Citizen Science

Become a herbonaut, decipher herbarium labels

Are you curious and wanting to take part in a fun and collaborative investigation? The Herbonauts program is waiting to hear from 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 citizen science program 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 hone your curiosity.

Fringed gentian herbarium

© MNHN

In the land of plants

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. Herbonauts are in charge of deciphering these data and reporting them via the program'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, which are 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 into scientific databases (RECOLNAT, Sonnerat, National Inventory of Natural Heritage [INPN] or the major international biodiversity databases [GBIF]).

If you are a fossil enthusiast, there’s one Museum initiative that should be right up your street. Herbonauts can now explore a new naturalist segment via the computerisation of a palaeontology catalogue. So, do you want to become a palaeonaut?

If you are a fossil enthusiast, there’s one Museum initiative that should be right up your street. Herbonauts can now explore a new naturalist segment via the computerisation of a palaeontology catalogue. So, do you want to become a palaeonaut?

Standard Herbarium, reference specimen

© C. Munoz Yague - Look at Sciences

No worries!

Are you hesitant to participate because you might contribute errors to the database? Are you unsure about 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!

Go to the Les herbonautes website

To participate

If you wish to participate in this botanical survey, go to the site Les herbonautes.

Les herbonautes website

The Herbonautes program is implemented in collaboration with Tela Botanica.