Centre of Natural History Hamburg

Original name(s)
    Institution Address

    Martin-Luther-King-Platz 3
    20146 Hamburg

    Topics of interests

    • Taxonomy
    • Phylogenetic systematics
    • Functional morphology Habitat modelling Ecomorpholopgy Marine biology

    Main areas of taxonomic expertise

    • Nematomorpha
    • Crustacea
    • Polychaeta
    • Gastropoda
    • Bivalvia
    • Insecta Tardigrada
    • Chelicerata, Amphibia
    • Reptilia Pisces Mammalia

    Type of organisation

    Institution Address

    Martin-Luther-King-Platz 3
    20146 Hamburg

    Director Representative

    Dr.Martin Husemann


    Structure Chart

    Governing & Executive bodies

    As the structure of the Zoological Museum Hamburg and the other parts of the Natural History Museums of the University of Hamburg is currently changing, we will not submit our current organogram, as this will change soon. We hope to be able to soon also change the NORe statues and integrate (add) the other Natural History Museums of the University of Hamburg) to NORe, however, we will first have to await the implementation of the new structure in the University of Hamburg as well the senate.




    Staff fields

    staff_year of reference2018
    staff total75.0
    scientific staff (permanent)8.0
    scientific staff post doc (non permanent)30.0
    scientific staff collections (permanent)8.0
    scientific staff associated10.0
    staff collection managers technicians (permanent)10.0
    staff administrative (permanent)2.0
    staff administrative (non permanent)3.0
    staff exhibitions (permanent)4.0

    General Description


    1. In the focus of research in the Invertebrates 1 are the morphology and evolution of different animal taxa and different organ systems.
    2. The work in the department Invertebrates 2 focuses on the assessment of biodiversity and distribution patterns and its potential drivers across different marine benthic habitats and regions with special emphasis on deep-sea areas and the Southern Ocean. The latter are difficult to sample, yet have been intensely studied over the last few years due to increased effort in the framework of international projects. Across national natural history collections the ZMH represents a unique position in marine biodiversity research of the Southern Ocean deep sea. It has a close collaboration with the German Centre of Marine Biodiversity Research (DZMB, Senckenberg located in Wilhelmshaven and Hamburg).


    In the entomology department research covers the evolution of the genus Nasonia (Hymenoptera), the life history and taxonomy of Pteromalidae (Hymenoptera), higher level phylogeny of Hymenoptera, biodiversity of Malagasy Odonata, taxonomy and biology of Phasmatodea and Mantodea, taxonomy and biology of Trichoptera, phylogeny and evolution of primarily wingless hexapods.


    In Malacology biodiversity and evolution of land snails is studied with the main focus of the department is biodiversity research about land snails. The spectrum of subjects reaches from species surveys, taxonomical revisions, and phylogenetic analyses to analyses of speciation processes. Geographical focuses are South-eastern Europe, Asia anterior, Uganda and Columbia. Moreover, biogeography and macroecology as well as molecular phylogeny of the bilaterian phyla, considering especially the lophophorate lineages are important research areas.


    In ichthyology one of the major research areas is habitat modeling for fish species and other taxa. There is a great need to produce predictive models to relate biological (community, population and individual) data to environmental factors - such that the development of methods to be used to help interpret and predict changes in environments and faunas.

    A major goal of the research is therefore to develop new types of habitat models where predictions are based on detailed knowledge of habitat use and population dynamics of fishes and other taxa. Moreover, biodiversity, ecology and speciation of estuarine andfluvial fishes is studies besides the systematics, morphology, taxonomy and habitat use of Elasmobranchs, Ostarioclupeomorpha and Percomorpha.


    The main research focus in the herpetology department: Research interests include

    1. Biodiversity and systematics of SE Asian amphibians: Three projects currently investigate the species inventory of East Malaysian (Borneo) protected areas, the frog communities in disturbed habitats on the island of Sumatra, and the correlation of frog communities and watershed areas on Sumatra. These works include genetic barcoding of the respective areas.
    2. Funktional morphology: Some of the studies focus on larval morphology, their functional and phylogenetic significance in the evolution of frogs. Other work is done on the morphology and function of the breast should apparatus of frogs. Studies on reptiles include work on the nasal morphology of reptiles, (in collaboration) the genetic phylogeny of African house snakes, and the taxonomy and systematics of Agamidae.


    In mammalogy the evolution and functional morphology of the dentition of herbivorous mammals is investigated. The functional analysis of dentition of herbivore mammals constitutes the basis for the understanding of habitat driven adaptation in food ecology. In order to produce a convincing reconstruction of habitat specific food adaptation in extant as well as in fossil ungulates, new methods for inferring dietary preferences and are being developed.

    Our focus in on the analysis of functional adaptation of the masticatory system (Enamel Ridge Morphometry, ontogenetic wear gradients and experimental occlusal mechanics). In our present work therefore bio-mechanic considerations play an important role. Moreover, the use of resources in terrestrial habitats is analyzed and the occlusal fingerprint analyser (OFA) is used as a virtual 3D tool for reconstructing masticatory movement of teeth in mammalian dentitions.

    Link of the Research page : 

    Link of the Annual report :

    Research Fields

    • Anthropology / Physical anthropology (46.20.00)

    Research Initiative

    Activities and outreach with Universities

    Yes, several bachelor and master courses ranging from systematics, vial evolution, ecology to outreach activities in special classes


    Activities and outreach with other public

    Education for teachers, training for customs’ administrators



    Jakob Hallermann
    +49 42838 2283

    In order to facilitate the use of our website, we use cookies.

    Please confirm if you accept our tracking cookies. When declining the cookies, you can continue visiting the website without sending data to third party services. Read our complete cookie statement here.