The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, The National Natural History Collections

Institution (Original name) 
אוספי הטבע הלאומיים - האוניברסיטה העברית בירושלים
The National Natural History Collections, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Berman Building, Edmond J. Safra Campus, Givat Ram
Postal code 


Type of institution 
Are you part of a larger entity / legal body? 
Member since 
26 April 2018
Full member
CETAF Official representative
Name, position, phone, e-mail, research field 

Prof. Gila Kahila Bar-Gal, Director, Office tel: +972-8-9489888,

molecular evolution and forensic

2013 – Member of Expert committee on writing the Guidelines on forensic methods and procedures for International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), United Nations office of drugs and Crime (UNODC).

2014 – present  Certified Wildlife Forensic specialist.

2014 – present  Member of the Certification Body of the “Society of Wildlife Forensic Science”.

2016 – present  Member of the ICCWC Wildlife Forensics Advisory Group.

2018 – Position in the Executive Committee (EC): Was approved to be a guest in the 7th ENFSI Animal, Plant and Soil Traces Working Group Meeting which will take place in April 11-13, 2018 in Pontoise, France.

Member of the Executive Committee? 
Executive Committee position 
Name, position, phone, e-mail, research field 

Dr. Rivka Rabinovich, Curator and Director of Palaeonotlogical Collection, Office tel: +972 - 26585784,, archaeozoologists and palaeontologist.

Member of the Executive Committee? 
Director / legal representative of the institution (title, name, phone, e-mail, research field) 

Prof. Gila Kahila Bar-Gal, Director of the collections, Office tel: +972-8-9489888,,

molecular evolution, conservation genetics and forensic science

Organigram figure 
Governing and executive bodies 

The National Natural History Collections are a unit in the Hebrew University. The academic curators are tenured or tenure track and related to an academic department.

Scientific staff 
Permanent (P)Non – Permanent (NP)
a) TOTAL scientific staff10
b) Scientific staff linked to Collections
c) Post-docs / PhD students415
d) Others (Associates, etc.)12
TOTAL (a+b+c+d)2615
Other staff (administration etc.) 
Permanent (P)Non – Permanent (NP)
e) Exhibitions
f) Collection Managers / technicians6
g) Others 4
TOTAL (e+f+g) 10
Total permanent staff 
Total non-permanent staff 
Grand total (permanent + non-permanent Staff) 
Male (%) 
Female (%) 
Total (permanent and non-permanent staff + externalized personnel)  
Any other information concerning the staff 

We have access on demand to various shared core facilitiy units at the Hebrew University such as:

  • Center for Nanoscience & Nanotechnology (HUCNN) (ca 1-2). 
  • Computerized Archaeology Laboratory at the Institute of Archaeology (ca. 1-2). 
  • The Center for Genomic Technologies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem serves as a National Research and Service Laboratory dedicated to the several approaches for detecting DNA variations (ca.1-2).
  • Cooperation with colleagues from various institution for research purposes involving students periodically (ca. 5 per year).
R&D facilities
How many laboratories are in use in your institution? 
List of laboratories 
  1. Conservation lab - directed by G. Beiner (M.A., ACR).
  2. Dr. D. Hawlena, Curator of the National Herpetological and Avian Collections - RiskManagement Ecology Lab. 2X CO2- controlled growing chambers, cooling incubator, 
  3. drying ovens, microbalance, analytical balances, semi-microbalance, LI-7000-Closed Path 
  4. CO2/H2O gas analyzer, CRDS-Picarro G2201-i Analyzer for δ 
  5. 13 
  6. C for methane (CH4) and 
  7. carbon dioxide (CO2), 16 port manifold for flow through respiratory, PH- meter, ball-mill, 
  8. grinders, Lyophilizer, Antaris II FT-NIR Analyzer, Dissecting Microscope +Camera, 
  9. Ocean Optics Flame Spectrometer, video cameras, HH2 Soil Moisture Meter PR2 + Soil 
  10. Moisture Profile Probe.
  11. Prof. A. Chipman, Curator of the Invertebrates Collections  -  Developmental biology, 
  12. molecular biology and microscopy work. The lab space includes a large area for molecular 
  13. / experimental work, a microscope / darkroom area, a temperature controlled insect room 
  14. and office space for lab members. Equipment includes PCR machines, temperature blocks 
  15. and gel equipment for molecular work, two incubators for embryos, three dissecting microscopes (Nikon and Zeiss),  a fluorescent transmitting microscope (Nikon) and an AZ100 zoom stereoscope (Nikon).
  16. Prof. G. Kahila Bar-Gal, Curator of the wildlife Cryobank   - Two separate laboratories 
  17. dedicated to modern and ancient DNA research, respectively; ABI3100 sequencer; an inhouse Linux-based Dell PowerEdge T620 server equipped with Intel Xeon-based 2.00GHz 
  18. 6 cores, 96GB RAM (1333MHz) and 2X4TB hard drives, equipped with all the relevant 
  19. software intended for analyzing high-throughput NextGen data.
  20. Prof. Rivka Rabinovich, Curator of the Palaeontology Collection, has several stereomicroscopes, preparation equipment, several freezers, camera, computers and printers.
  21. Dr. E. Gavish Regev, scientific manager of XXX: Digital stereomicroscope (Nikon SMZ 25) 
  22. high quality multi-layer pictures using NIS-Elements D (Nikon 2015 version 420). Multilayer pictures are combined using Zerene Stacker (Version 1.04). Stereomicroscope 
  23. (Nikon, Zeist, Leica). Several stereomicroscopes, preparation equipment.
Other scientific / R&D facilities 

We have access on demand to various shared core facilitiy units at the Hebrew University 

such as:

  • The Center for Nanoscience & Nanotechnology (HUCNN). The  Center’s Units for NanoCharacterizaton and NanoFabrication provide hi-tech nanotechnological services and facilities to researchers from across the University faculties, other universities and industry. (
  • The Computerized Archaeology Laboratory at the Institute of Archaeology harnesses techniques and ideas from computer science (e.g., computer graphics, machine learning) while integrating them into archaeological research methodologies. The laboratory operates optical scanners which provide three dimensional (3D) digital models that are then analyzed with the computer programs developed in our laboratory (
  • The Center for Genomic Technologies serves as a National Research and Service Laboratory dedicated to the several approaches for detecting DNA variations. It provides DNA analysis services to all academic, medical and biotechnological communities in Israel, in the fields of diagnostics, agriculture, genetic diseases, drug development and gene therapy, on a cost-recovery basis (
Number of permanent exhibitions 
List of permanent exhibitions  
Preserving the story of Nature
Research Field 
Systematics and evolution
Research Field 
Conservation genetics
Research Field 
Palaeontology along the hominin dispersal route
Scientific publications
Number of peer-reviewed publications per year 
Other publications 

"Haasiana" - The Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Natural History Collections Newsletter is named after the late Professor Georg Haas, one of the founders of zoological research in Israel and especially at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. Each Haasiana publication (ISSN 0793-5862) presents detailed information on a selected collection and a short account of the activities and publications of each of the other collections. We aspire to publish the newsletter biannually. The first Haasiana was published in 1995 and the last newsletter was published in 2012. Before Haasiana, there were sporadic newsletters on the activities in the collections that were published in 1975, 1977, 1979 and 1985. The Haasiana and previous Newsletters are available in pdf form


EARTH SCIENCES (Geology, Mineralogy, Palaeontology,…) 
TypologyPrimary typesIndividual specimens/objects% registered cards % recorded cards in DB
LIFE SCIENCES (Zoology, Biology, Botany, Mycology,…) 
TypologyPrimary typesIndividual specimens/objects% registered cards % recorded cards in DB
Total specimens (all collections) 
Outstanding collection features 

The southern Levant, a continental corridor between Europe, Africa and Asia, is a biodiversity hotspot and an ideal natural laboratory for measuring human evolution and historical evolutionary changes influenced by human civilizations on the biota over time. The National Natural History Collections (NNHC HUJI) makes a vital contribution to the study of taxonomy, systematics, invasive species, biological conservation, land management and biotic responses to climate changes and human rapid alteration of the ecosystems in the region during the last 300 years.

Moreover being situated along one of the focal routes "out of Africa" our Palaeo -collections treasure many of the focal localities along the way. The collections, some of which are the most complete existing collections of their kind for the region of the Middle East – now serve as a safe repository and reliable baseline for the biota of Israel in the wake of unprecedented global environment changes that also impact the Mediterranean basin. These changes are indicative of modifications in environmental processes and in the structure and function of ecosystems. Furthermore, due to the geographic position of Israel at the meeting point of several biogeographic and climatic regions, the biodiversity of Israel has the potential to serve as a sensitive indicator for large-scale regional and global changes.

The National Natural History Collections at the Hebrew University, some of which are the most complete existing collections of their kind for the region of the Middle East – now serve as a safe repository and reliable baseline for the biota of Israel in the wake of unprecedented global environment changes that also impact the Mediterranean basin. These changes are indicative of modifications in environmental processes and in the structure and function of ecosystems. Furthermore, due to the geographic position of Israel at the meeting point of several biogeographicand climatic regions, the biodiversity of Israel has the potential to serve as a sensitive indicator for large-scale regional and global changes.

All biological and geological collections are national assets. They present us with markers and milestones for exploring the continuity of evolutionary biological change and diversity of the biome. Our collections, assembled over a period of more than a hundred years, are particularly suitable for monitoring such changes. The collection serves for research, academic teaching, and assistance to other institutes, public education, and community outreach.

For example, the Herbarium of the Hebrew University (HUJ) has a comprehensive collection of both phanerogamous and cryptogamous plants of the Middle East, including Israel and its neighbors, areas which have been poorly represented in international herbaria. Over 1,000,000 vascular specimens represent 100 years of intense and comprehensive collection of the Middle-East Flora. Moreover, the HUJ Herbarium has a unique and comprehensive collection of mosses and liverworts, fungi, marine algae, plant-derived drugs, and rare, hand-painted botanical illustrations. It is a key infrastructure of European interest since it represents in a very comprehensive way the southeastern margins of the European Flora. The Herbarium is a well-established institution with facilities including professional workspace and optical devices. As evidence to this, over 25 articles citing HUJ material were published during the period of 2016-7, mainly by European colleagues. 

The collections of the Marine invertebrates, containing a wealth of regional documentation from the 1920’s, have been gradually enriched with new regional material: from the Israel South Red Sea Expeditions of 1962 and 1965, from scientific sampling cruises in the Eastern Mediterranean and its islands and since 1967 from the Sinai Peninsula, the Suez Canal, and from Mount Hermon. It holds key samples documenting the biotic interchange between the Red Sea (tropical Indo-Pacific) and the Mediterranean Sea (temperate Atlantic) following the opening of the Suez Canal. 

These collections also contain rare samples of the fauna of Levantine inland fresh-water bodies that are either gone or inaccessible in the region, following urbanization, aridification and warfare. The collections curate specimens from the Hula Lake before it was drained and from numerous temporary pools and springs that no longer exist, which represent a unique and under-studied fauna.

During the years, the study of the Lessepsian migration continued to be based on macro-algae, fishes, mollusks, Polychaeta and decapod crustaceans, and an additional small diversity of occasionally reported invertebrates belonging to other macrobenthic taxa. The systematically-collected meiobenthos material of our collection contains information about the still unknown number of meiobenthic Lessepsian migrants. 

The Mollusc Collection, established in 1932 by Prof. G. Haas, holds a vast collection of Middle Eastern molluscs from all three habitats: marine (the Red and Mediterranean Seas), freshwater and terrestrial (from Turkey in the north to Egypt in the south, including Cyprus). The collection serves as an important database for tracking the Lessepsian Migration of molluscs, species migrating from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea along the Israeli shores and changing the Mediterranean fauna. The mollusc collection is the largest in the Middle East and it is continuously expanding. In addition to local species, the collection also contains material from around the world. These specimens were mainly acquired by donations of entire collections, including the malacological libraries, of G.S. Coen (Venice, Italy), R. Neuville (Jerusalem/Paris, France) and A. Blok (Rottingdean, England). At present the collection houses some 1,000,000 specimens coming from 100,000 samples that represent 20,000 species. Among the specimens ca. 3,000 are type specimens. Most samples consist of shells only, but the collection also contains specimens preserved in alcohol. The collection also includes a library of 1,100 books, 320 volumes of periodicals and 20,000 reprints.

The Terrestrial invertebrate collections include the national arachnid collection that is the most comprehensive arachnid collection in the Middle-East, and a precious resource for arachnologist worldwide, as well as historical parasitological collections and other arthropod collections: animal parasites such as flat worms, round warms, nematodes and ticks, as well as historical collection of agricultural important pest and predatory mites, and arachnid collection representing all arachnid orders found in the region (Amblypygi, Araneae, Opilioacariformes, Opiliones, Palpigradi, Pseudoscorpiones, Scorpiones, Solifugae) with ~ 300 types. Our speleological collections come from dry and wet caves of all climatic zones of the region, as well as from rare underground water systems with unique fauna, including the scorpion Akrav israchanani – a sole representative of a newly described family – and other subterranean arthropods. 

The  Israeli National Arachnid Collection supports both basic and applied research. The basic research includes taxonomical (including descriptions of species new to science) and phylogenetic study of the arachnid orders found in the region: Acari (mites and ticks), Amblypygi, Araneae) more than 50 families, but especially: Agelenidae, Linyphiidae, Lycosidae, Pholcidae, Theridiidae), Opiliones, Pseudoscorpiones, Scorpiones and Solifugae.The applied research includes monitoring of the arachnid diversity in agroecosystems and in nature reserves, and anthropogenic effects on the local fauna, i.e: monitoring biodiversity in the Avrona nature reserve: the oil leak and its effects on Arachnids; Development of an area-wide management system for effective pest control in sustainable agriculture; Monitoring arachnids in caves - New species and new records to Israel. In addition, the collection staff provides identification services for The Israel Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, The Israel Ministry of Environmental Protection, The Israel Ministry of Health, The Israel Nature Protection Authorities, researchers in universities and Customs offices, 

The Amphibians and Reptiles Collection comprises just over 23,000 catalogued specimens of amphibians and reptiles from all over the world. Most specimens are from Israel and Sinai, collected with an effort to record geographical distribution and variation. The collection is considered the most extensive regional record of Middle Eastern taxa. It is the world’s only collection containing all the taxa extant in Israel.  The better part of the inventory (ca. 85%) is stored (usually following initial preservation in formalin) in ethanol; the remainder consists of stuffed or dry specimens, i.e. skeletons and skins. Since 1994, tissue samples from fresh specimens have been preserved separately for future DNA analysis (several hundred samples). 

The Bird collection of the Hebrew University was founded by Prof. Israel Aharoni (1882 – 1946), who was one of the first researchers of the Hebrew University and who was actively involved in bird collection throughout the Middle East during the first half of the 20th century. The collection is unique in consisting of rare bird species of the Middle East, including species that are now extinct from the area and sub-species that are globally extinct. The collection harbors about 2,000 specimens that were collected primarily during two periods: 1) the beginning of the 20th century, and 2) the end of the 1960’s and the begining of the 1970’s. 

The Hebrew University has the oldest and the most comprehensive Fish collection in the Eastern Mediterranean. It has the largest inventory of fish specimens of the Red Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean, as well local freshwater ichthyofauna. The Red Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean are of great importance to ichthyological research. The Red Sea was the first tropical region whose ichthyology was studied; many species were first described for science. The Eastern Mediterranean has become the center of scientific attention due to the colonization of Red Sea species which has substantially altered the marine environment and the biodiversity of the Levant.

The Archaeozoological collections comprise hundreds of sites representing the history of the fauna from the Pliocene to the Holocene of Israel, where major events in the history of human took place, from hunting, gathering, fishing, to domestication and husbandry. The collections are open to students and researchers from all over the world (more than 15 visitors per year) and are the basis for numerous scientific publications, doctoral and master theses. New sites are constantly being explored, while new excavations throughout Israel are taking place and their bone material is being analyzed and added to the collections.

The recent Vertebrates Comparative collection (ca. 10,000 specimens) represents the local fauna of Israel and adjacent regions. It includes specimens of all taxa collected during the past 60 years. This collection represents populations from various regions of the country. Prof. Israel Aharoni started the collection at the beginning of the 20th century, and was in turn followed by researchers and students who collected animals for science and teaching.

Rare species, extinct species, and endangered species, including type specimens, are present in the collection. From the early years, the policy of the curators was to preserve a complete skeleton, thus most specimens represent complete animals. Each specimen has a number that appears on every skeletal element. Rodents (ca. 200) are preserved as stuffed specimens as well as skeletal elements.

The Palaeontology collections hold an impressive body of information on the fossil record of the eastern Mediterranean, its biogeographic origin, its evolution and implicitly, all the available information about the ancient climatic conditions of the area. The collection was started in the late 1920’s by Y.L. Picard, founder of the Department of Geology, Y. Bentor and M. Avnimelech, who collected fossils in Israel and abroad including from “type-localities’. The collection also includes material collected since the end of the 19th century from different sites in the Middle East by Blanckenhorn, Conard and others. Prof. Paul Oppenheim from Berlin donated his collection of specimens from all over Europe in the 1930’s.

The collection contains fossils of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals from all over Israel and adjacent countries, representing the entire record of the area. It was founded by Prof. G. Haas and was later expanded by Prof. E. Tchernov. Fossil material from geological localities has been collected for more than fifty years. Sites with bone bearing beds have been excavated and studied with world specialists. For example, the Maktesh Ramon Negev desert site, dating from the Triassic period, yielded thousands of remains of marine and terrestrial vetebrates.

The Bio-anthropology collection held by the Hebrew University provides a unique insight into past human populations of the Southern Levant, spanning all major phases in the evolution of modern human society. The collection comprises one of the most extensive and well documented regional records in the Near East and provides a rich resource for research in human evolution and diversity that is utilized by local and visiting scholars and students. Areas of research on the collections include evolutionary biology, genetics, biomechanics, growth and development, nutrition and disease, functional anatomy, forensic anthropology and dental anthropology. Much of the research carried out is inter-disciplinary, involving specialists in fields such as anthropology, archaeology, genetics, evolutionary biology and dentistry in the quest to better understand the long-term effects of changing environments and cultures on human biology.

The Wildlife Cryobank, wildlife tissue, blood, feathers and DNA, collection consists of over 15,000 specimens representing the fauna (mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians and fish) of Israel. For most species, a voucher specimen together with additional samples is curated. The samples are cataloged into a database that includes available information on the origin (specific geographical location), sex, age etc. of the specimen and any genetic information obtained. The collection was established by Prof. Kahila Bar-Gal with the support of the Israel Nature and Park Authority (INPA) and the Hebrew University. 

Molecular genetics species identification and population characterization is based on comparison of genetic (DNA sequencing and genotyping of mitochondrial and nuclear markers) and genomic data. The advantage of using the DNA for identification is that it can be extracted from highly processed and degraded products, as it is an extremely stable and long-lived biological molecule. The mitochondrial genes were found to be very useful in species identification. Species identification using molecular techniques contributes to the taxonomy research especially where traditional methods have failed to obtain a definite identification, for example in cases of a partial skeleton, immature stages and unrecognized species. 


Does your institution have an Index Seminum? 
Heritage sciences (art, manuscripts, maps, photographs...) 

Heritage Collections of The National Natural History Collection of HUJI 

Every collection hosts an extensive and diverse heritage science collection as books, reprints and other heritage items. We also have a communal library where periodicals and books are catalouged.

The Mollusc Collection

Books dealing with shells from 1680 onwards, among others Lister, Gualterius, Rumphius, d'Argenville, the first 12 volumes of Martibi & Chemnitz, Perry, Kiener, Quoy & Gaimard, Reeve, the Sowerby's, most of them with hand-coloured illustrations (ca. 1500 items). Malacological reprint library: 20,000 items. Malacological journals: 350 volumes. Some original pattern plates Sowerby's (Thesaurus Conchyliorum, middle 19th Century) Collection of original specimen labels with the original handwriting of collectors in the 18th Century.

The Herbarium

The Heritage Science Collection contains original botanical illustrations by Ruth Kopel, used for the creation of the Flora Palaestina and by Bracha Avigad, one of the first botanic illustrators in Israel. There is a map collection, comprised of topographic maps, nautical charts, historical maps and plant distribution maps. The herbarium archive contains correspondence and  personal notes of the collection founders, researchers accociated to the department of botany at the Hebrew University, among whom the founder of the Herbarium, Alexander Eig, as well as photographs of collection mission to various locations in the middle east. Consecutive issues of various botanical periodicals are maintained at the herbarium in hard copy form until the year 2001. Since 2001 all periodicals can be found electronically via the University's library. The herbarium library consists of 5000 titles, mainly of botany research books. A thousand books in the library are rare books. The books appear in the university's library catalog and can be used by the public. 

Herpetological collections 

  • Library books –Herpetological books, Zoology books (other taxa), other books (sciences) ca. 400. 
  • Library – reprints, Herpetological reprint articles and other reprint articles - >2000 items 
  • Library – periodicals, Herpetological periodicals and other periodicals - >500 items, 
  • Archive – photographs - Negatives (B&W, color), diapositives (B&W, color), >1500 items 
  • Archive – notebooks and field notes - Prof. G. Haas estate; Prof. H. Mendelssohn estate; Mr. J.H. Hoofien estate. 
  • Archive –  maps -  Local (Israel) modern maps, Local (Israel) historical maps, various regional (Mid East) maps - >200 items.

The Marine Invetebrates and the Terrestrial Arthropod collection

Archive and library of distinctive former researchers: Prof. Dov Por, Dr. Nechama Ben Eliyahu, Dr. Gershom Levy, Prof. Gideon Georg Witenberg, Prof. Michael Costa (Acari collection). Original drawings from taxonomic publications.

The Palaeontology Collection

Archive and library of distinctive former researchers: Prof. G. Haas and Prof. E. Tchernov. Books and periodicals (ca. 1000).

Size and importance of living collections

The Botanical Garden for Israeli Flora, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mount Scopus was founded in 1931 by Professor Otto Verburg, founder of the Hebrew University Department of Botany, and Dr. Alexander Eig, a leading researcher in the fields of botany and phytogeography in Israel. The university-based botanical garden, the first of its kind in Israel, is recognized under the Botanical Gardens Law of 2006. The Garden covers over 25 dunams (6 acres) and houses more than 950 plant species, representing over 40% of the wild plant species of Israel. The Botanical Garden is unique as an ecological conservatory for a diverse collection of plant groups, preserving authentic Israeli species within their natural habitats from around the country. This includes, for example, Mediterranean scrub, desert grasslands, Negev mountain ranges, coastal sand dunes, bodies of water and traditional orchards, preserving their natural appearance in accordance with the changing seasons.

Genetic Repositories
Does your institution have a DNA bank? 
Number of DNA samples 
20 000
DNA or seed sample exchange 

We do not have a policy of exchange DNA samples. But we provide and get samples based on research interest and collaborative projects. 

Number of outgoing loans (parcels / specimens) per year 
Number of accessions (specimens) per year 
Number of scientific visitors per year 
Systematics and evolution of Cruciferae
Floristics of Israel and Jordan
Arachnid systematics and taxonomy, comparative morphology, phylogeny; Myriapoda, Chilopoda, Diplopoda, Arachnida, Araneae, Scorpiones, Pseudoscorpiones, Opiliones, Solifugae, Acari, Amblypygi, Palpigradi
Mollusc of Israel and neighbouring areas.
Reptiles and amphibians of Israel and neighbouring areas.
Fish of Israel and neighbouring areas
Vertebrate palaeontology of Mio-Holocene of the southern Levant
Conservation genetics of endangered species
Main activities of communication and outreach 
Contact person at your institution for communications / press / external relations (name, position, phone, e-mail) 

Dr. Eshel Ophir,; cell. +972-548820146

Last year:  
Trends (past and future) 

The number of visitors is increasing yearly. The recent opening of an exhibition room and related outreach efforts will lead to more visitors.

We have a "Thursday Sorting" once a month, ~30 participants per event. This is a regular activity where several collections are open to the visitors (Public Education and Citizen-Science project, see below).

"Open Day" is a yearly event when all collections are accessible and guided to the public. Our last event had over 400 participants (see attached "Open Day Poster" in Hebrew).

“European Scientists Night" is a yearly public event when the curators are involved in lecturing and guiding tours in the collections.

"Open house Jerusalem", October 2017, is a yearly event when all collections are accessible and guided to the public ( This has enhanced in the public interest in our collections.

Website visitors
Last year  
106 000
Institution news
If your institution is involved with non-university-based teaching or education programmes, please describe them & the partners 

We were part of a High School Biology studies program led by Prof. Jeff Camhi.

If your institution is involved in online courses, please describe them and the partners 


If your institution is involved in training projects, please describe them and the partners 

Public Education and Citizen-Science project:

  • 2014-present Thursday Sorting, HUJ, Israel (monthly activities at the National Arachnid Collection and other collections of the NNHC, open to the public; 15-80 participants per event).
  • Training of INPA (Israel Nature & Parks Authority) rangers and staffers in identification of reptiles & amphibians (planned project, work in progress). 
  • Training of SPNI (Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel) guides and workers in identification of reptiles & amphibians (planned project, work in progress).

Courses that use the collections (

  • The Zoogeography of Vertebrates in Israel  (Prof. Gila  Kahila Bar-Gal).  Students participating in the courses listed below visited the collections for a full day (over 6 hours) of lectures and scientific explanation during the visit to each collection.
  • New Technologies in research and conservation of cultural heritage in Israel (Prof. Gila Kahila Bar-Gal).
  • Plant and animal domestication (Prof. Gila Kahila Bar-Gal). 
  • Genomic diversity and ancient DNA in populations evolution (Prof. Gila Kahila Bar-Gal). 
  • Vegetation and Flora of Israel (HUJI) – Dr. Ori Fragman-Sapir.
  • Vegetation Ecology and Ornithology of Israel (Tübingen University, Germany) - Prof. Katja Tielbörger.
  • Phytogeography and Ecology of Vegetation in Israel (HUJI) – Prof. Jaime Kigel.
  • An Introduction to Organismic Biology (Prof. A. Chipman). A first year undergraduate course for Biology students. The course includes a lab section which makes extensive use of the invertebrate teaching collection.
  • Evolution of the Animal Kingdom (Prof. A. Chipman). An advanced graduate level course (open to final year undergraduates). The students in the course study fossils from the paleontological collection (both teaching collections and research collections) and prepare written projects on them.
  • Introduction to Paleontology (Prof. R. Rabinovich), an undergraduate course to Geology students. The course includes lab sections which makes extensive use of the invertebrate and vertebrate teaching collection.
  • Introduction to Archaeozoology (Prof. R. Rabinovich), an undergraduate course to Archaeology students. The course includes lab sections which makes extensive use of the invertebrate and vertebrate teaching collection.
  • Microscopic taphonomy (Prof. R. Rabinovich) and undergraduate and graduate advanced course for Archaeology students. The course includes lab sections which makes extensive use of the taphonomy comparative collections.
  • Ongoing guided tours to the collections as part of university courses such as: ATGAR class (HUJI), Introduction to Paleontology (Ben-Gurion University), ESHMOR course (Ben-Gurion University)

Courses using the Arachnid Collection

  • 2012,  Spiders of Israel: Taxonomy and functional morphology, HUJ, Israel (5 days ITI supported course; Instructor: Dr. Robert Raven, Queensland Museum, Australia)  (coorganizer Dr. Efrat Gavish-Regev, Dr. Ariel Chipman, HUJ; Prof. Yael Lubin, BGU). 
  • 2013,  Systematics and Diversity of Scorpions, with Introduction to the Israeli Fauna,
  • 2017,  Israel Taxonomy Initiative (ITI) Course, Harvestmen (Arachnida, Opiliones) of Israel: Taxonomy, morphology, and biogeography Instructor: Taxonomy, morphology, and biogeography, HUJ, Israel (5 days; Instructor: Prof. Prashant P. Sharma, University of Wisconsin Madison, Madison, WI, USA) (co-organizer Dr. Efrat Gavish-Regev,  Prof. Ariel Chipman, HUJ; Prof. Yael Lubin, BGU).

Scientific Meetings

Guided tours to the collections for participants of international meetings, for example reappraisal of Hominin Group Size in the Lower Paleolithic –Israel Institute for Advanced Studies Conference (International) (2017)

Other relevant information on education and / or training carried out 

Educational activities 

Supervising high school biology student thesis The Wildlife Cryobank was involved in supervising high school biology student thesis. Two theses were on genetic characterization of genes associated to performance among goats. The third thesis started the establishment of an Israeli Avian genetic database.

Guided tours 

Guided tours for teachers and teaching trainees, from various institutions; for nature guides (from the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel); for school children from various institutions and age groups (elementary, middle and high school); for groups of children and youth from extracurricular framework (for instance, from the Jerusalem Bird Observatory (Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel). 

Contact person at your institution for education / teaching / training (name, position, phone, e-mail) 

Dr. Eshel Ophir,; cell. +972-548820146

2006-Today: Director of the Belmonte Science Laboratory Center, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel. This academic position includes the management of both administrative and academic staff and the design of highly advanced science programs for high school students.


Taxonomy and Systematics of flora and fauna at the focal location of Israel and adjacent areas.

DNA barcoding of current fauna of Israel and adjacent areas.

Conservation of biological material


Incorporating novel methods in morphological comparison and species identification on a large and friendly basis. 

Study the co-evolution of host-pathogen in response to environmental changes Investigation of genomic mechanisms associated with animal-breed development – identification of genetic markers associated with performance and health

Enhancing the complete genome barcoding of both flora and fauna species and following their evolutionary changes.

Digitizing the collections


We have been granted access to VI-SEEM services (IUCC Infinity Cloud; VI-SEEM Archival service; VI-SEEM Data Analysis service). VI-SEEM (co-funded by the European Commission under the H2020 Research Infrastructures contract no. 675121) is a three-year project that aims at creating a unique Virtual Research Environment (VRE) in Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean (SEEM), in order to facilitate regional interdisciplinary collaboration, with special focus on the scientific communities of Life Sciences, Climatology and Digital Cultural Heritage

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