Following are a few examples of collection-based research:

Biogeographical research

Biogeographical research

Understanding the various elements that shape the distribution of living organisms, including man. The data used by Israeli and foreign scientists for this type of research are almost solely based on the Natural History Collections, which document both the distribution of organisms and the changes this undergoes with the passage of time These data are also crucial for applied environmental and agricultural research.

Systematic and taxonomic research

Systematic and taxonomic research

In-depth familiarity with organisms, their basic classification and understanding the evolutionary links between them. This type of expertise is essential for applied agricultural and conservation research. It is also of great importance to the developing field of identifying beneficial natural biological substances, especially in the field of medicine. Such systematic knowledge is required in order to extract the natural substances from the relevant species and to identify species with an evolutionary relatedness that may also hold a similar potential industrial benefit.

Ecological research

Ecological research

Understanding the factors affecting the richness and distribution of living organisms. This type of research requires knowledge on the natural history of organisms, their areas of distribution and an understanding of the biodiversity patterns in the ecological community. Such information is essential for conservation in a rapidly changing world, which is constantly under short-term threats (pollution, territory fragmentation, over-exploitation) and mid or long-term threats (global climate change).

Conservation research

Conservation research

For the past 20 years, nature conservation science has been one of the most rapidly developing applied research fields in biology. It faces the challenging question of how can the human population continue to develop and answer its needs without irreversibly harming the natural resources. The Natural History Collections provide the archives that allow us to understand biodiversity patterns, and to follow species distribution and the effects of human activity, thereby establishing priorities for conservation and development etc.

Identifying agricultural pests

Identifying agricultural pests

A large proportion of agricultural crops falls victim to pest species. The basic acquaintance with these pests, which alter their global distribution with the spread of agriculture, relies on comparative collections and the taxonomic knowledge of the curators. This expertise is obviously of great financial value. In the framework of the Smithsonian Institution, the United States Department of Agriculture supports a large group of scientists who participate in the research and basic identification of insects.

Identifying species for use in biological control

Identifying species for use in biological control

Biological control constitutes a large part of the international efforts to protect crops from pests. Identifying species for the purpose of biological control entails knowing both the pest and its natural enemies. This information is based on the comparative collections and taxonomic knowledge of the curators.

Identification of invasive species

Identification of invasive species

Species distributed by man, whether intentionally or inadvertently, constitute one of the major factors responsible for the loss of biological diversity in the world and economic damage to agriculture. Some of these species flourish in their new habitats and cause significant economic damage. The Natural History Collections are a vital source for the identification of the invasive species, for the study of their past and present distribution, and for the seeking of methods by which to deal with their presence.

Establishing priorities for sustainable development

Establishing priorities for sustainable development

Preserving biological diversity is on the current international agenda and, as Israel is part of this global policy, it is important to prioritize development in a way that will allow sustainability. The Israeli government decided to espouse the sustainable development policy. For this purpose it is essential to attain a basic familiarity with our own biodiversity and its spatial and temporal distribution. This information is primarily based on the Natural History Collections.

Developing management tools for conservation of the environment

Developing management tools for conservation of the environment

Managing open spaces is essential for conservation of the biosphere. There is an ongoing effort to develop management tools for agriculture and forestry that can help to preserve an optimal biological diversity. The Natural History Collections are essential for research and monitoring in this field.

Birds and air traffic accidents

Birds and air traffic accidents

Some horrific accidents have occurred when birds have collided with planes. Using the preserved feather collections helps to identify the species of birds involved in an accident and to minimize their potential danger.

Identifying environmental contaminants

Identifying environmental contaminants

The Natural History Collections comprise organic materials that can in themselves preserve and document a record of environmental contaminants and the damage they can cause. Since the collections reflect long-term documentation, they can be used to determine which contaminants are to be found in which environment, and how the contamination changes with time.

Ecological risk evaluation

Ecological risk evaluation

This evaluation demands an understanding of biodiversity patterns and how they are predicted to be influenced by human activity. In Israel this evaluation is required by law in the framework of development projects. The basic ecological knowledge necessary for this evaluation is available in the Collections.