Origins, evolution and futures

A small school of green chromis fish swimming above staghorn coral in Raja Ampat, Indonesia

A small school of green chromis fish, Chromis viridian, swimming above staghorn coral in Raja Ampat, Indonesia © Shutterstock/Ethan Daniels

We are experiencing a period of unprecedented global environmental change.

Our work and collections are more valuable than ever in helping scientists understand the response of natural and anthropogenic ecosystems to this change.

From the origins of the solar system to the evolution of new species, our collections are helping us understand key transitions in the evolution of life on Earth and predict the impact of environmental change in the future.

Extraterrestrial H20 hunters

Our planetary geologists are exploring new analytical techniques to determine the origins and history of water on planet Earth.

Size matters: responding to environmental change

Museum palaeontologists are predicting the impact of our rapidly changing climate on body size using well-preserved fossils.

The midge thermometer

Museum entomologist Steve Brooks is studying the heads of midge larvae to trace climate change through time and calibrate global climate models.

PREDICTS: big data on biodiversity

PREDICTS uses data on local biodiversity around the world to model how human activities affect biological communities.