Luxembourg upgrades GBIF membership

The world’s only remaining grand duchy becomes voting participant of GBIF

Caloceras
Fossil specimen of Caloceras sp. from the Palaeontological collections at the National Museum of Natural History Luxembourg.

The European country of Luxembourg has reaffirmed its commitment to GBIF membership by switching from associate to voting participant. This change ensures that Luxembourg—a network member since 2005—has voting rights at the annual Governing Board and entails contributing to GBIF’s global budget at a level proportionate to the size of its economy, in addition to its national investments in GBIF-related activity.

The activities of the Luxembourg GBIF node are supported by the Ministry of Culture and coordinated by a dedicated department within the National Museum of Natural History of Luxembourg. Commissioned to assemble, preserve and study digital scientific data on Luxembourg’s natural heritage and to make these data accessible to the public, the Natural Heritage Information Facility also manages the database and web portal on biodiversity data of Luxembourg.

Despite its size—Luxembourg ranks 169th in the world by area, comprising just 2,586 square kilometers—the country is home to some endemic species, among them several springtails (e.g. Orchesella hoffmanni, Hymenaphorura aurantiana and Kalaphorura ludzaki) and a species of dandelion (Taraxacum leucosquameum) (see relevant citations below). With 35 per cent of the country’s area protected, Luxembourg has demonstrated its commitment to preserving its biodiversity.

Luxembourg has taken major steps to making its occurrence data available to GBIF, and with more than 375 records per square kilometer, the country has the third highest density of records among GBIF participants. Currently, GBIF.org provides free and open access to 1.5 million species occurrences published by the National Museum of Natural History in Luxembourg. More than 300,000 of these occurrences record information in 62 countries, territories and islands beyond the duchy’s boundaries. Other contributors of data about the biodiversity of Luxembourg include the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Naturalis Biodiversity Center. Researchers affiliated with institutions in Luxembourg have authored 10 scientific papers that cite or make use of GBIF-mediated data.

About the National Museum of Natural History of Luxembourg

Founded in 1854, the National Museum of Natural History of Luxembourg is the country’s only museum of its kind and holds its largest natural history collections. The museum’s redesigned permanent exhibitions reopened to the public in 2017, with more than 1,000 m² that better reflect the current state of scientific research. The museum’s exhibitions are supported by scientists studying the millions of specimens in the collections and now present the rich natural heritage collections of Luxembourg in a new light.

Citations

Subject