Digitising British Bumblebees |Digital Collections Programme

Bombus hortorum also known as the garden bumblebee displays a wide range of colour forms.

A bumblebee is any one of over 250 species in the Bombus genus, whose name derives from the Latin for a buzzing or humming sound. We have been digitising the Museum’s collection of British Bumblebees in order to release a new resource to those researching and working with Bees globally.  Continue reading “Digitising British Bumblebees |Digital Collections Programme”

Digitisation of unlikely pioneer’s collection answers key questions in evolution and helps train future scientists | Digital Collections Programme

Henry Buckley (1939-2002) is a relatively unknown pioneer in the world of Foraminifera. Buckley was discouraged from publicising his collection, up until recently this collection wasn’t well known in the micropalaeontological community but all that is changing.

The Buckley collection has been digitised and today is helping Museum PhD students to answer questions on evolution. Yale University also plan to use this collection to train new generations of scientists to identify modern planktonic foraminifera and to help develop automatic recognition software in the future.

Continue reading “Digitisation of unlikely pioneer’s collection answers key questions in evolution and helps train future scientists | Digital Collections Programme”

A swarm of Madagascan moths to join our online collection| Digital Collections Programme

The Madagascan digitisation team, alongside the 5,700+ specimens digitised during this project.
The Madagascan digitisation team, From left to right: Phaedra Kokkini, David Lees, Alessandro Giusti, Alberto Zilli Geoff Martin, Peter Wing and Louise Allan.

We have finished imaging more than 5,700 Madagascan butterfly and moth (Lepidoptera) type specimens in the Museum’s collection. Continue reading “A swarm of Madagascan moths to join our online collection| Digital Collections Programme”

4 million digital specimens and counting | Digital Collections Programme

This image of Carl Linnaeus has been created from Museum specimens rather than pixels.

The Museum’s Data Portal has passed 4 million specimens, representing around 5% of the Museum’s entire collection.

The Data Portal was launched in December 2014. In addition to Museum specimens, the Data Portal also hosts 5.3 million other research records and over 100 datasets from internal and external authors.  The Portal is a platform for researchers to make their research and collections datasets available online for anyone to explore, download and re-use.

Continue reading “4 million digital specimens and counting | Digital Collections Programme”

Uniting Europe’s 1.5 billion specimens | Digital Collection Programme

1) DiSSCO Map
An initiative that unites 21 countries,114 museums and 5000+ Scientists

European Natural Science collections contain around 1.5 billion specimens representing an estimated 55% of global collections and 80% of the worlds bio- and geo-diversity.  Data derived from these collections underpin countless innovations, including tens of thousands of scholarly publications, products critical to our bio-economy, databases, maps and descriptions of scientific observations. Continue reading “Uniting Europe’s 1.5 billion specimens | Digital Collection Programme”

Darwin’s fossil mammals: discoveries that sparked the theory of evolution | Digital Collections Programme

1) book cover
Adrian Lister’s book, Darwin’s fossils: discoveries that shaped the theory of evolution

Guest blog by Adrian Lister

When I first joined the Museum as a fossil mammal researcher in 2007, I received a set of keys that gave me access to much of the museum’s huge collection.  Browsing one day, I opened an unremarkable cupboard and was startled to find six shelves of fossil bones with a sign reading ‘Charles Darwin, Beagle Voyage’.  Continue reading “Darwin’s fossil mammals: discoveries that sparked the theory of evolution | Digital Collections Programme”

Digitising Darwin’s Discoveries | Digital Collections Programme

3D Scanning Darwin's Fossil Mammals
3D laser scanning Darwin’s Fossil Mammals

In 2014, Professor Adrian Lister began research for his book on the fossils collected by Charles Darwin on the Voyage of the Beagle. As part of his research, Professor Lister began to document the complex histories of these specimens from their point of collection to the present day. It soon became clear that the mammalian specimens had not been adequately documented or revised in the 185 years since their initial publication. This has meant that they have not been included in most modern scientific studies. This is despite the fact that the majority of the specimens in this collection are ‘type’ specimens (the reference specimens for that species), essential for scientific study of these species.

Continue reading “Digitising Darwin’s Discoveries | Digital Collections Programme”

What is a Cetacean and why would you scan it? |Digital Collections Programme

Photograph of the skull of Northern bottlenose whale (Hyperoodon ampullatus) being 3D surface scanned.
Using our 3D handheld surface scanners to map the surface of a Northern bottlenose whale (Hyperoodon ampullatus)

‘Cetacea’ is the collective order for all whales, dolphins and porpoises. We have more than 2,500 specimens in the Museum collection, at least 500 from the UK strandings programme. Cetaceans are great indicators of wider ocean health – if there’s a problem lower in the food chain, e.g. plastic pollution, it concentrates in cetaceans. If cetacean populations are healthy, so are our oceans. Continue reading “What is a Cetacean and why would you scan it? |Digital Collections Programme”