Welcome to The Natural History Museum repository

The Natural History Museum is an international leader in the study of the natural world. Our science describes the diversity of nature, promotes an understanding of its past, and supports the anticipation and management of the impact of human activity on the environment.

The Museum's repository provides free access to publications produced by more than 300 scientists working here. Researchers at the Museum study a diverse range of issues, including threats to Earth's biodiversity, the maintenance of delicate ecosystems, environmental pollution and disease. The accessible repository showcases this broad research output.

The repository was launched in 2016 with an initially modest number of journal publications in its database. It now includes book chapters and blogs from Museum scientists.

Select a community to browse its collections.

  • The conundrum of an overlooked skeleton referable to Imperial Woodpecker Campephilus imperialis in the collection of the Natural History Museum at Tring

    Prys-Jones, Robert; Manegold, Albrecht; White, Judith (British Ornithologists' Club, 2021-03-09)
    The discovery of an overlooked skeleton of Imperial Woodpecker Campephilus imperialis in the bird collection of the Natural History Museum at Tring (NHMUK) is documented, one of very few known to exist worldwide of this almost certainly extinct species. We present evidence that, on balance of probabilities, it is one of two collected by Alphonse Forrer in 1882 near the settlement of La Ciudad in the Sierra Madre Occidental, Durango, western Mexico; the whereabouts of the other, which did not come to NHMUK, appears currently unknown. During research into the NHMUK specimen, we demonstrated that the supposed Imperial Woodpecker skull held in the collection of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, must in fact be that of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker C. principalis.
  • Step by step towards citizen science — deconstructing youth participation in BioBlitzes

    Lorke, Julia; Ballard, Heidi L; Miller, Annie E; Swanson, Rebecca D; Pratt-Taweh, Sasha; Jennewein, Jessie N; Higgins, Lila; Johnson, Rebecca F; Young, Alison N; Ghadiri Khanaposhtani, Maryam; et al. (Sissa Medialab Srl, 2021-06-14)
    BioBlitzes, typically one-day citizen science (CS) events, provide opportunities for the public to participate in data collection for research and conservation, potentially promoting deeper engagement with science. We observed 81 youth at 15 BioBlitzes in the U.S. and U.K., identifying five steps participants use to create a biological record (Exploring, Observing, Identifying, Documenting and Recording). We found 67 youth engaged in at least one of the steps, but seldom in all, with rare participation in Recording which is crucial for contributing data to CS. These findings suggest BioBlitzes should reduce barriers to Recording for youth to increase engagement with science.
  • The early death of Colonel Robert C. Tytler and the afterlife of his collection

    Prys-Jones, Robert; Harding, Alison C; Rooke, Kathryn (British Ornithologists' Club, 2021-06-15)
    A letter by Allan Octavian Hume and three by Bertram Bevan-Petman, all written between 1904 and 1911 to Ernst Hartert, bird curator of Rothschild’s Tring Museum, are present in the Rothschild Tring archive, now held by the Natural History Museum. These shed light on both the probable cause of the early death in 1872 of Colonel Robert C. Tytler, British army officer and naturalist in colonial India, and on the somewhat convoluted fate of his collection subsequently.
  • Hydrothermal activity on the CV parent body: New perspectives from the giant Transantarctic Mountains minimeteorite TAM 5.29

    Nava, J; Suttle, Martin; Spiess, R; Folco, L; Najorka, J; Carli, C; Massironi, M (Wiley, 2020-01)
    Abstract TAM5.29 is an extraterrestrial dust grain, collected on the Transantarctic Mountains (TAM). Its mineralogy is dominated by an Fe-rich matrix composed of platy fayalitic olivines and clasts of andradite surrounded by diopside-jarosite mantles; chondrules are absent. TAM5.29 records a complex geological history with evidence of extensive thermal metamorphism in the presence of fluids at T < 300 °C. Alteration was terminated by an impact, resulting in shock melt veins and compaction-orientated foliation of olivine. A second episode of alteration at lower temperatures (<100 °C) occurred postimpact and is either parent body or terrestrial in origin and resulted in the formation of iddingsite. The lack of chondrules is explained by random subsampling of the parent body, with TAM5.29 representing a matrix-only fragment. On the basis of bulk chemical composition, mineralogy, and geological history TAM5.29 demonstrates affinities to the CVox group with a mineralogical assemblage in between the Allende-like and Bali-like subgroups (CVoxA and TAM5.29 are rich in andradite, magnetite, and FeNiS, but CVoxA lacks hydrated minerals, common in TAM5.29; conversely, CVoxB are rich in hydrated phyllosilicates but contain almost pure fayalite, not found in TAM5.29). In addition, TAM5.29 has a slightly different metasomatic history, in between the oxidized and reduced CV metamorphic grades while also recording higher oxidizing conditions as compared to the known CV chondrites. This study represents the third CV-like cosmic dust particle, containing a unique composition, mineralogy, and fabric, demonstrating variation in the thermal metamorphic history of the CV parent body(-ies).
  • Improved standardization of transcribed digital specimen data

    Groom, Quentin; Dillen, Mathias; Hardy, Helen; Phillips, Sarah; Willemse, Luc; Wu, Zhengzhe (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2019-01-01)
    There are more than 1.2 billion biological specimens in the world’s museums and herbaria. These objects are particularly important forms of biological sample and observation. They underpin biological taxonomy but the data they contain have many other uses in the biological and environmental sciences. Nevertheless, from their conception they are almost entirely documented on paper, either as labels attached to the specimens or in catalogues linked with catalogue numbers. In order to make the best use of these data and to improve the findability of these specimens, these data must be transcribed digitally and made to conform to standards, so that these data are also interoperable and reusable. Through various digitization projects, the authors have experimented with transcription by volunteers, expert technicians, scientists, commercial transcription services and automated systems. We have also been consumers of specimen data for taxonomical, biogeographical and ecological research. In this paper, we draw from our experiences to make specific recommendations to improve transcription data. The paper is split into two sections. We first address issues related to database implementation with relevance to data transcription, namely versioning, annotation, unknown and incomplete data and issues related to language. We then focus on particular data types that are relevant to biological collection specimens, namely nomenclature, dates, geography, collector numbers and uniquely identifying people. We make recommendations to standards organizations, software developers, data scientists and transcribers to improve these data with the specific aim of improving interoperability between collection datasets.

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