Noticias INVEMAR


Marine Natural History Museum of Colombia (MHNMC) – Makuriwa, from INVEMAR: A fundamental source of scientific information

Author: Catalina Arteaga-Flórez


Biological collections are repositories of information from different regions of the world, being a fundamental source of scientific information for understanding biodiversity through the years. Are an essential instrument, both for the development of scientific research and environmental modeling, and for decision-making on territorial planning issues, definition of conservation strategies, among others (Decree 1375 of 2013 that regulates biological collections in Colombia, compiled in Decree 1076 of 2015).


The Marine Natural History Museum of Colombia (MHNMC) – Makuriwa, from the Marine and Coastal Research Institute of Colombia (INVEMAR), holds the most important, numerous and well documented marine biological collections of Colombia and even in the Caribbean region. The History of Makuriwa dates back to the 1960s with the creation of “The Colombian-German Institute for Tropical Research (ICAL)”, today INVEMAR. Since then, marine material collected in several projects were preserved, and in 1974 was created “The Reference Collection of Marine Organisms (CROM)” in order to strengthen and organize the existing collections. The CROM grew over the years, and in 2000 became in the Marine Natural History Museum of Colombia (MHNMC), registered with the No. 82 in the National Registry of Biological Collections (RNC), in Colombia, managed by the Alexander von Humboldt Institute (IAvH), according to the legal provisions that apply to biological collections in Colombia (Decree 1375 of 2013, compiled in Decree 1076 of 2015).



Makuriwa has about 80.000 lots and 38 collections mostly defined by phylum, as well as Bacteria, Fungi, Fishes, Plankton and Tissues collections. Its material has been collected in the Colombian Caribbean and Pacific, including coastal, insular and oceanic areas, between 0 and 4200 m deep. Additionally, the collections have material donated between the 70's and 80's, which was obtained between 1 and 35 m deep in the following countries: Belize, Bermuda, Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Netherlands Antilles , Panama, Puerto Rico, San Vincent and Granada, the United States and Venezuela. The information associated to the specimens are systematized in the Marine Biodiversity Information System (SiBM) (also created in 2000), which is the marine node of the Biodiversity Information System of Colombia (SiB Colombia), and node OBIS Colombia.


Figure 2. Temporary exhibition of the Marine Natural History Museum of Colombia (MHNMC) – Makuriwa.



Lots in Makuriwa have three types of preservation: wet, dry and cryopreserved (temperatures of -20°C and -80°C); and are stored in adequate conditions of temperature, humidity and light intensity, to assure the correct preservation of the material. The museum has three laboratories (Optical, Molecular and Wet laboratory) for biological material processing, and morphological and molecular analysis. Likewise, it provides the services of deposit, consultation and loan of biological material, in accordance with the legal regulations that apply to the biological collections of the country.


Web site (Spanish):

SiBM (Spanish):

Flickr (Spanish):



Promedio (0 Votos)