The French national collection of naturalized sponge specimens housed at the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle (MNHN) contains more than 15000 specimen vouchers along with their derived microscopic preparations.
These preserved Porifera specimens are stored dried or in alcohol at the MNHN zootheque. Some specimens are present only in the form of derived microscopic preparations (for small size specimens, or most of the Topsent collection) stored in a dedicated library of microscopic slides.
The specimens are registered in a catalogue which is partly numerized. The inventory of type specimens in the Topsent collection (including the Lamarck collection) was supported by the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS), with information uploaded in The World Porifera Database
The collections deposited by French spongiologists C. Lévi, J. Vacelet, N. Boury-Esnault have been numerized in 2015 and are accessible through the MNHN website.
Request for access is granted by the curator and must be submitted through the colhelper web interface. Applicants must indicate institution and objectives of the requested loan/consultation, and provide name of the specific oceanographic campaign/historical collection for which access is asked.