Scientific operation at two locations

At the Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change (LIB), scientists document the diversity of species and investigate their changes with and in their living environment. In doing so, they reconstruct the development of the fauna and investigate the type and extent of anthropogenic influence.

For their analyses, they draw on the valuable scientific collections comprising 15 million objects, which they are continuously expanding. Using state-of-the-art technology and various methods, they examine this reference database to answer relevant questions about our society for the future. By comparing current data and evidence from organisms, they can outline the influence of humans on the environment and model future development scenarios.

The LIB structures its work tasks in four centres that are networked with each other:

  • Centre for Taxonomy and Morphology: In addition to taxonomic and morphological research, evolutionary biological questions are at the forefront of the research of the scientists and their working groups. They analyse the origin of species, their phylogeny and classification as well as their adaptation to the environment.
  • Centre for Molecular Biodiversity Research: The analysis of completely sequenced genomes will play a fundamental role in phylogenetics and evolutionary biology in the foreseeable future. The study results and research methods are used to illustrate lineages and support the authorities in the reliable determination of species. The spectrum of tasks ranges from molecular taxonomy and barcoding, research on speciation processes and evolutionary genomics to bioinformatics and biobanking.
  • Centre for Biodiversity Monitoring and Conservation Research: Here, researchers face the challenges of global biodiversity decline. Their tasks include studies on the drivers of biodiversity change – but also technology development for modern monitoring. The extensively collected data is evaluated, taking into account current trends, up to and including climate research and agricultural and environmental policy.
  • Centre for knowledge transfer: Together with the other research museums of the Leibniz Association, the LIB is becoming a cornerstone of knowledge transfer. The explanation of biodiversity, its change and relevance for our society are at the centre of the programmes and activities. Educational and outreach programmes in cooperation with schools, universities and other educational institutions aim to raise awareness of the ecological challenges facing our planet.

For this purpose, a morphology, a molecular and an imaging laboratory are available at the Hamburg site. In Bonn, a morphology laboratory (μCTs, 3D computer, X-ray machine), several libraries, the Biohistoricum, the preparation studio, a scanning electron microscope, the biobank and a High Performance Computing Unit (HPC) with the highest technical standards are available. Many of the above-mentioned areas are not located in the main building known to the public. For example, the snake collection is housed in the “villa” of founder Alexander Koenig, his former home. The Biohistoricum and other infrastructures are located in a rented building. An innovative research building is currently being constructed on the university campus, which will make the library an attractive place to study and work with a high quality of stay.

Dr. Vera Zizka (Postdoc) in the project “Diversity of Insects in Nature Protected Areas” (DINA project) of the Museum Koenig Bonn and examines a sample at night.
Hamburg researchers are on expeditions all over the world. Here in Iceland on the IceAge expedition.
The morphological laboratory in Hamburg.
Impressive photographs of exhibits are taken in the Hamburg Imaging Lab.
Pipetting robots make our lives easier in the laboratory.
The Hamburg Dino Project is a cooperation between Hagenbeck’s Zoo, the University of Hamburg and the LIB.

Research news

  • 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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  • Knowledge Transfer

    More visitors than ever before: The Long Night of Museums 2024 in Hamburg

    The Museum of Nature Hamburg participated with all three permanent exhibitions and set a new record: In total, we counted more than 5,800 visitors between 6 pm and 1 am.

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  • LIB, Museums, Press releases

    Unique “Elmshorn” meteorite now on display at the Hamburg Museum of Nature Hamburg

    A meteorite of extraordinary significance has found its place in the Hamburg Museum of Nature. The “Elmshorn” meteorite, which fell from the sky near Hamburg on April 25, 2023, holds both scientific and cultural-historical importance.

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