Diversity and informatics

A map of the world with bright lines representing collection data points

A visualisation of the collections data available through the Museum's Data Portal, with the height of each bar corresponding to the number of georeferenced collections from that location © Ben Scott, the Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

Researching undiscovered diversity using big data

Our work

The diversity and informatics team works across the Museum to support a range of digital and data science activities, including the digitisation of Museum collections and development of the Museum's Data Portal, making the collections and research data available to a global audience.

Much of our work leverages the Museum's digital skills, infrastructure and collections to link up global collections data, addressing some of the big biodiversity challenges facing science and society. 

In addition to the core informatics group, the division is home to the:

  • Purvis and Palma Lab, predicting the impacts of environmental change on the natural world
  • Vogler Lab, developing genomic approaches to characterise complex communities; research on microbial diversity and phylogenetic modelling
  • Museum's Molecular Collections Facility, headed by Jackie Mackenzie Dodds.

Our projects

Digital collections

We are digitising the 80 million specimens in the Museum's collections and providing open access to the digital data through our Data Portal.

Data Portal

Explore and download the Museum’s research and collections data.

Molecular collections

The molecular collection is a state-of-the-art facility designed to safeguard the world’s genetic material for future research.

Ciliate taxonomy and diversity

We are focusing our research on the systematics and diversity of free-living ciliates, particularly marine and brackish forms in costal waters.

Site-based integrative analysis of biodiversity in tropical rainforests

Site-based integrative analysis of biodiversity in tropical rainforests.

Breaking the taxonomic barrier

Museum scientists are using new genomic technologies to rapidly assess biodiversity in complex and changing ecosystems.


The UK holds some of the world’s most significant natural science collections, including the 80 million items in the collections of the Natural History Museum.


SYNTHESYS+ is a European Commission funded project, creating an integrated European infrastructure for natural history collections.


Distributed System of Scientific Collections provides hard evidence of our planet’s natural diversity.

Supporting research


Biodiversity online.

Mosquito Taxonomic Inventory

The Mosquito Taxonomic Inventory (MTI) is an up-to-date, authoritative resource on the global diversity of family Culicidae.


The PREDICTS database is full of raw biodiversity data, not just summary statistics. For most studies, we know the number of individuals found of each species at each site.

The diversity and informatics team

Diversity and informatics staff

Purvis and Palma lab

Digital Collections

Vogler lab

Molecular Collections

  • Jacqueline Mackenzie-Dodds, Molecular Collections Facility Manager
  • Heather Allen, Molecular Sample Curator Darwin Tree of Life
  • Kirsty Lloyd, Technician, BBSRC Molecular Collection
  • Georgia Ward, Postdoctoral Researcher, GCRF Global Seaweeds

Other members

  • Thomas Creedy, Postdoctoral Researcher iBioGen
  • Peter Foster, Researcher, Molecular Biology Computing Officer
  • Alan Warren, Researcher