Value of Natural History Collections

We curate a bibliography that illustrate the value of natural history collections, scientifically and culturally. Please help us add to our Bibliography!

Bakker, F. T., Antonelli, A., Clarke, J. A., Cook, J. A., Edwards, S. V., Ericson, P. G. P., Faurby, S., Ferrand, N., Gelang, M., Gillespie, R. G., Irestedt, M., Lundin, K., Larsson, E., Matos-Maraví, P., Müller, J., Proschwitz, T. von, Roderick, G. K., Schliep, A., Wahlberg, N., … Källersjö, M. (2020). The Global Museum: natural history collections and the future of evolutionary science and public education. PeerJ, 8, e8225.
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2020). “Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century” at
Schmitt, C. J., Cook, J. A., Zamudio, K. R., & Edwards, S. V. (2019). Museum specimens of terrestrial vertebrates are sensitive indicators of environmental change in the Anthropocene. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 374(1763), 20170387.
Marshall, C. R., Finnegan, S., Clites, E. C., Holroyd, P. A., Bonuso, N., Cortez, C., Davis, E., Dietl, G. P., Druckenmiller, P. S., Eng, R. C., Garcia, C., Estes-Smargiassi, K., Hendy, A., Hollis, K. A., Little, H., Nesbitt, E. A., Roopnarine, P., Skibinski, L., Vendetti, J., & White, L. D. (2018). Quantifying the dark data in museum fossil collections as palaeontology undergoes a second digital revolution. Biology Letters, 14(9), 20180431.
Drew, J. A., Moreau, C. S., & Stiassny, M. L. J. (2017). Digitization of museum collections holds the potential to enhance researcher diversity. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 1(12), 1789–1790.
Hiller, A. E., Cicero, C., Albe, M. J., Barclay, T. L. W., Spencer, C. L., Koo, M. S., Bowie, R. C. K., & Lacey, E. A. (2017). Mutualism in museums: A model for engaging undergraduates in biodiversity science. PLOS Biology, 15(11), e2003318.
D’Elia, J., Haig, S. M., Mullins, T. D., & Miller, M. P. (2016). Ancient DNA reveals substantial genetic diversity in the California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus) prior to a population bottleneck. The Condor, 118(4), 703–714.
Runte, A. (2016, September 18). “Animal Life As An Asset Of National Parks,” A Path-Breaking Essay.
La Salle, J., Williams, K., & Moritz, C. (2016). Biodiversity analysis in the digital era. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
Rogers, N. (2016). Museum drawers go digital. Science, 352(6287), 762–765.
Holmes, M. W., Hammond, T. T., Wogan, G. O. U., Walsh, R. E., LaBarbera, K., Wommack, E. A., Martins, F. M., Crawford, J. C., Mack, K. L., Bloch, L. M., & Nachman, M. W. (2016). Natural history collections as windows on evolutionary processes. Molecular Ecology, 25(4), 864–881.
Buerki, S., & Baker, W. J. (2016). Collections-based research in the genomic era. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 117(1), 5–10.
Kemp, C. (2015). Museums: The endangered dead. Nature, 518(7539), 292–294.
Cook, J. A., Edwards, S. V., Lacey, E. A., Guralnick, R. P., Soltis, P. S., Soltis, D. E., Welch, C. K., Bell, K. C., Galbreath, K. E., Himes, C., Allen, J. M., Heath, T. A., Carnaval, A. C., Cooper, K. L., Liu, M., Hanken, J., & Ickert-Bond, S. (2014). Natural History Collections as Emerging Resources for Innovative Education. BioScience, 64(8), 725–734.
Collections in the News: In the News: Preserving Collections and their Museums. (2014).
Bi, K., Linderoth, T., Vanderpool, D., Good, J. M., Nielsen, R., & Moritz, C. (2013). Unlocking the vault: next-generation museum population genomics. Molecular Ecology, 22(24), 6018–6032.
Nachman, M. W. (2013). Genomics and museum specimens. Molecular Ecology, 22(24), 5966–5968.
Smith, A. B., Santos, M. J., Koo, M. S., Rowe, K. M. C., Rowe, K. C., Patton, J. L., Perrine, J. D., Beissinger, S. R., & Moritz, C. (2013). Evaluation of species distribution models by resampling of sites surveyed a century ago by Joseph Grinnell. Ecography, no–no.
Fontaine, B., Perrard, A., & Bouchet, P. (2012). 21 years of shelf life between discovery and description of new species. Current Biology, 22(22), R943–R944.
Thomer, A., Vaidya, G., Guralnick, R., Bloom, D., & Russell, L. (2012). From documents to datasets: A MediaWiki-based method of annotating and extracting species observations in century-old field notebooks. ZooKeys, 209(0), 235–253.
Drew, J. (2011). The Role of Natural History Institutions and Bioinformatics in Conservation Biology. Conservation Biology, 25(6), 1250–1252.
Lips, K. R. (2011). Museum collections: Mining the past to manage the future. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(23), 9323–9324.
Baker, B. (2011). New Push to Bring US Biological Collections to the World’s Online Community. BioScience, 61, 657–662.
Johnson, K. G., Brooks, S. J., Fenberg, P. B., Glover, A. G., James, K. E., Lister, A. M., Michel, E., Spencer, M., Todd, J. A., Valsami-Jones, E., Young, J. R., & Stewart, J. R. (2011). Climate Change and Biosphere Response: Unlocking the Collections Vault. BioScience, 61(2), 147–153.
Pearson, D. L., Hamilton, A. L., & Erwin, T. L. (2011). Recovery Plan for the Endangered Taxonomy Profession. BioScience, 61(1), 58–63.
Mason, B. (2011). Beautiful Data: The Art of Science Field Notes. WIRED.
Feeley, K. J., & Silman, M. R. (2011). Keep collecting: accurate species distribution modelling requires more collections than previously thought. Diversity and Distributions, 17(6).
Hekkala, E., Shirley, M. H., Amato, G., Austin, J. D., Charter, S., Thorbjarnarson, J., Vliet, K. A., Houck, M. L., Desalle, R., & Blum, M. J. (2011). An ancient icon reveals new mysteries: mummy DNA resurrects a cryptic species within the Nile crocodile. Molecular Ecology.
Baird, R. C. (2010). Leveraging the fullest potential of scientific collections through digitisation. Biodiversity Informatics, 7(2).
Scoble, M. (2010, October 11). Rationale and Value of Natural History Collections Digitisation [Text.Serial.Journal].
Boakes, E. H., McGowan, P. J. K., Fuller, R. A., Chang-qing, D., Clark, N. E., O’Connor, K., & Mace, G. M. (2010). Distorted Views of Biodiversity: Spatial and Temporal Bias in Species Occurrence Data. PLOS Biol, 8(6), e1000385.
Ilerbaig, J. (2010). Specimens as Records: Scientific Practice and Recordkeeping in Natural History Research. American Archivist, 73(2), 463–482.
WINKER, K. (2009, January 20). Natural History Museums in a Postbiodiversity Era [Research-article].
SUAREZ, A. V., & TSUTSUI, N. D. (2009, January 19). The Value of Museum Collections for Research and Society [Research-article].
Guralnick, R. P., & Lane, M. (2007). Towards a collaborative, global infrastructure for biodiversity assessment. Ecology Letters, 10(8), 663–672.
Graham, C. H., Ferrier, S., Huettman, F., Moritz, C., & Peterson, A. T. (2004). New developments in museum-based informatics and applications in biodiversity analysis. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 19(9), 497–503.
KRISHTALKA, L., & HUMPHREY, P. S. (2000). Can Natural History Museums Capture the Future? BioScience, 50(7), 611–617.[0611:CNHMCT]2.0.CO;2
Pettitt, C. (1997). The cultural impact of natural science collections.
Grinnell, J. (1921). The Museum Conscience.
Grinnell, J., & Storer, T. I. (1916). Animal Life as an Asset of National Parks. Science, 44(1133), 375–380.
Grinnell, J. (1912). An Afternoon’s Field Notes. The Condor, 14(3), 104–107.
Grinnell, J. (1910, December). The Methods and Uses of a Research Museum. The Popular Science Monthly, 77, 163–169.