Tasks and function of the LIB

The Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change (LIB) is dedicated to research into biological diversity and how it changes, the findings from which have illuminating relevance for society as a whole. To better understand current mass extinction of flora and fauna, scientists look for correlations and causes of – often – human-made change. The goal is to find solutions for the conservation of ecosystems and species in order to preserve the basis of life as we currently know it.

The LIB is one of the eight natural history research museums of the Leibniz Association. It comprises the Museum Koenig Bonn (former Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig – Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity), and the Museum of Nature Hamburg (former Centre of Natural History, CeNak, of the University of Hamburg), which were merged into the LIB on 1 July 2021 following a decision of the Joint Science Conference (GWK). The CeNak serves as the basis for the construction of a new, innovative research museum of the LIB in Hamburg – the Evolutioneum.

The LIB comprises more than 16 million collection objects, primarily from the field of zoology, but also from geology-palaeontology and mineralogy. Using state-of-the-art technologies, researchers study the changes in biodiversity based on this valuable, historical object database in order to answer relevant questions of our society for the future. Through the collection objects, they can describe changes, some of which are human-made, and model future development scenarios. As an integrated research museum, the LIB promotes innovative research. Documentation, indexing and the expansion of the collections are important goals of this research infrastructure.

At the LIB, scientists around the world work in international networks to document and analyse the diversity of species, including endangered species, their evolution and ecology, and underlying genetic processes. In doing so, they look back into the history of the earth, reconstruct the development of species and analyse the current influence of us humans on the environment.

The LIB transfers fundamental and constantly newly acquired knowledge into society. In exhibitions, events, scientific conferences, publications and other educational and communication formats, it gets to the bottom of essential questions. Cooperation with schools, universities and other institutions in the fields of education, politics, conservation and culture is an important part of its tasks. The LIB provides access to various service facilities such as libraries and gene databases. As an international institution, the LIB promotes the study of its collections by external researchers.

Current figures from the LIB can be found in the Annual Report 2022.


A self-introduction by the LIB

The Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change (LIB) is an amalgamation of the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig (ZFMK), Bonn, and the Centre of Natural History of the University of Hamburg. With Prof. Dr Bernhard Misof as General Director and Adrian Grüter as Managing Director, the LIB currently employs around 300 members of staff.

The LIB comprises four major centres across locations with the superordinate bodies, the Foundation Council, the General Directorate – advised by the Scientific Advisory Board – and the Directorate. The Central Services support all centres and bodies of the LIB. Our cross-cutting themes are “Changing Biodiversity” and “Biodiversity in Dialogue”.

The LIB includes museums in Bonn and Hamburg that give our research windows to the public. The Museum Koenig Bonn and the Museum der Natur Hamburg offer visitors insights into the natural history collections comprising 16 million objects and invite them to explore the many facets of nature and its interconnectedness.

In accordance with the currently valid status (German version), the Foundation Board of the LIB is responsible for the legality, expediency and economic efficiency of the Foundation’s activities and holds comprehensive rights to information. Chairman of the Foundation Board is Dr Michael H. Wappelhorst, Ministry for Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The Scientific Advisory Board has the task of critically accompanying and promoting the scientific activities and development of the Institute.

Through ombudspersons, the Leibniz Code of Good Scientific Practice is explicitly secured at the LIB as an employment contract obligation.

The representatives for seriously disabled employees promote the integration of severely disabled persons into the Institute, represent their interests and provide them with advice and assistance.

To the external staff directory in Bonn
To the external staff directory in Hamburg

News about the LIB

  • LIB

    Environment Week in Berlin – with the LIB!

    It’s getting really green in the park of Berlin’s Bellevue Palace: Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU) are inviting visitors to the palace park for Environment Week.

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  • Faces of the LIB, LIB

    Face of the LIB: Marie Herberstein

    Marie Herberstein is looking for a different perspective, a fresh look at fixed structures, the creative side of change. The spider researcher has been observing what is happening at the LIB in Hamburg from the other side of the world. On April 15, the Australian with Austrian roots took over the leadership of the Center for Taxonomy and Morphology at the LIB.

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  • LIB, Research

    Genomes of “star algae” shed light on origin of plants

    How do land plants continuously adapt to their changing environmental conditions? This question was addressed by an international research team, including Dr. Iker Irisarri from the LIB. As part of their study, they generated the first genomes of four filamentous “star algae” – the closest relatives of land plants. The results were published on May 1st in the journal Nature Genetics.

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