This page is also available in Spanish ›

The DiSSCo consortium in


The Spanish National Task Force (NTF ES) is formed by a consortium between the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), the University of Navarra (UNAV), the Geological Survey of Spain (IGME), the Complutense University (UCM), and the University of Valencia (UV), and the Natural Science Museum of Barcelona Consortium
(CMCNB), being led by the National Museum of Natural Sciences (MNCN) of Madrid and coordinated by its Director. CSIC participates through two research centers the MNCN and the Royal Botanic Garden of Madrid. UNAV participates through the Museum of Zoology and the PAMP-Herbarium. IGME participates through the Geominero Museum. UCM participates through significant museums and scientific collections that are assembled and distributed among their Faculties of Biology, Geology, Pharmacy, Veterinary, Medicine, and Geography and History. UV participates through the Natural History Museum and the Botanical Garden. CMCNB participates through the Natural Science Museum of Barcelona. Together their collections gather more than 24.1 million specimens. The scientific data are published in scientific journals, and their databases are partly accessible through the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). The consortium remains open to new members.

participating institutions

Rafael Zardoya

MNCN Director

Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales

The National Museum of Natural Sciences of Madrid houses Spain’s largest Natural History collections, library and archives. The collections comprise around ten million items relating to zoology, palaeontology, geology, mineralogy, and prehistory and they are also repository for natural sciences specimens. Its main scientific research areas concern biodiversity and mechanisms involved in the evolution of life; land, freshwater and marine ecosystems; history of life and earth; and the Spanish geology and volcanism. It houses conservation and preparation facilities together with a range of analytical equipment, available to researchers from around the world, who access these collections on a regular basis, in situ or through GBIF.

Real Jardín Botánico

The Royal Botanic Garden of Madrid houses the largest herbarium in Spain and is one of the most representatives in Europe. The MA-Herbarium comprises 1,3 million specimens organized according to standardized classification systems, being represented all groups of plants (Algae, Bryophytes, Lichens, Fungi, and Vascular plant) especially coming from the Iberian Peninsula, as well as type specimens of Ibero-American plants coming from historical scientific expeditions. It houses also special collections (fluid preserved specimens, gymnosperm cones, fruits and seeds, wood samples, etc.). Collections are available to researchers from around the world, who access these collections on a regular basis, in situ or through GBIF.

Museo de Zoología

The Museum of Zoology is part of the Science Museum of the UNAV. It was established more than 30 years ago and has been responsible for ensuring the conservation of research material produced by the departments of Zoology and Ecology; currently integrated in the Department of Environmental Biology (AMBIUN). It comprises around 2 million specimens, mostly coming from research projects and donations, much of them digitized in databases. AMBIUN gives free access over the internet to the information of more than 230,000 of its registrations thanks to GBIF: the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.


The PAMP-Herbarium is part of the Science Museum of the UNAV. It was developed by the Botany Department; currently integrated in the Department of Environmental Biology (AMBIUN) of the Faculty of Sciences. It houses two main collections, one of Bryophytes and another of Vascular plants. The collection of Bryophytes reaches about 25,000 specimens, and the Vascular plants is close to 100,000 sheets. Most of the material comes from the collections made by researchers from the Department, and from the result of doctoral thesis carried out in the Statutory Community. The Herbarium is an institutional member of the Ibero-Macaronesian Herbarium Association.

Geominero Museum

The Geominero Museum houses significant collections of minerals, rocks and fossils, with around 111,000 specimens, whose information is available through the IGME Website. Mainly, museum collections come from all Spanish regions and former colonial territories, although there are also specimens from other significant sites of the world. Geominero Museum is the official repository of polar geological samples (fossils, minerals, rocks and water) resulting from the Spanish Polar Research Programme, and includes the National Polar Data Center (CNDP). Both the repository and the CNDP respond to international regulations, in particular to those emanating from the Antarctic Treaty System and to the recommendations of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), as well as that of the Spanish Polar Committee.

University Complutense of Madrid (UCM) Faculty of Biology

UCM Faculty of Biology

The Faculty of Biology (UCM) houses the Entomology Collection (UCME), the MACB- Herbarium, a “Museum of Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrate Animals” (MACV) and “the Ethnobotanical Collection”. Together gather more than 4.1 million specimens of botany and zoology. The UCME stands out with more than 4 million, being worth highlighting the extensive collections of Diptera, Coleoptera, Neuroptera, Hymenoptera, Heteroptera and Oribatid Mites. UCME is particularly rich in European and Iberian fauna, but also in tropical fauna of South American. The MACB-Herbarium also stands out with 125,000. 75 per cent of this collection corresponds to vascular plants from the Iberian Peninsula, Balearic Islands and North Africa area, although it also includes some remarkable collections of lichens and bryophytes. Information about some collections is already available through GBIF.

UCM Faculty of Geology

UCM Faculty of Geology

The Faculty of Geology (UCM) hosts important scientific collections of fossils (“Paleontological Collections”) and geology (“the Mineral Collection”) and a “Museum of Geology”.  The most relevant are the “Paleontological collections”, in the Paleontology Department, which includes well preserved fossils of invertebrates, vertebrates and plants. Collections’ access is restricted to researchers; however, some pieces are exhibited to the public in the gallery of the department. The Department of Crystallography and Mineralogy exhibits “the Mineral Collection” for educational purposes, where minerals and rocks are sorted by groups depending on their chemical nature. The “Museum of Geology” brings together an important exhibition of minerals, rocks and fossils.

UCM Faculty of Pharmacy

UCM Faculty of Pharmacy

The Faculty of Farmacy (UCM) houses four collections (the MAF-Herbarium, a Mineral Collection, the Historical Collection of Pharmacognosy, and the Professor Gómez Pamo’s Vegetable Histological Collection), which gather 201,390 vouchers of botany and mineralogy. MAF-Herbarium stands out with 200,000 plant folds mainly from the Iberian Peninsula. The collection is organized by three different criteria: taxonomic groups (1-Seaweeds, 2-Fungi, 3-Lichens, 4-Moss, 5-Ferns), biogeographical peculiarities (6-Neotropical Plants: South America) and historical background (7-Pourret Herbarium). Information about some collections is already available through GBIF.

UCM Faculty of Medicine

UCM Faculty of Medicine

The Faculty of Medicine (UCM) houses two museums (the Javier Puerta Museum of Anatomy and Museum of Medical and Forensic Anthropology, Paleopathology and Criminalistics), which gather 3,300 vouchers of anthropology. The “Javier Puerta Museum of Anatomy” includes bone collections of different stages of prenatal and postnatal life, among which more than a thousand skulls of a Crania Collection, of an anthropological nature. The “Museum of Medical and Forensic Anthropology, Paleopathology and Criminalistics” includes an important collection of skulls that can be accessed by researchers who request them for the purpose of carrying out scientific work.

UCM Faculty of Geography and History

UCM Faculty of Geography and History

The Faculty of Geography and History (UCM) houses theMuseum of American Archaeology and Ethnology” (History of America II Department: Anthropology of America), with a collection of objects related to the ecosystems and cultures of the Americas. It houses mainly pieces of archaeology, ethnology and folk, however it also includes osteological, environmental and malacological materials, belonging to several cultures of the Americas.

Natural History Museum, University of Valencia

UV Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum of the University of Valencia is an institution dedicated to the conservation and research of the natural world that came about by bringing together the historical and new collections of the School of Biological Sciences, the old UV Museum of Geology and several legacies to the University. The collections comprise more than 2.5 million items relating to biology, zoology, paleontology, geology and mineralogy, being also repository for natural sciences specimens. Specimens come mainly from Iberian Peninsula, Canary Islands, Mediterranean Area, Mediterranean Sea, and Northern and Southwestern Atlantic Ocean. Collections are available to researchers from around the world, who can access them in situ or through GBIF and the Biodiversity Databank of the Generalitat Valenciana.

Botanical Garden, University of Valencia

UV Botanical Garden

The Botanical Garden of the University of Valencia is a living museum dedicated to the conservation and research of plants. The more than 5,000 species of plants it houses are preserved through three types of collections: live plants, in the outdoor garden with around 50,000 specimens; seeds and spores, in the germplasm bank (around 5,000 samples); and plant folds, in the VAL-Herbarium. The Germplasm Bank manages also the carpospermatheca, with around 5,000 samples more. The VAL-Herbarium came about by bringing together the old herbariums of the School of Biological Sciences and the School of Pharmacy with the Garden’s own, housing over 275,000 vouchers, especially coming from the eastern half of the Iberian Peninsula, in particular the Valencia region and the Iberian System mountain range. Collections are available to researchers from around the world.

Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona

The Natural Science Museum of Barcelona is an institution founded over 140 years ago
whose natural heritage collections comprise more than 3 million specimens. These
collections include plants, lichens, fungi, animals, sounds, fossils, minerals and rocks,
collected and preserved thanks to the efforts of naturalists and collectors, institutions
and private individuals, as well as the constant work of scientists to achieve a better understanding of biological reality and geological history. These collections are of
particular scientific importance and are essential for taxonomic and systematic research, being reference collections that bring together a high diversity of species from Catalonia and the rest of the world, and containing many type specimens. We generate and share knowledge on the diversity and evolution of the natural world with the aim of helping to conserve it and create a society that is better informed, more closely connected and more responsible where nature is concerned.

Participating institutions in


Everything on one screen

Collection Dashboard

The dashboard you can see below contains data on the collections of natural science institutions across Europe. Page one shows the approximate number of collections per category for all of the 89 institutes who participated in an initial DiSSCo survey and page two the national contributions to the European collection. The selection boxes allow filtering for country and institutions. The data in this dashboard is populated with information as sent by the DiSSCo partners through an initial survey in November 2017 and should therefore be considered as preliminary Following that survey, we went through a rigorous process of identifying obvious errors and contacting individuals to correct those. Nevertheless it will probably still contain some errors and information might be outdated. Please contact Niels Raes if you detect any issues so the data can be updated.

If you would like to see a full screen version of the dashboard, please click here.