Dystonia and Botulinum Toxin

I’m pleased to announce that the in-house journal of the Royal Society of Biology (formerly Institute of Biology), ‘Biologist’ published a review article on the use of Clostridium botulinum toxin in the treatment of dystonias.

The article, ‘The Power of Poison’, was written in conjunction with my friend – and consultant at the Royal Hallamshire hospital, Sheffield – Dr. Richard Grunewald.

The article is also the ‘Biologist’ website:

https://thebiologist.rsb.org.uk/biologist/158-biologist/features/1933-the-power-of-poison

Bivalves!

Having (fairly recently) re-approached the gastropod book with a view to updating the systematics and taxonomy, I have taken the opportunity also to make a new start on its sister book on bivalves.

Since the above entailed reviewing the species checklist, I have made checklists of the other molluscan classes for Britain and northwest Europe: Monoplacophora, Aplacophora, Polyplacophora (or Amphineura; chitons), Scaphopoda (tusk-shells), Cephalopoda.

Another group, the Brachiopoda, while not molluscs, are in the same superphylum, Lophophorata – and the list for the group is now completed.

Lophophorata Systematics:

Domain: EUKARYOTA Whittaker & Margulis, 1978 (= Eucarya Woese)
Subdomain: UNIKONTA Cavalier-Smith, 2002
Superkingdom:OPISTHOKONTA Cavalier-Smith, 1987
Clade: FILOZOA Shalchian-Tabrizi, Minge, Espelund, Orr, Ruden, Jakobsen and Cavalier Smith, 2008
Clade: APOIKOZOA Budd and Jensen, 2015
Kingdom: ANIMALIA Linné, 1758 (= Metazoa Huxley, Polycytozoa auctt.)
Subkingdom: EUMETAZOA Butschli, 1910
Unranked: BILATERIA Hatschek, 1888
Clade: NEPHROZOA Jondelius, et al., 2002 (= Protostomia [see below] + Deuterostomia Grobben)
Clade: PROTOSTOMIA Grobben, 1908(= Gastroneuralia Harschek, Protostoma auctt.)
Clade: SPIRALIA Nielsen, 1995(≡ Lophotrochozoa Halanych)
Superphylum: LOPHOPHORATA Hyman, 1959 (=PlatyzoaCavalier-Smith, Tentaculata Ax)

A Field Guide to the Marine Gastropods …

As well as my Cleethorpes book (see separate post), I have been preparing a book entitled, ‘A Field Guide to the Marine Gastropods of Britain and northwest Europe’.

The Field Guide describes over 800 species (from northern France to the North Pole) in detail, as well as their habits, habitats, ranges and European distributions.

The book was originally intended as a sister-guide to Kerney and Cameron’s ‘Land Snails of Britain and northwest Europe (Collins) – but, again, I have been unable to find a publisher.

As with the Cleethorpes book, I shall keep trying…

Lincolnshire Life: Index

I pride myself in being knowledgeable about all things Lincolnshire. To this end, I have published an index to the first 30 years of the county’s monthly magazine, Lincolnshire Life.

Entitled ‘Annotated General- and People Indices of Lincolnshire Life magazine, 1961-1990′, it is 231 pages long and in three parts: general; people; and professions).

The index is available from the printers, Pott Morton, in Lincoln (pott.morton@btinternet.com), for the knock-down price of £30 a copy.

If you’re also interested in all things Lincolnshire, you could find that the index will very useful!

Cleethorpes: My Home Town

Many friends and colleagues will know that, for many years, I have been working on a book about Cleethorpes – a complete History and Natural History (among other things) in the form of a walk from Grimsby Docks to Tetney Haven (c. nine miles).

The book has been more-or-less finished for quite some time and, after having found a publisher a while ago, they pulled out. Now I’m looking for someone else who might be interested in taking it on.

Does anyone know of a (local?) publisher?

Fungus Foray!

Fungus Foray!

On October 22nd, I was delighted to be able to co-lead, with Jane Ostler, an annual fungus foray into Twyford Wood, near Colsterworth in southern Lincolnshire (just off the A1). This a multi-habitat wood based on what used to be an RAF airfield.

The foray, organised by Marianne Overton (a fellow Member of the Royal Society of Biology, MRSB), was attended by about twenty people – including several children with their parents, this being a joint event between the RSB and the local Wildlife Watch/RSPB Explorers.

Compared to previous years, the fungi in evidence were very few and far between (we found only 26 species, versus 92 for last year!), but nonetheless exciting. There were two species new to our forays: an Earth Star, Geastrum triplex; and the Tripe Fungus, Auricularia mesenterica. Although found previously. Gymnopilus junonius, the Laughing Cap, was found in beautiful profusion. Only one Mycena, M.pura, the Lilac Bonnet was found.

Several groups which are normally present were not found this year, including the Wax Caps, Hygrocybe, spp. (always on the peripheral, grassed areas); the Ink Caps, Coprinus, spp.; the Death Caps, Amanita, spp.; and the Russulaceae and Tricholomataceae.

This sudden low species-variation in Twyford Wood might be a reflection of a wider drop in species numbers in other groups and habitats around the UK (and elsewhere). Global warming and/or the recently reported increased CO2 levels, might be contributory factors. We will have to wait until next year’s foray to see if the numbers recover at all.