Scientific operation at two locations

Scientists at the Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change (LIB) document the diversity of species and investigate how these change with and in their living environment. In doing so, they reconstruct the development of the fauna and examine the type and extent of anthropogenic influence.

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

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

  • Centre for Taxonomy and Morphology
    In addition to taxonomic and morphological research, questions of evolutionary biology are at the forefront of the research of the scientists and their working groups. In this, 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 fully sequenced genomes will play a fundamental role in phylogenetics and evolutionary biology in the foreseeable future. The study results and research methods serve to illustrate lineages and support the authorities in the reliable identification of species. The spectrum of tasks ranges from molecular taxonomy and barcoding and research on speciation and evolutionary genomics, to bioinformatics and biobanking.
  • Centre for Biodiversity Monitoring and Nature Conservation Research
    Here, the researchers are confronting the challenges of the global decline in biodiversity. Their field of activity includes studies on the drivers of biodiversity change – but also technology development for modern monitoring. The extensively collected data is evaluated with current trends, including climate research and agricultural and environmental policy, being considered.
  • Centre for Knowledge Transfer
    Together with the other research museums of the Leibniz Association, the LIB is becoming a cornerstone of knowledge transfer. The elucidation of biodiversity, its change and relevance for our society are at the heart of the programmes and activities. With education and mediation programmes in cooperation with schools, universities and other educational institutions, the intention is to raise awareness of the ecological challenges on our planet.

To this end, a morphology lab, a molecular lab and an imaging lab are available at the Hamburg location. In Bonn, a morphology lab (μCTs, 3D computer, x-ray machine), several libraries, the Biohistoricum, the dissection studio, a scanning electron microscope, the biobank and a high performance computing unit (HPC) with the highest technical standards are available. Many of the departments mentioned are not located in the main building known to the public. The snake collection, for example, is housed in founder Alexander Koenig’s “villa” – his former home.  The Biohistoricum and other infrastructures are located in a rented building. An innovative research building is currently being built on the university campus, which will make the library an attractive, comfortable place to learn and work.

Dr. Vera Zizka (Postdoc) in the project “Diversity of Insects in Nature Protected Areas” (DINA project) of the Museum Koenig and examines a sample at night.
Hamburg researchers are on expeditions all over the world. Here in Iceland on the IceAge expedition.
The morphology lab 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.

news regarding our research

  • Museums, Special exhibitions

    Special photo exhibition “Seasons” of the Naturfototreff Eschmar at the Museum Koenig

    From Jan. 20-Aug. 21,22, the exhibition “Seasons” presents a pictorial yearly journey through nature’s potpourri.

    Learn more
  • ©DNAqua-Net
    LIB, Research

    Comprehensive practical guide for DNA-based methods published

    International research network DNAqua-Net presents guidelines for the application of DNA-based biomonitoring tools.

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  • © LIB
    Faces of the LIB, LIB

    Faces of the LIB: Johanna Hollensteiner

    She is responsible for events at the LIB in Hamburg. When not engrossed in planning here, she is drawn to travel the world.

    Learn more