The Field Museum's vast natural history collections hold crucial information for on-the-ground conservation action. This page highlights some of the identification tools developed by the Keller Science Action Center and our partners.
Chicago Region Identification Tools
The Field Museum is the world's largest clearinghouse of field guides to the world's plants and animals, including more than a dozen guides that focus on the biodiversity of the Chicago Region. They can be downloaded for free and laminated to create quick reference guides for the field.
Vplants is a virtual herbarium for the Chicago Region. This resource contains data for 80,000 plant and fungi specimens from three institutions with rich Chicago Region collections: The Field Museum, The Morton Arboretum, and the Chicago Botanic Garden.
The Keys to Nature Project
The Keys to Nature Project provides a forum and toolset for scientists, partners, and volunteers to develop and share online, photo-based keys to any group of plants, animals, or fungi in the Chicago Region. Sixteen keys are now available, for orchids, milkweeds, shrubs, mussels, salamanders and newts, turtles, frogs and toads, and more.
View Keys to Nature
Tropical Identification Tools
The Field Museum is the world's largest clearinghouse of field guides to the world's plants and animals. Most of our more than 500 guides focus on the biodiversity of tropical areas for which few identification tools exist. They can be downloaded for free and laminated to create quick reference guides for the field.
Neotropical Herbarium Specimens
Identifying specimens is a time-consuming process. These high-resolution scanned images of plant specimens from the New World tropics housed in the Field Museum herbarium help ecologists and conservationists speed up identification. This searchable database currently contains more than 50,000 specimens representing nearly 30,000 plant species.
View Neotropical Herbarium Specimens
Live Plant Photographs
This is one of the largest curated collections of tropical plant images we know of, and a key tool for identifying plants in New World tropical rainforests. The searchable database contains more than 20,000 images representing some 7,000 species.