3 September 2020
Photo: UHH/CeNak, Gerisch
Marie Rahn, Deputy Head of Department "Scientific Education and Visitor Management," tests the media station for the Biodiversity Showcase, whose program HAW student Sascha Kufahl developed as part of his master's thesis. Some of the information on the 276 animal species on display in the showcase will be available online starting in November. The media station will be set up later.
Does the earwig really pinch the auricle? And how dangerous is the death's-head cockroach? That both insects are completely harmless will soon be available to anyone interested in a media station that is currently being developed for the Zoological Museum. It provides up-to-date information and photos on a total of 276 animal species in the biodiversity showcase. Starting in November, selected photos and texts will initially be available online; later, museum visitors will be able to navigate through the diversity of life directly at the media station in view of the animal specimens.
Fleeting or immersed, random or targeted, interested visitors can search for animals and their habitats via touchscreen. In the process, they learn, also in detail, what role a tiny worm plays in the large network of life, what the bright colors of butterfly wings have in common with the counterfeit protection of banknotes, and what ecological niche the badger occupies in Central Europe. In addition to a systematic classification, the texts also provide information on the behavior of the animals, their habitat, possible threats, ecology and significance for us humans.
"Homo sapiens also becomes part of this biodiversity showcase through a mirror," explains Viktor Hartung. As an exhibition text writer at CeNak, he has prepared the content on the species scientifically and taking into account current research findings. The texts are primarily aimed at families, says Hartung: "Parents and grandparents often come to the museum. They can now learn a lot about the animals shown in the display case together with the children via the media station."
Sascha Kufahl developed the program, which allows easy navigation on different levels. The master's student at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW) first took a close look at the objects in the showcase and finally prepared the corresponding photos for the system. In consultation with Viktor Hartung and the Science Education Department at CeNak, he developed a set-up that allows both children and adults to navigate in a playful way, offers good visuals, and at the same time reflects the complex order in the animal kingdom.
The Biodiversity Showcase in the back of the Zoological Museum was created about eight years ago. The diversity of life is systematically displayed, showing examples from all animal groups: from single-celled organisms to mammals. All groups are represented and together they represent the animal kingdom.
However, the fact that the common earwig does not pinch anyone's ear, but uses its pincers to hunt aphids, for example, or to defend itself from predators, can only now be read. And also that the name of the death's-head cockroach can only be traced back to its coloring.