National significance of natural history collections in Switzerland

Archives and resources for modern science

Biological and geoscience collections form an important part of our rich scientific heritage and provide the basis for much of what we know today about our planet and how we humans have influenced it. Natural history collections help us to understand our past and present better, thereby providing a basis for predicting the future. They also serve as biobanks for preserving the Earth’s organismic and genomic diversity, and must not only be maintained, but also supplemented so that scientists can continue to document and explore life on Earth. As new investigative techniques emerge, we can discover more from studying such intact and well-preserved collections.

National significance of Natural History Collections in Switzerland
Image: Akademien Schweiz

Switzerland’s natural history collections consisting of approximately 61 million specimens preserved in public museums, botanical gardens, universities and similar institutions constitute a national treasure, containing a wealth of stored information for science and society. Researchers’ access to these collections is often hampered because the determination and digital inventorying of specimens in the collections are incomplete.

This report describes the natural history collections in Switzerland and their value for research, education and the public sector. It also makes recommendations for measures and other steps to be taken to preserve and valorise these collections. Making these collections digitally accessible and developing them further, will greatly benefit Swiss science and society generally.

Edition / Volume: Vol. 14, N°2, 2019
Pages: 36
Standard identifier: DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.1481727

Source: Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences (2019) National significance of natural history collections in Switzerland. Swiss Academies Reports 14 (2).

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