Become a herbonaut!

Are you curious and wanting to take part in a fun and collaborative investigation? The Herbonauts programme is waiting for you. It is open to all citizens who are interested in natural sciences or other disciplines, such as history, geography, etc.

From the millions of photos in the National Herbarium and the RECOLNAT network of naturalist collections, how long would it take one person to create a scientific database? More than a lifetime! This colossal task would take a single person five centuries.

But that is without the participatory science programme Les herbonautes, which you can join to take up this challenge. You don't need to have any knowledge of botany. All you need to do is use your general knowledge and sharpen your curiosity.

Herbier de Gentiana ciliata

© MNHN

Au pays des plantes

All the information on the labels of the digitised herbarium specimens is valuable. It helps to determine when, where and by which botanists they were collected. This is where you can make a contribution. The herbonauts are in charge of deciphering these data and reporting them via the programme's website. To carry out this observation work, each person mobilises his or her own skills and interests: expertise on a group of plants or the flora of a region, ability to identify ancient writings... Put your talent to work for science!

The project offers you "missions" of different sizes. You can collaborate on a sample of between 250 and 5,000 images of plants, always chosen in relation to scientific questions. The data collected will help advance our knowledge of biodiversity and its dynamics. They help researchers measure the erosion of plant diversity, a major issue in the current extinction crisis. This information also feeds scientific databases (RECOLNAT, Sonnerat, Inventaire National du Patrimoine Naturel [INPN] and the major international biodiversity databases [GBIF]).

If you are a fossil enthusiast, one initiative of the Muséum should delight you. Herbonauts can now explore a new naturalist field via the computerisation of a palaeontology catalogue. So, do you want to become a palaeonaut?

Go to the Les herbonautes website

Herbier type, spécimen de référence

© C. Munoz Yague - Look at Sciences

Pas d'inquiétude !

Are you afraid to participate for fear of contributing errors to the database? Are you unsure of your interpretation of certain herbarium labels? No worries! Each specimen photo is presented several times to the other contributors: potential mistakes are easily corrected. That is the magic and efficiency of the Herbarium Community!

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