The Canadian Museum of Nature has a large, multidisciplinary team of scientists who conduct leading-edge research in the natural sciences. They help to increase knowledge and understanding of the natural world we live in by working on diverse projects in Canada and around the world.
Research in the natural sciences is a major function of the Canadian Museum of Nature. Our research activities involve the disciplines of systematics and the application of our expertise to specific projects.
Three sections organize our research: the Canadian Centre for Biodiversity, Earth Sciences and Life Sciences. The main threads that run through our research are discovery, generation of new knowledge, and accumulation and analysis of scientific information in order to increase understanding and appreciation of natural diversity so that it can be conserved and properly managed.
We're in This Together: Partners in Research
Effective working relationships between divisions within the museum and with outside agencies are an important part of what we do. Partnering with the outside research community is critical to the multi-disciplinary aspect of our work, and supports the work of others.
- The multidisciplinary Rideau River Biodiversity Project and the Frenchman River Biodiversity Project assessed biodiversity in the Rideau River in eastern Ontario and in the Frenchman River, in southwest Saskatchewan. Public consultation and participation by local communities in the scientific follow-up and setting of priorities contributed to better understand healthy long-term management of biodiversity.
- The Nature Discovery Fund supports the identification and study of new species. Would you like one named after you? Or, perhaps your work in systematics is eligible for a Nature Discovery Fund grant.
A Facility for the Museum's Facilities
An innovative building is the workplace for most of the museum's science and administrative staff. The Natural Heritage Campus also houses and protects virtually all of the museum's collections, including a library.
Research Not Communicated Is Research Not Finished
- The Centre for Collections Management and Conservation Research serves as a professional focus and provides a forum for the museum's expertise and experience in the fields of preventive conservation and collections management.
- We've learned a lot over the last 150 years or so, and have some pretty nifty tools to help us get the job done. Is there something we can help you with?
- Several members of our scientific staff have university and college appointments, teach courses and supervise graduate students.
- When you visit the museum in downtown Ottawa to see our exhibitions and enjoy our programmes, you are tasting the fruits of the museum's research.
The Value of Research
Knowing more about nature gives us, as stewards of the planet, the tools we need to make better decisions about resources. This knowledge provides the basis for new technologies and developments. It helps us to understand the impact that nature has on our lives and conversely, our growing impact on nature. That is why the Canadian Museum of Nature provides an invaluable source of information and knowledge on the natural world to all Canadians.
Studying the physical and chemical characteristics of specimens as they age provides insights into how, why, and at what rate specimens deteriorate. With this understanding, researchers at the Canadian Museum of Nature learn how to slow specimen deterioration, thereby keeping specimens useful for generations to come.
Before his retirement, Chief Conservator Rob Waller, together with his colleague, John Simmons of the University of Kansas's Museum of Natural History, worked on collection specimens that were once preserved in formalin, but are now stored in ethanol. They measured and compared the concentration of residual formalin and acidity in the fluid. In the graph of these data the "bubble" size is proportional to the age of the sample.