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Logotyp för Naturhistoriska riksmuseet
Logotyp för Naturhistoriska riksmuseet

Our research organisation

The museum conducts research in bioinformatics, botany, mycology, zoology, paleobiology, and geoscience. The scope of our research includes biological diversity, evolution and extinctions, ecology, as well as studies of the Earth and the solar system.

We collect, process, and manage vast amounts of data and contribute to the global digital advancement. The museum's physical and digital research infrastructures — encompassing collections, high-technology facilities, laboratories, and data — are sought after by researchers from around the globe.

Research Derived from the Collections

At the Natural History Museum, we engage in collection-based research, leveraging the extensive collections we manage. These historical collections are continually enriched through new collection expeditions. From our collections, we study geoscience, paleobiology, zoology, botany, mycology, and bioinformatics.

Analysis and Mapping

Among other activities, we perform genetic and morphological analyses to discover new species and understand the relationships between known species. We also map the Earth's ecological history and seek to understand the geological processes that shape our world. By analysing and identifying patterns in large volumes of data, we lay the groundwork for many aspects of our research.

Internationally Sought After

Our research expertise is competitive on an international scale, encompassing biological diversity, evolution and extinctions, ecology, as well as studies of the Earth and the solar system. Our findings are frequently published in international scientific journals, addressing current issues and challenges.

Physical and Digital Research Infrastructure

We collect, process, and manage large amounts of data, thereby participating in global digital development. The museum's physical and digital research infrastructures — including collections, high-technology facilities, laboratories, and data — constitute a globally sought-after resource for the research community. Researchers from all over the world are welcomed to study and enrich our collections.

Bioinformatics and Genetics

This unit includes the DNA laboratory, a biodiversity informatics group responsible for the Swedish Biodiversity Data Infrastructure (SBDI) and Sweden's participation in the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), as well as the Centre for Palaeogenetics (CPG), a collaboration with Stockholm University.

The unit also comprises several research groups conducting research based on large-scale DNA sequencing and biodiversity data. We study evolutionary processes, relationships, biodiversity, ecosystems, phylogenetic inference, and develop tools for biodiversity analysis.

A central task for the unit is to make biodiversity data from the museum's collections and other sources available to the public and the research community, information that is utilised annually in hundreds of global research projects.

The Department of Bioinformatics and Genetics


The unit's research focuses on diversity and relationships within vascular plants, mosses, and fungi (including lichens). Projects largely involve defining, describing, and naming previously unknown organisms, and tracing how various traits have evolved over time.

We use DNA sequencing, both of selected markers and of whole or parts of genomes, to date evolutionary events and determine the age, origin, and diversification of various organism groups. Studies of traits such as sexuality and dispersal strategies, as well as ecological adaptations, are also included.

This increases our understanding of the planet's biodiversity and evolution, providing a basis for assessing changes and threats.

The Department of Botany


The unit conducts research on the structural, chemical, and physical properties of minerals, their natural occurrences, formation, and role in geological processes, largely based on the unit's collections. Part of the mineralogical research involves describing newly discovered minerals.

In geochemistry and geochronology, we use isotope analyses to determine the age and origin of various rocks, ores, and sediments, thereby gaining a better understanding of the Earth's crust and the planet's development from 4.5 billion years ago to the present.

Through studies of differentiated meteorites and samples from the moon, we aim to elucidate the earliest development of the terrestrial planets and the solar system.

The Department of Geology


Research in Paleobiology focuses on the evolution of life, from the first single-celled microbes that contributed oxygen to Earth's early atmosphere, to the emergence of multicellular life and the development of modern complex ecosystems.

Our research is grounded in our invaluable collections of over 3 million fossil plants and animals, which we continuously enrich through fieldwork in Sweden and other countries, and we curate and digitize our collections on an ongoing basis.

We describe the structure of fossil plants and animals through taxonomic studies and analyse fossil ecosystems to gain insights into past environments. Research on climate change from a geological time perspective and its connection to biodiversity are other hot topics.

The Department of Paleobiology


Research in zoology focuses on the taxonomy, phylogeny, and evolution of various animal groups, ranging from microscopic roundworms and acoels to molluscs, insects, and vertebrates.

The analysis and documentation of biodiversity within different animal groups constitute a central part of our research, grounded in the study of animal morphology combined with the analysis of genetic data. Materials for these studies are sourced from museum collections but also from extensive fieldwork worldwide.

Questions regarding phylogenetic relationships within and between animal groups are also of fundamental importance to our research. Hypotheses about relationship are used to explore evolutionary patterns, such as in biogeography or the emergence of different traits, such as the evolution of complexity in early animal groups. Data for these phylogenetically oriented research projects are obtained through DNA sequencing of genomes and transcriptomes, as well as classical sequencing of individual selected markers.

The Department of Zoology

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