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Science Research

Natural diversity

Biospeleology

The line of research in biospeleology and prospecting of hypogeous fauna is both institutional and historical, as it dates back some time. It was promoted by the eminent entomologist, curator and director of the Museum, Dr. Francesc Español i Coll, a tireless, excellent teacher of young entomologists, and particularly speleologists, many of whom are still today loyal collaborators of the Museum.

This long-standing harvesting project has resulted in a collection far in excess of 100,000 specimens, representing all the members of the hypogeous Arthropod phylum (crustaceans, arachnids, myriapoda, insects and entognatha). The collection of cavernicolous Coleoptera, however, is one of the best in Europe, and contains a considerable number of type specimens. The collection is fundamentally Iberian, but is also sourced from numerous campaigns in Morocco’s Atlas region.

Research projects

  • Monitoring of protected cavernicolous invertebrate populations

    Year
    2014
    Supported
    AG07 Direcció General del Medi Natural i Biodiversitat (Directorate General of the Natural Environment and Biodiversity)

    The primary aim is to ascertain the state of conservation of some of the hypogeous invertebrate species which are currently threatened or protected in Catalonia, as well as the state of conservation of their habitat.

  • Cavernicolous fauna in Morocco (Atlas Project)

    Year
    2014
    Supported
    Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona

    As a result of the various expeditions to Morocco by members of the Catalan Biospeleology Association (BIOSP) and Museum technical staff, a considerable number of new species of troglobitic Coleoptera have been described, notably: a new sub-genus and six new species of Carabidae: Trechinae, genus Trechus (described as genus Antoinella), one new species of Carabidae, genus Laemostenus, three new species of Staphylinidae, genera: Domene and Lobrathium, and one new species of Curculionidae, genus Torneuma.

  • Cavernicolous fauna of Catalonia and Valencia

    Year
    2014
    Responsible
    Glòria Masó
    Supported
    Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona

    The main objective was, and still is, to enrich the general collection of cavernicolous arthropods and, more recently, the new Tissue bank collection, in which samples are collected and preserved in the most appropriate way for future molecular study purposes. Because of this project, the Museum has succeeded, over the years, in building up one of Europe’s best collections of hypogeous Coleoptera, by combining its own, put together by Dr F. Español, with other great collections such as those of R. Zariquiey and J. Negre. These harvesting projects are possible thanks to the invaluable collaboration of the members of the Catalan Biospeleology Association (BIOSP).

  • Previous projects

    List of previous biospeleology projects, prior to 2014