Natural history museums and institutions from all around the world come together for the first time this week for an international conference in Paris.
Over 200 representatives from institutions in 34 countries will be discussing how they can work together to better understand and protect our biodiversity.
The Natural History Museum (UK), the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew (UK), the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, (USA) and the French Museum of Natural History are organising the International Symposium , which will take place in Paris, 18-19 October.
The symposium coincides with the 300th anniversary of the birth of Georges Louis Leclerc, comte de Buffon. In his day, Buffon was one of the inventors of a new type of scientific institution, which later became the natural history museums that we see today.
There will be talks throughout the two days covering how natural history institutions can co-operate better to tackle threats to biodiversity. Topics such as nature conservation, policy making, scientific research, looking after collections, interactions with society and public opinion will be discussed.
The Natural History Museum's Director, Dr Michael Dixon, is Chair of the session about natural history museums and society. The Museum's Director of Science, Dr Richard Lane, will be talking about genomics, which is the study of gene sequences in the DNA of organisms.
On Friday, all of the discussions will be brought together into a final message, which can then be distributed and used worldwide by all those who are working to protect biodiversity.