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FI-TAF comprises one organisation, the Finnish Museum of Natural History LUOMUS. It houses scientific collections of 13.3 million specimens, and 110,000 type specimens, making it one of the largest natural history museums in the Nordic Countries, and the leading institute in Finland for academic research and education on biodiversity and taxonomy. LUOMUS is an independent research institution in the University of Helsinki, and operates in three locations in Helsinki. Science at LUOMUS is carried out in four units: Botany, Zoology, Natural Sciences, and Biodiversity Informatics.


The collections of 13.3 million specimens have a wide taxonomic, temporal, and spatial coverage. Northern and Eastern Eurasian coverage is particularly good. Parts of lichenized fungi, bryophyte and insect collections are among the most important in the world. State-of-the-art laboratories and a digitisation research centre facilitate research, and LUOMUS is actively engaged in many international associations and projects. Users of LUOMUS collections and related data have contributed to the understanding of the origin and evolution of numerous organisms, conservation of endangered species, the history of the Earth, and climate change.

Infrastructure available to Access Users

The core of LUOMUS infrastructure are the biological, geological, palaeontological  and living plant collections including seed bank, which support scientists working in the forefront of biodiversity, taxonomy, biogeography, bioinformatics, geology, and ecology.

LUOMUS hosts Digitarium (a research centre for mass digitisation), a laboratory of chronology, a DNA laboratory, image-stacking photographic equipment, state-of-the-art light microscopes, a structured light 3D scanner, herbarium scanners, high-throughput digitisation lines for plant and insect specimens, and extensive libraries.

As LUOMUS is part of University of Helsinki, researchers and visitors are able to access SEM photography and CT scanning in other units.

LUOMUS offers full access to the collections, supervised access to equipment, and dedicated support to make user visits as efficient as possible. 

Virtual Access

The existing digitised data, of over 30 million records, is available on the Finnish Biodiversity Facility (FinBIF). Our aim is to digitise the entire collection of the Finnish Museum of Natural History, currently being over 13 million samples. Digital data includes a wide range of information on species, for instance their occurences, phenology, distribution and information on scientific collections. We offer user-orientated solutions to Digitisation on Demand requests and we are experienced in many aspects of digitisation. Frequently used methods include the digitisation of specimen metadata, single-shot photography, multifocus-photography, mass digitisation and 3D scanning. We currently mass digitise insects (about 300/day) and herbarium sheets (about 1000 sheets/day). We are versatile and research-oriented, and data can be made available in a range of formats. 

Contact (zoology, natural sciences), (botany).


Institution info


Dr Pasi Sihvonen,  (zoology, natural sciences)

Dr Mikko Piirainen, (botany)

Helsinki, Finland