The Finnish Museum of Natural History and the Finnish Biodiversity Information Facility

The Finnish Museum of Natural History is called Luomus. It is both a research institute and a national research infrastructure that specialises in the study of biodiversity. The research carried out at the museum focuses on systematics, organism geography, time series-based studies of animal populations, as well as nature conservation biology.

Luomus is part of the University of Helsinki, where the actual research topics are largely determined by the researchers' own interests and funding opportunities.

In recent years, biological studies of the Baltic Sea have clarified the distribution history of aquatic fauna, as well as the cryptic diversity of animal species complexes. In biology, a species complex is a group of closely related organisms that are so similar in appearance that the boundaries between them are often unclear. A cryptic species has two or more species hidden under one species name. Molecular characteristics have been used to separate these species.

Luomus maintains databases of the collections and observations

Staff at the Finnish Museum of Natural History compile and maintain the museum collections of botanical, zoological, and geological specimens. The museum also has large observational databases of species occurrences.

The facility also coordinates bird ringing and national bird monitoring programmes. These programmes are based on the contribution of volunteers for so-called citizen science. Waterfowl monitoring is carried out in cooperation with the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).

Species threat assessments (Red Book) are based in part on these monitoring programmes, the collection and observation databases of the Luomus museum, and the work of the experts employed there. The research infrastructure of the Finnish Museum of Natural History also includes a dating laboratory, which performs, among other things, radiocarbon dating and other isotopic determinations using radioactive isotopes.

The Finnish Biodiversity Information Facility offers species data to everyone

Led by Luomus, the Finnish Biodiversity Information Facility is a national digital infrastructure for species data. It provides species information in a coherent format for research, administration, education, and general public use. 

The Finnish Biodiversity Information Facility maintains a national list of species and a nomenclature database. The term nomenclature here refers to a set of specialised species names. The species nomenclature, as well as the databases of the scientific collections and researchers’ and citizens’ observations, are freely available on the species information portal website This portal operates on the principle of open data.

The portal also provides other institutions with a framework for presenting their own species databases via a single national channel. The national Invasive Alien Species Portal collects alien species observations from the Baltic Sea and distributes alien species information to all species groups. The Invasive Alien Species Portal already operates through the portal mentioned above.