Canadian Museum of Nature

Canadian Museum of Nature, Gatineau, Québec
What the facility does

Laboratory facilities for natural history specimen-based research; identification, conservation, storage and loaning of plant, animal, mineral and fossil specimens.

Areas of expertise

The staff of 50 experts conducts scientific research and manages the collection of nearly 15 million specimens (the national collection of Canada). The research staff are experts in biological systematics, with taxonomic specialization for a wide range of Canadian species, and others. They conduct work in a wide range of laboratory spaces that are specialized for the discovery, identification and description of species of plants and animals (living and fossil forms) and minerals. The collections staff are experts in the preservation, conservation and use of the specimens, and they have specialized training to support the access and use of the collections by the scientific community. There is a wide range of microscopy, X-ray and biochemical analytical equipment. Many specialized work areas support the collection so it is available for scientific research, including a cryogenic storage facility, 3D scanning and colour printing, photographic studio, Z-stacking high-resolution photography, rock cutting, lapidary for preparation of mineral analysis, preparation and storage of microalgae, plants, minerals, fossils, vertebrates and invertebrates, animal dissection, skeletal preparation (dermestid de-fleshing), digitization and sharing of collection data, including images.

Research services

Sample analysis and identification to the species level.

Sectors of application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
  • Mining, minerals and metals
  • Ocean industries

Specialized lab



X-ray lab



X-ray Micro Powder diffractometry Characterization of crystal structures

X-ray lab

Bruker D2 PHASER 2nd Generation

X-ray Micro Powder diffractometry Characterization of crystal structures


Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope (FEI Apreo, Oxford EDS system)

High resolution, high magnification images of objects and additional sensor for assessment of mineral composition

Cryogenic storage

Chart MVE Fusion Series Freezers

Mechanical (-70 C) and liquid nitrogen (-170 C) freezers, with capacity for up to 1 M specimens

DNA sequencing

Hitachi Applied Biosystems 24-capillary 3500xL Genetic Analyzer

Sanger sequencing


Eppendorf Mastercycler Pro S (8)

Replication of DNA material

Dermestid beetle colony

Beetle colony within a secure building

Cleaning tissue from skeletal material

Fossil preparation

Space and logistical support for all sizes of fossil preparation; pneumatic scribes, sand support box for consolidation, acid washing facility

Removal of matrix material from fossils and consolidation of processed pieces

Soft-tissue X-ray

Thermo Scientific PXS5-926EA Microfocus X-ray source;

FlashXPro Flat Digital Detector Array Imager (Vidisco Ltd.)

Digital X-ray of vertebrates specimens and lake sediment cores

Photographic studio

Photographic equipment and lighting systems

Lighting systems and accompanying equipment for photography of a wide range of natural history specimens

3D scanning and printing

ProJet CJP 660Pro Printer


Digital scanning and printing of natural history objects

3D scanning and printing

GoSCAN 3D Scanners (Models 20 and 50)

Digital scanning and printing of natural history objects