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  1. The roles of natural history collections in exploring biodiversity. (CETAF)

Organised by: CETAF

Coordinator: Brecht Verstraete (

Description: Taxonomy encompasses the description, documentation and classification of the natural world, an activity that is central to our efforts to reconstruct the Tree of Life and understand the evolutionary relations of biodiversity on Earth. Taxonomic research is undertaken at different hierarchical levels and across the whole spectrum of life, from bacteria, fungi and plants to animals. Taxonomy is the scientific pillar that supports a variety of other disciplines. Fundamental to taxonomic research are our natural history collections. It is impossible to explore and understand biodiversity, now and in the future, without scientific collections. Although natural history collections were previously used mainly to describe species, their scientific value stretches far beyond this. They are the basis cutting-edge research into present-day societal challenges. Scientific collections are being used in next-generation phylogenomics or large-scale biogeographic and speciation studies investigating the origin and evolution of biomes. More applied uses of collections include the phylogenetic exploration of living organisms to derive natural products to respond to human medical or nutritional needs, the study of human and veterinary epidemiology using information sourced from collections or the modelling the spread of alien invasive organisms in our changing world. Collections are also an excellent source of data for trait-based research into the responses of living organisms to climate change, for example, the effects of increasing temperature on carbon cycling in plants. The goal of this symposium is to explore the possibilities of collection-based research for studying present-day and future questions about life on Earth.


Invited talks include:


Erik Smets (Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, Netherlands): CETAF: building a future for taxonomy together


Nina Rønsted (Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.): Using collections to address medical needs of tomorrow.


Hugo de Boer (Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway): Molecular identification and monitoring of terrestrial orchid tubers in trade: amplicon metabarcoding of salep and chikanda.


Barbara Gravendeel (Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, Netherlands): The added value of ‘museomes’: genomes preserved in musea.


Patrik Mraz (Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic): Herbarium collections as a tool for tracking the spread dynamics of diploid versus tetraploid Centaurea stoebe s.l. in its native and introduced range.



Alexandre Antonelli (University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden): Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre: integrating scientists, collections, citizens, and cutting-edge methods to advance biodiversity research.


Alice Cibois (Natural History Museum of Geneva, Switzerland.): Gone but not forgotten: the importance of museum specimens in the study of insular biogeography in birds


Gianna Innocenti (Natural History Museum, Florence University, Italy): Researches on biodiversity at the Natural History Museum, Florence University.


Richard Kelly (University of Bristol, United Kingdom): Exploring diversity change in ancient insects using historical fossil collections and accurate taxonomy.


Invited posters include:


Jean Mariaux (Museum of Natural History of Geneva, Switzerland): Natural History Collections as last resort field trips?


All slots for this symposium have been filled and abstract submission for this symposium is now closed.

Conference Centre Wallenberg, Medicinaregatan 20a, Göteborg

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