Národní Museum Prague (NMP) holds close to 15 million specimens, including 140,000 type specimens – representing c. 200 years of collecting and research. Collections are housed in a newly designed large depository building in Praha - Horní Počernice, associated with offices and well-equipped laboratories.
NMP collections are diverse, including a large herbarium, zoological and entomological collections, fossils, minerals, wet collections, frozen tissues, DNA, and slides. Geographically, collections predominantly cover Central Europe, however some collections (herbarium, zoological, entomological) also cover tropical regions including South America and Australasia. Each collection contains numerous type specimens and type collections, several of which are particularly significant, such as: the Sternberg Fossil Plant Collection, the T. Haenke’s Herbarium, the Barrande Palaeontological Collection, and the Obenberger Collection of Buprestidae beetles. NMP is engaged in a range of EU and global initiatives, such as TDWG, GGBD and CETAF. It has also participated in collaborative digitisation initiatives including BHL-Europe, Open-up and 4D4Life.
The Molecular Biology Unit focuses on the study of diversity and evolutionary history of various organisms, primarily vertebrates, using analysis of DNA sequences. The Laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art instruments and facilities capable to carry out DNA extraction from tissue samples, PCR amplification and purification. Using the methods of molecular taxonomy and DNA barcoding, the laboratory serves for identification of various biotic materials, including material from museum collections, which is difficult to identify by conventional methods. Several thousand samples are processed in the laboratory each year.
The laboratory also provides an expert advisory service, and large collections of tissues of a variety of organisms (animals, plants, and fungi) are available for molecular genetic studies.
The Analytical and Imaging Facility (AIF) includes high quality analytical instruments including: a high – resolution microCT, low-voltage and environmental scanning electron microscope with a large chamber; electron probe microanalysis with 5 analyses, EDAX: X –ray analyser; X-ray fluorescence analysis; and high quality digital microscopy. This equipment is housed in purpose-built laboratories, with a staff complement of 3 full – time scientists.
The digitisation unit specialises on digitisation of historic taxonomic literature and is equipped with several state of the art library scanners. NMP’s libraries form an important NH reference collection.
CZ-TAF scientists have expertise in a range of disciplines, with a particular focus on the diversity of life in Central Europe. C. 33 PhD students are supervised at the NMP, and the Museum attracts c. 450 visiting scientists annually.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague, Czech Republic