The range of collections held in the CETAF taxonomic facilities represent a unique and important source of information on global biodiversity.
Collections come in the form of specimens (geological items, dried plants and fungi, or preserved animals) that have been collected from nature across the globe and at different times, by both explorers and scientists.
Many areas of biological research are strongly dependent on global taxonomic facilities for their collections and for the taxonomic expertise that they support. The taxonomic facilities that hold, curate and preserve this rich heritage of biological collections must thus meet the objectives of numerous user communities.
The importance of taxonomy, especially the collections on which this science is based and the facilities that support taxonomic research, for the understanding and documenting of biodiversity on Earth is paramount. The taxonomic infrastructure that is created by taxonomists forms the foundation for many other disciplines and plays a key role in such issues as sustainable development or climate change and climate change modelling.
Earth sciences encompass the disciplines that focus on studying the evolution and composition of planet Earth, and are thus generally understood to comprise subjects that are related to geology.
The science of geology involves the study of the Earth and its various components, its structure and the dynamic processes that have shaped it, as well as the reconstruction of the history of its formation. Collections in this field cover mineral and sediment samples, endogenous rocks, exogenous rocks and meteorites. The science of mineralogy incorporates the study of the composition of rocks and the formation of minerals. As part of this, paleontological collections include organisms that have been fossilised over geological timescales and thus permit the study of evolution over immense timescales. Similarly, Anthropological collections let us examine the way that hominids and pre-historic human societies have evolved.
Life sciences focus on the study of living organisms (animals, plants, fungi and microorganisms), their biology, their ecology and their evolutionary histories.
Natural history collections in CETAF member institutions focus on zoological, botanical or mycological specimens. Botanical collections are kept in herbaria as well as within Botanical Gardens as living collections. In some cases, and for research purposes living collections on zoology and mycology are also available both for scientists and the general public. Some of our members hold microbiological collections as well as collections of tissue, seed or genetic sequence samples. To find out more about the Gene and Seed banks held by CETAF members please visit the page dedicated to Genetic Repositories.
Heritage science collections are formed by all the related documents that give testimony to the history of natural sciences. These include books, periodicals and articles kept at our Members’ libraries as well as maps, art works, photographs, manuscripts, and travel diaries that may be held in the archives of libraries.
Search CETAF members’ collections
You can use our search engine to browse our member institutions by their type or size of specific collections.
There, you can also search more information about CETAF members and their biodiversity research with information available on laboratories, genetic repositories or galleries.