A manatee skeleton that was collected from the Columbus Zoo hangs in the tetrapod collection at the Museum of Biological Diversity. Mary Megan Daly, the museum’s director, will be the featured speaker at the Columbus Science Pub on Thursday. Credit: Leah McClure | Former Senior Lantern reporter

The Columbus Science Pub is hosting a behind-the-scenes event Friday called “A Night with the Museum” at the Backstage Bistro on South Front Street, featuring the director of Ohio State’s Museum of Biological Diversity, Mary Megan Daly.

The Columbus Science Pub is a program through Ohio State’s STEAM Factory — a grassroots network that facilitates creative and interdisciplinary collaboration, according to its website — that hosts speakers from various scientific fields in informal settings and is open to the public. It has been hosting events since 2010.

Daly said she hopes this event will open up the floor for the general public to ask questions and learn more about science in a laid-back setting.

She said at the event she plans to speak about her research studying evolution through sea anemones, and about how that research has allowed her to travel and collect samples for the museum.

“There’s this incredible potential for discovery,” Daly said about the biological diversity museum. “To me, that’s what [the museum] means. Not just a kind of a collection of what we already know, but this place where we can really discover exciting things.”

A variety of plants and animals collected from around the world are located at the Museum of Biological Diversity. It is classified as a “working museum,” meaning the specimens collected are not there to be displayed, but to be used to conduct research.

Currently, there are eight collections featured in the museum, with research dating back to the late 1800s. The research is funded by taxpayer dollars, and Daly feels it is crucial to report back to taxpayers by holding events such as this.

“What we get to do is a privilege, and it’s wonderful to be able to share it with people,” Daly said. “When you do outreach, you get to meet people who have interesting and different ideas.”

The Columbus Science Pub allows members of the public to sit in on scientific discussions in a relaxed setting, said organizer Rob Evans.

“There is a culture to the Science Pub audience,” Evans said. “The people change, but every month people are totally not shy about asking whatever it is they want to know. It just takes that one person to ask what might seem like a bit of an obvious question, but it’s sort of the question that everybody wants answered.”

The Columbus Science Pub puts on an event each month that focuses on different aspects of science. Daly expressed that she is excited for this opportunity to inform a large, diverse audience about the museum’s operations. In the future, she plans on hosting more events similar to this one in order to expand the outreach efforts of the museum.


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