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FR-TAF includes nine sections of collections and libraries (mineralogy & geology, palaeontology, botany, vertebrates zoology, invertebrates zoology, arthropods, prehistory, anthropology, living collections) and nine departments in the Museum national d’Histoire naturelle. They are situated in different buildings located in three major areas in the centre of Paris:

  1. Jardin des Plantes and the Buffon-Poliveau block are home to collections of zoology (vertebrates and invertebrates), botany, palaeontology, geology and mineralogy, biological resources. The gallery of mineralogy houses the reference specimens from the Paris Basin and the Specialized libraries attached to research department and the main library holds most of the documentation and archives. Large instruments used to study collections (molecular biology labs, scanning electron microscopes, mass spectrometers) are also located on the Jardin des Plantes.  Note that access to the molecular biology labs is not offered in the frame of SYNTHESYS.
  2. Musée de l’Homme holds anthropology and part of the prehistory collections. It also houses a DNA lab (out of SYNTHESYS’ frame) and a library.
  3. The Institut de Paléontologie Humaine houses Human palaeontology and Quaternary geology collections inlucding a rich osteological sampling and the recent bone collections of the Comparative Anatomy and Mammalogy sections.

Concarneau Marine Station

In addition to the above collections in Paris, MNHN is now able to offer access to marine resources and other facilities at its Marine Station in Concarneau (2700 m2 and 1300 m2 of aquariums).  This is situated 5 hours by train from Paris and offers access to the shore to study various substrata, and allows sampling of a wide variety of fauna and flora which can be stored in the aquariums.  Two boats are also available to allow for sampling at sea.  The station also provides access to a herbarium and the algae collections of Crouan, and it is equipped with sequencing (not available within SYNTHESYS), sclerochronology and cell culture facilities.  Visitors to Concarneau will be housed at the station’s guest house.

More information can be found at

FR TAF research highlights

FR-TAF constitutes a good environment for research. Our staff have a high record of publication in international peer-reviewed journals. In 2014, 500 researchers produced 1100 publications in international peer-reviewed journals.

  • Phylogenetic systematics, involving both morphological and molecular studies 
  • Biodiversity variations through time: Study for comparison of the Compsognathus type from Canjuers (South France)
  • Identification systems  (e.g. New species of Annonaceae from Tanzania)
  • Biodiversity and Biogeographic studies (e.g. Study of Miocene fish fauna from Algeria)
  • Specific Biodiversity programs (e.g Study of new forms of Muricidae from New Caledonia)

FR-TAF Member Institutions

Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle

The collections of FR-TAF comprise an estimated 70 million specimens and house approximately 835,000 primary types and reference specimens of natural history.


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