Globally, GB-TAF is one of the most important single sources of systematics information. The total of more than 80 million specimens including 1.5 million holotypes and paratypes housed in the three institutions are the cumulative efforts of nearly 300 years of collecting and research.
Access is available to NHM's 70 million natural history specimens, including 800,000 type. The specimens are stored in secure storage units and well-organised in accordance with taxonomic groupings. This includes the Darwin Centre (Phase 1 & 2) a state-of-the-art facility housing 23 million zoological specimens in alcohol, plus all the majority of the entomological and botanical specimens.
RBGK has the largest living reference collections in Europe and an extensive preserved collection of vascular plant material and fungi.
RBGE is one of the major research institutes in the UK focusing on the Systematics and Conservation of plants. Its collections are of world importance, holding the second largest collection of living plant species in Europe, a herbarium of 3 million specimens, and one of the best botanical libraries in the UK.