

HOME / OUR HISTORY / NATURAL HISTORY

Natural History

The Gibraltar Museum has a vibrant Natural History Department which is headed by Stewart Finlayson, a researcher currently working for his PhD. The main focus of the Natural History research being undertaken revolves around the reconstruction of the ancient habitats and climates of Gibraltar, using the fossils recovered from Gibraltar’s caves and comparing them with the same species living today. This research programme has developed the new discipline of 4-D Ecology which uses quantitative data gathered in the field today to reconstruct past worlds. A subsidiary project, that supports this research programme, photographs these species and habitats, offering a visual perspective of these ancient worlds.

 

A gallery of photographs taken by Finlayson Nature Photography accompanies this page. Finlayson Nature Photography is a non-profit group of wildlife photographers based in the Gibraltar Museum. Their aim is to eventually photograph all living species and habitats which were once part of Gibraltar. Gibraltar’s rich wildlife has much to do with its varied landscapes, even today. The major feature now are its limestone cliffs and caves. Part of the work of the Natural History Department involves the study of the animals that still live in these caves and cliffs, particularly its bats and birds. The Natural History Department has experts in these groups and is engaged in a detailed study of the different species and their ecology. Recent work includes the analysis of the DNA of some bat species in order to better understand their origins and possible movements across the Strait of Gibraltar.

 

A further line of research involves the study of rocky shore organisms, particularly the endangered Ribbed Mediterranean limpet (Patella ferruginea), work which is done in collaboration with the Institute of Life and Earth Sciences of the University of Gibraltar.