An integrated 21st century biological collections community that strives to understand, promote and conserve the diversity of life.


To promote the use and expand the accessibility of biodiversity collections and data, and to extend their impact as critical infrastructure for research and education for the benefit of life on earth.

Who We Are

The Biodiversity Collections Network or BCoN emerged from a five-year national initiative funded in 2014 by the National Science Foundation to support the development of a new, sustainable community of practice to ensure that all U.S. biodiversity collections are digitally available for research, education, informed decision-making, and other scholarly and creative activities. The initiative was founded as a partnership between the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, and the Natural Science Collections Alliance. BCoN is an outgrowth of the Network Integrated Biocollections Alliance (NIBA) strategic and implementation plans, which emerged a decade ago from scientific meetings where scientists articulated the need to digitally capture biological specimens and associated data held in natural science collections for use in research, education, and for the public interest. 

Since its founding, BCoN has evolved into a strategy and advocacy group to coalesce the biodiversity collections community and provide a platform for directing the community in pursuit of a common goal. BCoN is the only entity in the U.S. that brings together representatives from a wide range of biological collections to advocate for the needs of the collections community, work towards improving diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusivity in the community, and strive to develop a collective vision to sustain these collections and maximize their value to society for research and education. The BCoN Steering Committee includes representatives from living, preserved, and fossilized biological and geological collections.

Overview of BCoN.