NCB Naturalis

Research

The Netherlands has a rich scientific tradition in the field of biodiversity. The creation of Naturalis Biodiversity Center provides a new impulse for this tradition.

National centre of expertise

Why do we study biodiversity? Biodiversity is not only affected by climate change, but also by human action. And that exceptional, exotic organism may later turn out to be an essential ingredient in a new type of medication. It is becoming increasingly clear which species are under threat of extinction and which migrations of organisms could damage biodiversity.

The launching of Naturalis Biodiversity Center creates a single national centre of expertise for pooling knowledge on the variety of species and evolution. Taxonomy – the science of identifying relationships – is an important part of our activities. Describing, classifying, and naming the organisms in our collections is an essential prerequisite for sound scientific research into biodiversity.

In addition to taxonomic studies we also focus on four new themes:

  • Morphology and Evolutionary Developmental Biology (‘Evo-devo’)
  • Phylogenetics and Horizontal Genomics
  • Biogeography
  • Global Change Biology.

We perform our research in an academic working group, and our researchers also teach at our partner universities.

Hidden treasures

Naturalis Biodiversity Center is a modern natural history museum, with a unique collection of huge scientific and cultural value. It provides a key for scientists and the general public to open the door to the rich biodiversity of the Netherlands.

We can now unlock the hidden treasures in our collections better and faster thanks to new techniques such as DNA barcoding that allows us to use tiny pieces of genetic material to characterise and name organisms.

Our collections, comprising some 37 million objects, are part of an international network of biodiversity research and knowledge institutes.

Government funding* means we can establish a state-of-the-art laboratory for collection-related research and so greatly improve the Netherlands’ position in this international network.

* A grant of 30 million euros from the Economic Structure Enhancement Fund.


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