Archived Talks

End of Season Get-Together

Our final event of the 2009/10 season was an evening of dinner, talk, socialising and (of course) a short programme of nature films on June 4th attended by around 75 of our members.  Prior to a wonderful Indian buffet dinner provided by the Garden restaurant, we wathed two films by well-known UAE wildlife photographer Yusuf Thakur. Yususf runs a film company in Abu Dhabi called VFX [Visual Effects and Production] which produces a range of films.  He is hoping to produce some nature films in Qatar later this year.

Abu Dhabi -- Home of the Legendary Mermaids - This film is based on the research on dugongs conducted by the Environmental Agency Abu Dhabi [EAD] and subsequent conservation efforts to protect and preserve the population of these seldom seen, shy marine mammals in the waters of Abu Dhabi. The film includes rare footage of dugongs in the wild. Running time approx 30 mins.

Tracking Mermaids - A film about catching and  tagging dugongs with GPS transmitters inorder to track their movements and learn more about feeding grounds and the areas frequesnted by these wonderful creatures.  The data can then be used in identifying areas to be protected in order to help preserve the Dugong habitat in the Gulg. Running time approx 30 min

We also saw a third film produced in Qatar about the Oryx breeding facility and the work done to keep this iconic species from extinction. 
It was a great way to end our season.

June 2010 Programme
In June our guest speaker was be Dr. Renee Richer, visiting assistant professor at Weill Cornell Medical College. The title of her presentation to the QNHG was be: Desert Deviants: Qatar's most unusual plants.

Dr. R.A. Richer discussed some of the most unusual plants in Qatar. These included species that can't seem to decide if they are gymnosperms or angiosperms, those that segregate the male and females, and the water plants that make the desert their home. We encountered the stunningly beautiful and bizarre forms of plant life making their home in Qatar.

Dr. Renee Richer joined Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar in January 2007 where she teaches introductory biology. She received her BA in biology from the University of Chicago and her PhD in biology from Harvard University in 2004, where her dissertation focused on climate change and savanna tree species in southern Africa. Her research experience ranges from animal physiological ecology to plant physiological ecology.She joined WCMC-Q from the position of assistant professor and Director of the Environmental Conservation and Research Center of the American University of Armenia. There she taught environmental science and ecological economics. Her work with bird life in Armenia was recognized by the Whitley Award, the UK‟s largest conservation award.

Her current work focuses on the intersection of biological processes, conservation and sustainable development. She has many publications to her name, one of the most recent being: An Illustrated Checklist of the Flora of Qatar (as book co-author) and recent presentations have included Sustainable development in Qatar: Issues and challenges, where she was a panellist at the forum: Achieving the environmental development Outcomes of the Qatar National Vision 2030, January, 2009.
 

 
May 2010 Programme
Archeologist Andrew Peterson Research on an Islamic period settlement at Ras al-Shairig in Northern Qatar

Dr Andrew Petersen is Director of Research in Islamic Archaeology at the University of Wales Lampeter. He has carried out fieldwork in many parts of the Islamic world including Iraq, Oman, Jordan, Palestine, UAE and Qatar. His current research interests include Islamic urbanism, pilgrimage routes and fortifications. For the last two years he has been working on the archaeology of coastal settlement in northern Qatar in collaboration with the Qatar Museums Authority and the Qatar Islamic Archaeology and Heritage project.  He made a presentation to us last March about the excavations at the Islamic fort of Ruwaydha and earlier this year took us on a visit to that site. 

Presentation:


Research on an Islamic period settlement at Ras al-Shairig in Northern Qatar

Dr Peterson  will discuss the results of an intensive season of fieldwork at the Islamic site of Rubaigha located on the western side of the Ras al-Shairig peninsula, south of Zubara on the NW coast of Qatar.
   The site, which measures more than 300 metres north to south, includes a number of structures which have been identified as a fort, a mosque and at least three large courtyard houses as well as
  a number of smaller ancillary buildings. In addition to the structures there are a large number of burnt mounds or middens containing pottery glass, animal, bones and shell. Preliminary examination of pottery suggests that the settlement ceased to be occupied in the mid to late eighteenth century.
  Mapping of the site suggest two distinct areas of settlement:
  a southern area comprising the fort and adjacent structures and a northern area containing the mosque and the large courtyard houses. 



April 2010 Programme
 
Postponed from February: our guest speaker on April 7th was Dr. Richard Cuttler, the director of the Birmingham University, UK, team of archaeologists who are working here.
Title: Prehistoric Arabian Landscapes: Current Archaeological Research in Qatar
 
Richard studied Archaeology at the University of Birmingham and has spent much of the past 10 years working on projects in the Gulf region. In Qatar he has worked on excavations at Al Khor Island, and has since worked on almost exclusively Neolithic projects in Kuwait and Abu Dhabi. Last year Richard returned to Qatar with a team from Birmingham to collaborate on a new remote sensing project with the Department of Antiquities. The project uses remotely sensed data from the marine and terrestrial areas of Qatar to identify and record archaeological sites. Before 8,000 years ago much of the Gulf was an open landscape, and for this reason the marine areas are considered of particular importance. The project is also pioneering the new Qatar National Historic Environment record. Richard will be discussing a number of Neolithic sites and their regional significance for the Qatar remote sensing project.
 

Remote sensing data shows impact of sea level on Gulf
Gulf Times Publish Date: Saturday,10 April, 2010, at 12:15 PM Doha Time
 
By Fran Gillespie/Doha
 

 Dr Richard Cuttler (right) excavating a 7,500-year-old house on Marawah Island, Abu Dhab

Members of the Qatar Natural History Group went on a trip into the remote past on Wednesday evening. Dr Richard Cuttler, director of a team of archaeologists from the University of Birmingham, UK, now working with the Qatar Museums Authority on a project using remote sensing data, demonstrated how much the Gulf region has changed since early man first came into the area, and its impact on human life.
Cuttler said the earliest migrations from Africa took place around 115,000 and 85,000 years ago, and that Qatar was central to the second of these, as hunter gatherers moved gradually across what is now the Gulf region and into Arabia.
Changes in sea level and the impact that this has had on human occupation patterns only began to be understood around a century ago, said the speaker, when Clement Reid, a British geologist and paleobotanist, discovered submerged forests under the North Sea. In 1930 a harpoon was dredged up by a trawler which proved to be 14,000 years old, indicating that land that now lies deep under the ocean had once been dry terrain.
Here in the Gulf region, at the time of the last Ice Age so much water was locked up in the ice sheets that what is now the peninsula of Qatar was part of a vast plain stretching to Iran, broken by two large fresh-water lakes known as the central and western basins. The plain was watered by ancient rivers whose courses have been mapped by the team using remote sensing equipment. Around 12,000 years ago it is thought that the central basin flooded with sea water, followed a couple of thousand years later by the western basin, and what we now know as the Arabian Gulf was formed.
When in the 1930s the first archaeologists began working on the Arabian peninsula they found concentrations of stone age tools in areas that are now uninhabitable. They realised that only climate change could account for this. Rock carvings in remote, arid areas of the Sahara desert which depicted trees, and animals such as giraffes and crocodiles, showed how great the change had been.
The Stone Age cultures of Qatar were first mapped by the Danish archaeologist Holger Kapel, who attempted a chronology which was not fully accepted by the French archaeologists who came to Qatar in the 1970s. Some sites had been occupied, abandoned and re-occupied over a period of 30,000 – 50,000 years, making dating far from simple. Two very different types of flint technology were identified in Qatar, said Dr Cuttler.
The archaeologists are using geophysical data to create three-dimensional images of former landscapes in the Gulf. Out at sea they take core samples from the sea bed, which yield a wealth of data. Carbon dating can be obtained, and pollen counts give clues as to what plants were flourishing in the region many thousands of years ago, which is an indication of climate.
This mass of information from both sea and land will all form part of the Qatar National Historic Environment Record. Qatar is pioneering this kind of advanced research, and when it is complete every archaeological and cultural site, both on land and under water, will be recorded. Even the maskar, the traditional stone fish traps found all around the coastline, are meticulously photographed and mapped. This is vital, said Dr Cuttler, when the country is developing so rapidly and new buildings and infrastructure, especially along the coast, will obliterate many ancient sites. In this way every site can be researched and recorded before the area is developed.



March 2010 Programme

 
"The Wild Wetlands of Qatar - Conservation Opportunities" by Dr. Brian HunterBrian Hunter





On March 3rd our guest speaker will be Dr. Brian Hunter who will present "The Wild Wetlands of Qatar - Conservation Opportunities".  Brian studied Environmental Biology at the University of Liverpool before joining British Petroleum (BP) where he has worked for over 25 years, both as an Environmental Scientist and as Commercial Manager.  He has worked throughout the Gulf Region for the past 20 years and moved with his family to Qatar in 2005. 


Brian joined BP in 1984 as the group's first terrestrial environmental scientist.  In this role, he pioneered EIA (environmental impact assessments) and environmental restoration work for upstream developments, coal and mineral mining projects in Indonesia, Brazil, USA, Denmark and the UK.  Since the early 1990s, Brian has held a succession of overseas upstream, gas commercial and senior management positions on projects in Abu Dhabi, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Pakistan. He currently serves as the Country Manager for BP in Qatar and Iran. 


Brian has a keen interest in the international and environmental affairs in Arabia and the Middle East.   He is a member of the Board of Governors at Doha College, the Chemical Engineering External Advisory Board for Texas A&M University at Qatar, and an associate of the Centre for International and Regional Studies at Georgetown University at Qatar.




Away from work, Brian has a love of exploration and lists widlife and bird watching as his main interests and is a founder member and Director of Conservation of the Qatar Bird Club Executive Committee.


 
February 2010 Programme
Dr Jeremy Jameson-The Geological Evolution of the Qatar Sabkhas during the Holocene
 

Jeremy Jameson is a geologist specialized in carbonate rocks. He works for ExxonMobil Qatar Incorporated as an advisor for joint venture projects with Qatar Petroleum, Ras Gas and Qatar Gas.  In the course of studying and interpreting ancient rocks, he developed an interest in mapping the coastline of Qatar. Many aspects of the coastal history during the last 10,000 years illustrate principles of geology in the subsurface. 


 

Jeremy has a PhD in Geology from the University of Edinburg in Scotland. After university he started work in the Exxon Production Research Lab.  He spent most of the first 6 years working Carboniferous carbonates on the North Slope of Alaska.  From

Alaska he moved to the Arctic of Russia, and Devonian carbonates. From there to Mesozoic carbonates in Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. For the last 10 years he has been studying various aspects of the geology of Qatar and the Middle East



 

January 2010 Programme

Some of you may remember the presentation given in October 2008 by Dr. Hubert Bari of the Museum of Islamic Art, (attended by around 200 people, the largest audience recorded for a QNHG presentation). He will be returning in January to give another presentation to the QNHG on the subject of pearls, ahead of the great „Pearl‟ exhibition planned at the MIA and opening on 29th January 2010.
 
Dr Bari is the Curator of Gems and Jewellery at the Museum of Islamic Art, and Manager of Temporary Exhibitions for the Qatar Museums Authority. He holds a doctorate from the University of Strasbourg in mineralogy, and for 25 years was employed at the Museum of Natural History in Paris. He previously worked in Qatar from 2003 to 2006 as curator of various exhibitions, including Lost Worlds, put on by the museum authorities in Doha. He then took a sabbatical for two years to study pearls, a subject which has always fascinated him, before returning to Doha in June last year.
 
'Pearl Salad'  - Pearl Exhibition at the Museum of Islamic Art , 30 January - 5 June 2010

The aim of the exhibition is to surprise! "We will make a complete tour inside the pearl world, natural and cultivated, and we will finish with a breathtaking treasure. More than 500 objects will be exhibited, including the most famous pearls, like the Hope pearl and the Pearl of Asia, both more than 5 cm in size. A crucial section will be, of course, dedicated to Gulf pearls, with the first public presentation of the Al Fardan collection". 



December ProgrammeMeasuring whale shark length
 
Speakers:  Adam Harman & Richard Rees 

Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSRP)

Adam Harman & Richard ReesProfile: Richard Rees, biologist, trustee, director and founding member of the MWSRP has worked voluntarily in the charity since its inception. Richard is head of research and development and is very much the man with the ideas. He often refers to his job as ‘the best job in the World’. He is an avid free-diver who loves to encounter a huge variety of marine life and is passionate about his work.  Adam Harman, trustee and director of the MWSRP has also worked voluntarily in the charity since his involvement begain in April 2008.  He has been passionate about the marine environment from as far back as he can remember and becomes uncomfortable when away from the ocean for too long.  Adam heads up the logistics, marketing and development side of the charity and works tirelessly hoping to help the charity to realize its full potential.   

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    November:Ancient Places- A look at some of Saudi Arabia's archaeological sites
     
    Presentation: Ionis Thompson
     

     

    Title: Ancient Places: a look at some of Saudi Arabia's archaeological sites and their historical significance
     
    Profile: Ionis Thompson studied history at the University of Bristol and has spent much of her working life in the Middle East including 12 years in Saudi Arabia. In the 1990s she published a best-selling guide book to desert travelling: Desert Treks from Riyadh, and a guide for newcomers to Saudi Arabia entitled Riyadh Handbook. Since returning to the UK in 1996 she has served as Honorary Secretary to The Society for Arabian Studies and The Saudi-British Society. She is also on the editorial board of the magazine Middle East in London, which is published by the London Middle East Institute in the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies.
     
    This year she was asked by the Chairman of the Saudi-British Society, Sir Alan Munro, to lead the first official Society tour of Saudi Arabia and this will take place immediately before she is due to visit Qatar in November. 

     
    October: The Science of Animal Behavior
     
    Our first 2009/10 programme was on Wednesday 7 October at 7:00 pm.
    Presentation: Gitte Marxen

    Profile: Gitte Marxen comes from Denmark and is an animal behaviour therapist. She graduated earlier this year with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Behaviour Therapy at the Institute of Ethology in Denmark, following a programme of training recognised and approved by the University of Cambridge.

    A final part of her training involved a project in which she worked with a falcon called Svend Sky Walker, under the supervision of the best falconer in Denmark, Bjarne Clausen. She learned to train, track and fly the falcon, feed it and handle it. In Denmark she also participated in a programme training seals which had been rescued and housed at a North Sea Museum to respond to commands from the vet and to be confident among humans. They were even taught to open their mouths for teeth inspections !

    Gitte has lived in Qatar for the last nine years and works mostly with dogs and cats, helping people with any problems of behaviour their pets may have, especially aggression in dogs. She hopes in future to be involved in the opening of a new park in Denmark, where she will advise on co-ordinating the animal enclosures and ensuring that their occupants have a stimulating and varied life, and she also has ambitions to be involved in the release of animals into the wild, not only in Europe but world wide.

    Next month Gitte will journey to Namibia to spend four weeks working as a volunteer at Harnass Wildlife Foundation, known as 'the Noah's Ark of Namibia.
     
    Gitte's talk focussed on various studies and reseach on animal behavior and included tips on how behavior could be altered and reinforced through training.
     
     
    Gulf Times Publish Date: Monday,12 October, 2009
    By Fran Gillespie
    Flying falcons, signalling to seals and reconnoitring with rats were just three of the topics covered by animal behaviour therapist Gitte Marxen in her presentation at a meeting of the Qatar Natural History Group recently.
    The opening meeting of the 2009-2010 season, held at the Doha English Speaking School, was attended by over 150 members including many newcomers to Qatar.
    Marxen described the early studies of animal behaviour, a relatively new science, by such famous names as Darwin and Pavlov, and also by modern experts including Karen Prior who pioneered training dolphins and wolves in the 1960s to respond to humans using whistles.
    Whereas humans have come to rely on speech rather than body language in communication, for animals body language is of prime importance.
    A Portuguese scientist named Roger Abrantes, said Marxen, realised that the slightest variation in a hand signal could render it meaningless to an animal, and he therefore developed a coded series of signals, named SMAF, to ensure that people whose work involves communicating with animals all use precisely the same signals.
    This has proved to be of vital importance in Tanzania where giant African pouched rats are trained to indicate the presence of land mines. This has proved a highly efficient and successful method of tracking the mines to allow them to be de-fused, and countless lives have been saved as a result.
    These rats work far more quickly than dogs and being light are less likely to detonate the mines. African pouched rats are also used, said Marxen, to sniff out early signs of TB in humans.
    Marxen described her own work with animals as part of her BsC course in animal behaviour therapy, which involved training a falcon to fly and return to the glove, and teaching rescued seals which were housed at a North Sea Museum in Denmark to respond to commands from vets. Here in Qatar she works mainly with dogs, cats and horses.
    Next week Marxen leaves for Namibia to spend a month working at the Harnass Wildlife Foundation, known as ‘the Noah’s Ark of Namibia’, which rescues injured and endangered wild animals, and litters of cheetahs orphaned after their mothers were shot or trapped by farmers, and returns them to the wild after treatment and survival training. She will be posting daily blogs about her work in Namibia on her website
    http://www.gmarxen.com
    Information about the Natural History Group can be found on its website www.qnhg.org.
     
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    June: Green Roof Technology
     
    Katrin Scholz-Barth is an internationally recognized expert in Green Roof technology.  She received her M.Sc. in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Rostock, Germany in 1992 and has practised for over 16 years in the USA. Notable projects in the US include the National Institute of Health, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in Charlotte, North Carolina, Queens Botanical Garden in New York, O’Hare Airport in Chicago, and the World Bank headquarter office in Washington, DC. Her work was recognized with a green roof award of excellence in 2003.

    Ms. Scholz-Barth moved to Doha, Qatar in August 2008 and has since become the first president of Sustainable Qatar (http://sustainableqatar.pbworks.com/), an organization that promotes environmental awareness and action within the community. She is a member of the Qatar Green Building Council and a contributing author to the Qatar Better Building Guidelines by the UNESCO. Her presentation focued on water management, energy efficiency and sustainable landscape design with emphasis on how to implement these strategies in the Middle East.   To purchase her book, Green Roof Systems, or for more information on the topic, please see her website at www.scholz-barth.com  

     
    May: Images of Arabia
     
    Our May 6th talk was presented by Renee Hughes, Assistant Director of Nursing at ASPETAR (Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital). She came to commission the Hospital and has remained as part of the Senior Nursing Team.
    Renee spent most of her working life in the Middle East with fourteen years in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. During this time she traveled extensively in the country and amassed a collection of photographs and artifacts. She took us on a journey through some fantastic scenery, significant historical sites, introduced us to the culture and the people, and included some natural history topics.
    Renee is currently working on two books, one on her adventures as a single woman traveling through the Kingdom and the other in conjunction with the renowned Saudi photographer Mohammed Babelli who has been commissioned by the royal family of Saudi Arabia to publish travel books to promote tourism. Renee was formerly involved with the Supreme Commission for Tourism and Antiquities and acted as a tour guide for both internal and external clients.

     
    April: Nature Photography - How, When, and Where

    Our April 1 talk was by Hanne and Jens Eriksen who have traveled in all seven continents to photograph nature and wildlife in general, and birds in particular.  They shared some of their secrets with the almost 200 people who attended the QNHG meeting.

    Using images from around the world they showed how to get better pictures and will address topics such as equipment, composition, focus, light, depth of field and follow-up work on the computer. Specific suggestions will be given on how to improve your photos.

    The Eriksens have lived and worked in the Middle East for over 22 years, 19 of them in Oman. They are now based in Abu Dhabi. Between them they have won numerous photo competitions, including five times winning the Bird Photograph of the Year competition organized by the magazine British Birds. They are the authors or co-authors of over 100 articles and 13 books including Birdlife in Oman (1999), Oman Bird List (2003), Common Birds in Oman (2005) and Birdwatching guide to Oman (2008). Their website, www.BirdsOman.com, gives information on birds and birdwatching in Oman and contains over 4,000 images in the Photo Gallery. More that 6,000 of their pictures have been published in books, magazines, newspapers, calendars, postcards, jigsaw puzzles, stamps and even on coins and bank notes.

     
    March: Excavations at the Islamic Fort of Ruwaydha in NW Qatar
     
    There was a special presentation on 18 March 2008  by Islamic archaeologist Dr Andrew Petersen, director of the University of Wales archaeological expedition to Qatar on Excavations at the Islamic fort of Ruwaydha in NW Qatar to allow Dr Petersen to tell us about the first of [hopefully] several seasons of excavations at Ruwayda, a large ruined Islamic fort in NW Qatar.  For those of you who have been on the 'Northern Forts' tours, Ruwayda is the very large ruined fort a few kilometres south-west of Al Ruwais, the town on the northernmost tip of the Qatar peninsula, with mangroves fringing its shoreline. Until this year it has never been excavated. The famous archaeologist Beatrice de Cardi and her British team in 1972-1973 made a surface collection of potsherds, some of which dated to the early Islamic period, ie 10th – 11 th century.  Now a team of 6 archaeologists from the University of Wales, based in Lampeter, has come to Qatar to excavate this remarkable and unusual Islamic site.  Dr Petersen gave details of the recent excavations, which finish later this month, and suggest reasons for the development and subsequent abandonment of the site. 
     We hope to coordinate a QNHG field trip to the site sometime next season, as Dr Peterson feels it is better left until next year when there will be more to see.

     
    March: Bats of Southeastern Arabia

    On 4 March 2008 our speaker was Drew Gardner, PhD FLS. His talk iwas entitled “Bats of Southeastern Arabia”.  Dr Gardner is currently working as an associate professor teaching biology and environmental science at Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, where he is also chairman of the Emirates Natural History Group. He has over 20 years of field experience with Arabian ecology. His cave work has included a recent survey of the ecology of the Suhur bat cave near Salalah. He has also collected various new species of invertebrates from caves in Oman, including most recently a tailless whip scorpion, Charinus omanensis. He is currently embarking on a survey of Southeastern Arabian bat calls to aid bat identification during surveys.

    February: Displaying Islamic Art
    Dr Oliver Watson, Director of the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha,  presented a talk entitled “Displaying Islamic Art: challenges and solutions.” He will focus on the vast assemblage of textiles, metalwork, ceramics, ivory and woodwork in the Museum of Islamic Art and the decisions that had to be made about the best way in which to display this unique collection.

     

    January: Global Warming, Global Cooling

    DR MARK ROSE, Head of Environmental Quality EVQ, Corporate Environment Department, Qatar Petroleum
     
    SPEAKER BIOGRAPHY: Educated at Exeter University where he graduated in Chemistry and received a PhD in Surface Chemistry. Worked for 30 years in industry either in developing purification processes or in the environmental field. In the former role , generated two patents and developed the largest PWA (Purified Wet Acid Plant) in the world. In the latter role reduced discharges of cadmium into UK waters by 70%, regulated numerous power stations ( gas and coal) and oil refineries. Became Head of Environmental Engineering at Qatargas at its inception in 1994 and supervised all environmental activities through construction, commissioning and initial operation. Left Qatar in 1998 but returned to in 2005 as Head of Environmental Quality at QP

    SYNOPSIS OF PRESENTATION:
    Global Warming / Climate Change / Global Cooling
    For the past decade or so it has been accepted by the governing elite of the world that the extensive use of fossil fuels has increased the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The greenhouse gas properties of carbon dioxide have caused a warming of the earth and that if significant reductions of carbon dioxide are not realised soon then the planet will warm up to the extent of melting the polar caps. This in turn will lead to extensive flooding and shifts in climate patterns & storms, hurricanes etc. Such scenarios are the results of modeling undertaken by the UN IPCC group. They frequently update their predictions of the dire quandary the human race is in. This has led to the Kyoto treaty where the Western industrialized (i.e. wealthy) have accepted to reduce their carbon emissions.
    This homo sapian centric view of changes in the earths environment is challenged by significant numbers of scientists who argue that the earths climate was, is, and will always be controlled by the sun. Mans efforts to change the climate by extravagant use of energy is just a minor sideshow compared to changes in the suns solar output. Moreover, in terms of greenhouse gas effects water vapour not carbon dioxide is the major driving force.
    Who is correct? Surely the model whose predictions prove to be most accurate must be nearest to replicate the planets thermodynamic mechanisms. Let us compare their track record

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    December 2008: Breeding Management of Endangered Antelopes


  • On December 3 our speaker was Catrin Hammer.  Her talk is entitled, “Breeding management of endangered antelopes at Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation.  Catrin Hammer is a certified animal keeper with a master diploma and 19 years professional experience. She spent three years as animal keeper in the Zoo Braunschweig in Germany, seven years as manager of a private Animal Park in northern Germany (Tierpark Essehof), and a year as supervisor at the Nature Zoo Rheine in Germany. Since 2000 Catrin has been the Mammal Curator at Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation, a private breeding centre for endangered species in Qatar/ Middle East, with an emphasis on primates, felids and ungulates. She is responsible for the entire Mammal Department at Al Wabra, which includes about 1700 mammals and reptiles in 50 species. Her work includes staff management, coordination of the animal breeding management, running the nursery unit for orphaned or neglected neonates, scientific projects, international correspondence including animal shipments and breeding loan arrangements, participation and initiation of wildlife conservation.
     
    November 2008: Marine Biosecurity
     
    Our speaker on November 5, 2008 was Dr. Iain Macdonald, scheduled for Wednesday November 5th 2008. His talk is entitled “Marine Biosecurity – the worldwide invasion of alien marine species and, in particular, in relation to Qatar”.  Dr. Macdonald is an environmental specialist and has worked for Qatar Gas for almost five years. He holds a PH.D on coral reef growth and has been a regular and popular speaker at QNHG meetings.
     
    October 2008: The World is an Oyster
     
    Our first meeting of the season on October 15, 2008 was a talk entitled “The Water World is an Oyster: natural and unusual pearls and their formation” presented by Dr Hubert Bari.  Dr. Bari is the curator of Gems and Jewellery at the Museum of Islamic Art and Manager of Temporary Exhibitions for the Qatar Museums Authority. He holds a doctorate from the University of Strasbourg in Mineralogy and for 25 years was employed at the Museum of Natural History in Paris. He previously worked in Qatar from 2003 – 2006 as curator of various exhibitions, including Lost Worlds, in Doha.  He then took a sabbatical for two years to study pearls, a subject which has always fascinated him, before returning to Doha in June this year. Dr. Bari is currently preparing a large exhibition on pearls which will be opened to the public in 2009.