The roots of species diversity research at Turku stretch back several centuries. Modern taxonomy is held to have started with Carl von Linné in the 18th century (1707-1778). Research in Turku started around the same time with Isaac Uddman (1731-1781), who claimed 1200 insect species for the Turku region in his 1753 thesis. Uddman later transferred to Uppsala to study under Carl von Linné, and his work at Turku was continued by prominent researchers such as Carl Reinhold Sahlberg (1779–1860). Sadly, most of the early collections were destroyed in the Great Fire of Turku in 1827. A few insect cabinets remain at the museum as a reminder of the early days - legend has it these were rescued from the fire by Sahlberg's students.
Nowadays, natural history museums have emerged as the main institutions conducting taxonomical and other species diversity-related research. The Zoological Museum has carved out an especially important niche in this field, with research focusing on poorly known and understudied groups worldwide. The ever-growing collections include thousands of zoological samples from e.g. Alaska and the Canadian arctic, Siberia, the Amazon rainforest, mainland Africa and the Seychelles, Pacific islands and Vietnam. Apart from being valuable for studying global species diversity and its distribution, many of the sample sets are also usable in research related to evolutionary biology and conservation.
Apart from carrying out research, teaching and maintaining the collections, we also provide a wide range of public services. These include identifying animal specimens, and guided tours for visitors such as school and day care groups.
Discover the exhibitions!
Would you like to see the world's most beatiful butterfly, large wasps from the rainforest, or a living tarantula? Our new exhibition displays some of the tropics' finest arthropods. Early collections from the 19th century are on display in the historical exhibition.
Opening times and how to get here:
You can visit the museum's exhibitions Mon-Fri 8-16.
We prefer that you contact us beforehand: please contact Veikko Rinne tel. +3582 333 5774, veikko.rinne(at)utu.fi . You can also agree on guided tours. Groups and individuals are both equally welcome.
Identification of animal specimens:
Insects and other invertebrates: please contact Veikko Rinne tel. +3582 333 5774, veikko.rinne(at)utu.fi
Vertebrates: please contact Ari Karhilahti tel +3582 333 5775, ari.karhilahti(at)utu.fi