Forschungs Museum Koenig

The Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig is a research museum of the Leibniz Association

Original name(s)

  • Leibniz-Institut für Biodiversität der Tiere (de - German)
Institution Address

Adenauerallee 160
53113 Bonn

Main areas of taxonomic expertise

  • Arachnida
  • Diptera
  • Coleoptera
  • Hymenoptera
  • Lepidoptera
  • Trichoptera
  • Myriapoda
  • Crustacea
  • Mollusca
  • Gastropoda
  • Reptilia
  • Amphibia
  • Fish
  • Aves
  • Mammalia

Type of organisation

Institution Address

Adenauerallee 160
53113 Bonn

Director Representative

Prof. Dr.Bernhard Misof


Structure Chart

url :
file : Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity.png

Governing & Executive bodies





Staff fields

staff total169.0
scientific staff (permanent)23.0
scientific staff (non permanent)26.0
scientific staff post doc (non permanent)29.0
staff collection managers technicians (permanent)18.0
staff collection managers technicians (non permanent)5.0
staff administrative (permanent)33.0
staff administrative (non permanent)32.0
staff exhibitions (permanent)3.0

General Description

  • Taxonomy & systematics
  • biogeography & evolution
  • biodiversity assessment & monitoring
  • conservation biology

The ZFMK is a zoological research museum dedicated to taxonomy and inventorying of terrestrial and freshwater faunas, with a special focus on tropical habitats. Curators are simultaneously researchers and collection keepers.

Our institute has a unique Center for Molecular Biodiversity Research that is leading phylogenomic projects and the German Barcode of Life (GBOL) initiative. The Center is also well known for its theoretical work and the development of algorithms needed to analyze molecular data.

The ZFMK plays a leading role in the organization of supraregional research networks (e.g. biodiversity research in Indonesia, in Georgia, monitoring in West Africa, phylogenomics of insects etc.). The expertise of our scientists is demanded for research collaborations and for capacity building, and our publications address an international audience. Research projects of (seemingly) only local relevance are also of increasing relevance, because awareness for biodiversity losses in Central Europe is growing. Our collections harbor specimens from all over the world and are used by the international scientific community, including Ph.D. students from abroad (e.g. Vietnam, Indonesia, Iran, Colombia etc.). We are data providers for GBIF, BOLD, NCBI, GGBN.

If an industrialized country like Germany wants to take its responsibility for planet earth’s biosphere seriously, it has to run facilities for species-based biodiversity research. German universities have lost most of their capacity in this field of science and are not suitable for long-term tasks. Germany has signed the Convention on Biodiversity and is committed to identification, monitoring and conservation of biodiversity. Recently, Bonn was chosen for the UN secretariat of the IPBES. The “Nationale Strategie zur biologischen Vielfalt” (National Biodiversity Strategy), accepted in 2007 by the federal cabinet, includes many recommendations and conditions for the development and use of German landscapes which require monitoring of biodiversity. Research for the goals of this strategy has to be done in institutes with species knowledge, voucher collections, and historical data that document landscape and diversity changes. ZFMK is committed to develop data bases and research tools for a comprehensive biodiversity monitoring. GBOL is an example for the development of tools and for networking including citizen scientists to overcome this impediment. Our taxonomists are experts for the compilation of lists of protected species (CITES lists of the Washington Species Protection Plan, red lists) and cooperate e.g. with the Bundesamt für Naturschutz (Federal Agency for Nature Conservation).

The taxonomic expertise of curators comprises globally terrestrial and freshwater animal taxa, without geographical focus. Taxonomic research is integrative, i.e. combining morphological data (incl. histology and 3D-recosntructions) with molecular sequence information. In view of the enormous number of unknown species, we are using tools to speed up species descriptions, and for rapid inventorying we rely on inverse taxonomy, i.e. characterizing species with automatized methods prior to conventional species descriptions. The phylogenetic expertise is distinguished by a critical analysis of information contents of data, the search for sources of errors at the algorithmic level, and the development of new tools for phylogenetic analyses of sequence data.

Link of the Research page : ZFMK Research

Link of the Annual report :  Annual Reports (German only)


Research Fields

  • Anthropology / Physical anthropology (46.20.00)

Research Initiative

Activities and outreach with Universities

Regular teaching on biodiversity, taxonomy, systematics in the fields of morphology, anatomy, genetics and genomics within the Masterprogram Organismic ´Biology, Evolutionary Biology and Palaeobiology at the Friedrich Wilhelm-University of Bonn. About 10 scientists from ZFMK are regularily involved in teaching these topics. They also supervise many Bachelor, Master and PhD theses.

Partnership with Sam Ratulangi University in Manado, Indonesia in building up an International Masterprogram: Indo-Pacific Coral Reef Biodiversity and Conservation. This is the first International Master at the university and is unique within the Coral Triangle.

Several scientists from ZFMK also teach at Sam Ratulangi University in Manado, Indonesia in the Masterprogram Aquatic Science (Faculty of Fishery and Aquatic Science). Topics are biodiversity, taxonomy, systematics, ecology


Activities and outreach with other public

Museumscurriculum für Grundschulen (Kooperation zwischen Bonner Grundschulen und sieben Bonner Museen):

Fenster zur Natur: MuseobilBOX-Dioramen:

Neugierde im Gepäck – Eine Forschungsreise um die Welt:

Jugendprogramm von Natur beflügelt:
- Forscherclubs: Juniorforscherclub seit 2008, Jungforscherclub seit 2014, Alexander-Koenig-Science-Club seit 2016
- Schul-Arbeitsgemeinschaften seit 2008, gefördert von der Deutschen Telekom Stiftung und der Alexander-Koenig-Gesellschaft

Hier und dort Zuhause – Ein Bildungsprogramm für Kinder und ihre Mütter mit Zuwanderungsgeschichte



Heike Wägele
+49 228 9122-241

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.