Upcoming Lectures

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Lecture Title – “The Terraced Settlements of the High Musandam”  by Gary Feulner


The mountains of the Musandam peninsula, north of Ras al-Khaimah, are shared by the UAE and Oman. This is the highest area in Eastern Arabia north of the Jebel Akhdar. Until the modern era, the high Musandam (the Ru’us al-Jibal or “the Mountain Tops”) was home to an extensive network of seasonal settlements — remote but vital oases set in a stark and dramatic landscape, some with scores of dwellings and populations sufficient, over time, to fill graveyards of several hundred souls.

That way of life has passed. Although a few of the more accessible high settlements have been expanded, most have been effectively abandoned. Far from roads and hidden from view, they are scarcely even imagined by visitors who traverse the few roads that reach the high Musandam. And there are fewer visitors as border restrictions have been progressively tightened.


DNHG Chairman Gary Feulner has explored the Musandam region for more than two decades. His account of the Musandam flora was published in 2011 as a special volume of Tribulus. In 2001 and 2002 he served as team member and guide for an archaeological survey of the terraced settlements of the Musandam by University of Durham archaeologist Derek Kennet, formerly resident archaeologist at the National Museum of Ras al-Khaimah.

Gary’s talk will take us to the high Musandam and introduce us to many details of those settlements — terraced fields, homes (the bayt al-qufl), implements, ornaments, irrigation, art, etc. – and to some of what is known about the way of life they represent.


Sunday, 05 October 2014 

Lecture Title – “Have you seen the largest beetle in the wood?Preliminary patterns of dispersal and movement in Anthracocentrusarabicus (Thompson, 1877)(Coleoptera: Cerambycidae)”


Despite its large size, Anthracocentrusarabicus (Thompson, 1877) is rarely observed as it is seasonal (approx. September to December), and nocturnal, with a distribution spanning the Arabian Peninsula and parts of Africa. Ecological data is sparse for this species in the literature. A. arabicus adults are thought not to feed and larva are thought to be associated with the roots of the regionally endemic Prosopis cineraria (L.) Druce, locally known as ‘Ghaf’. During October to December 2013, a field study was conducted where a defined Ghaf population in a sandy desert environment in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, was examined for the presence of A. arabicus adults.  These were monitored for movement within the habitat by marking, releasing and recapturing individuals, and where possible, movement recorded. Findings so far indicate that A. arabicusdisplays restricted movement patterns, and has an unbalanced male/female ratio. These findings along with adult longevity and population density estimates are discussed in the context of conservation given the rapid development in the UAE with fragmentation and loss of habitat. This study will lead to future research.

Dr. Brigitte Howarth Biography

Dr Brigitte Howarth is an experienced ecologist, with a BSc in applied ecology(University of East London, 1992), and a Ph.D in ecological and behavioural entomology (University of Central Lancashire, 1998).  She has athorough knowledge of the UAE and Oman’s ecology, fauna and flora, with over 15years experience in this region.Her responsibilities at Zayed University include chairing the department of Natural Science and Public Health, as well as delivering lectures in ecology. Brigitte is chair of the Al Ain Chapter of the Emirates Natural History Group.

Dr. Janine Tan Biography

Janine completed her doctorate on the large pine weevil, Hylobiusabietisa major pest in plantation coniferous forestry.  The research was conducted at Forest Research, the research division of the Forestry Commission, UK, and awarded by the University of Ulster.  Since 2012, she has been working at Zayed University in the UAE, teaching Biology and Ecology, and in 2013 started the preliminary studies with Brigitte Howarth on Anthracocentrusarabicus, the Arabian long horn beetle.


 Sunday, 02 November 2014

Lecture Title – “The Islamic Centuries in al-Ain and the Buraimi Oasis”


The historic Buraimi Oasis lies about 150 km south of Dubai, situated between the Mahadha plain and Abu Dhabi dunes, with Jebel Hafit and the Hajar Mountains looming on the near horizon. The Omani chroniclers and British explorers of the eighteenth to mid-twentieth centuries describe a landscape of nine discrete date-palm oases scattered across a sparse savannah of acacia and ghaff trees. The area was settled in the Bronze and Iron Ages, as visitors to the Hili Archaeological Park and al-Ain National Museum will know, but the Islamic centuries have long remained mysterious. This lecture will draw upon the author’s archaeological fieldwork and historical research in al-Ain and Buraimi, undertaken in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi TCA and Sultan Qaboos University, to present an account of the principal monuments and archaeological sites of the Islamic centuries.

Further information about al-Ain and the Buraimi Oasis can be found on my blog:


Email: timothy.power@zu.ac.ae Twitter: @timcpower.


Dr. Timothy Powers is an archaeologist and sometime historian specialising in Arabia and the Islamic world. His interest in Islamic civilization began in 2001 when he moved to Cairo, from where he worked on a historical guidebook to Alexandria and dug in the Eastern Desert of Egypt, before travelling extensively in the Islamic world between Seville and Samarkand.

Dr. Timothy Powers went on to study Islamic art and archaeology at the University of Oxford, and completed his doctorate on the Red Sea basin from Byzantium to the Caliphate, now published as a book by the AUC Press. He has been based in the Arabian Gulf since 2009.

He was first a consultant to the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority before becoming a lecturer at the new UCL campus in Qatar, and is presently an assistant professor at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi. His archaeological fieldwork these past six years has focused on the al-Ain / Buraimi Oases, on the border between the UAE and Oman. In 2014 he set up the Buraimi Oasis Landscape Archaeology Project, a collaboration between Zayed University, Sultan Qaboos University and the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, which aims to explore the historic unity and shared heritage of the Buraimi Oasis.



Visitors and new members are welcome.

For further information, contact Vice Chairman Valerie Chalmers at 04-394-8871 or valeriechalmers@gmail.com
All programs start promptly at 20:00 hrs. (8 pm) and last for about an hour with question time to follow.
Our venue is the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, just off Beach Road in Umm Suqeim, near the Burj Al-Arab.

Click here for Location Map


About DNHG

Newcomers to the UAE often fail to realize how interesting and accessible – and alive – the many unique environments of the UAE can be. The Dubai Natural History Group is a non-profit, all-volunteer group with a shared interest in learning more about natural history in general and the natural history of the UAE in particular.


The DNHG hosts monthly lectures, conducts field trips for members, maintains a small reference library, and circulates a monthly newsletter with DNHG news and events plus information about the natural history of the UAE.


“Natural history” for our purposes encompasses virtually all aspects of wildlife and the natural environment: animal life of all sorts – birds, fish, insects, mammals, reptiles, spiders and scorpions – as well as archeology, astronomy, botany, climate, conservation issues, geology, seashells, traditional culture, and underwater life.


The DNHG was formed by Dubai residents in the mid-1980s and since 2005 it has operatedunder the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Nahayan bin Mubarak Al Nahayan,  for many years the UAE Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and currently the UAE Minister for Culture, Youth, and Social Development.

More Info

For more information about the DNHG write to us

@ P.O. Box 9234, Dubai or contact :


Chairman: Gary Feulner

Tel. ++9714-306-5570 | e-mail: grfeulner@gmail.com


Vice Chairman:  Valerie Chalmers

Tel. ++9714-394-8871 | e-mail: valeriechalmers@gmail.com


Membership Secretary: Anindita Radhakrishna

Tel. ++9714-282-3952 | e-mail: anin@emirates.net.ae