Senckenberg Society for Nature Research

Institution (Original name) 
Senckenberg, Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum / Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung
Senckenberganlage 25
Postal code 

(+49) (0)69 75 420

(+49) (0)69/746238
Type of institution 
If other, please specify 
Natural History Museum and Research Institute
Are you part of a larger entity / legal body? 
If yes, please specify  
Member since 
Full member
CETAF Official representative
Name, position, phone, e-mail, research field 

Hanieh Saeedi, Ph. D. / Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Department of Marine Zoology, Biodiversity Information / +49-69-7542-1344, Fax +49 6051 619543118,

Member of the Executive Committee? 
Director / legal representative of the institution (title, name, phone, e-mail, research field) 

Hanieh Saeedi, Ph. D.,  +49-69-7542-1344 ,,
Biodiversity Information Coordinator (Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum)


6 Research Institutes, including 3 Museums in Frankfurt, Dresden and Görlitz

  1. Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum Frankfurt including - Senckenberg Forschungsstation für Fließgewässerökologie und Naturschutzforschung Gelnhausen - Senckenberg Forschungsstation Grube Messel in Messel - Senckenberg Forschungsstation für Quartärpaläontologie Weimar - Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment at Tübingen University
  2. Senckenberg am Meer Wilhelmshaven including - Arbeitsstelle des Deutschen Zentrums für marine Biodiversitätsforschung Hamburg
  3. Senckenberg Deutsches Entomologisches Institut Müncheberg
  4. Senckenberg Naturhistorische Sammlungen Dresden
  5. Senckenberg Museum für Naturkunde Görlitz
  6. Senckenberg Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum Frankfurt
Governing and executive bodies 

The Administrative Board (Verwaltungsrat) consults the Direktorium and supervises the expediency and economic efficiency of the Direktorium's management. The Executive Committee of the Supervisory Board (Präsidialausschuss) is a committee of the Administrative Board and prepares the meetings of the Administrative Board and monitors the execution of its decisions. The Board of Directors manages the Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and conducts the decisions of the Verwaltungsrat and the Meeting of Members.

The Committee of Senckenberg Scientists (WA) has the function of asvising and supporting the Board of Directors. Scientific Advisory Board (WB, external): The Scientific Advisory Board is composed of external scientists who conduct the function and business of the Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung as well as independently assessing them. The board is in particular responsible for the assessment of the research programmes of the Senckenberg Research Institutes, the Programme budgets and the attainment of the research programmes' targets. The Board of Trutees (Kuratorium, external) supports and consults the Senckenberg Verwaltungsrat. The Kuratorium members are public persons, in particular from politics, economy and science. The Kuratorium assembles upon invitation of the Senckenberg President.

Scientific staff 
Permanent (P)Non – Permanent (NP)
Scientific staff107265
Other staff (administration etc.) 
Permanent (P)Non – Permanent (NP)
Other staff320116
Total permanent staff 
Total non-permanent staff 
Grand total (permanent + non-permanent Staff) 
Male (%) 
Female (%) 
Any other information concerning the staff 

73 staff members (9%) from 32 foreign countries

R&D facilities
List of laboratories 
  • DNA Laboratories: BiK-F Laboratory Center, Grunelius Möllgaard Laboratory, DNA Laboratories Dresden, Molecular Laboratories Gelnhausen Inorganic and organic stable Isotope geochemistry laboratory (jointly run with Frankfurt University)
  • High resolution electronoptic laboratories (Dresden, Görlitz, Müncheberg, Frankfurt)
  • High resolution 3D surface scanning and X-ray facilities (Messel, Frankfurt)
  • Confocal laserscanning microscope (Wilhelmshaven)
  • Graphical services (Frankfurt, Görlitz, Dresden)
  • Museum workshops (Frankfurt, Görlitz, Dresden)
  • Data and Modelling center (Frankfurt)
  • Libraries and special book collections (Frankfurt, Dresden, Weimar, Görlitz, Müncheberg, Wilhelmshaven)
  • Geochronology laboratory (Dresden)
  • XRD-XRF Laboratories (Dresden)
  • Rock preparation and thin section laboratories (Frankfurt, Dresden)
  • Taxidermy laboratories (Dresden)
  • Laboratories for preparation and conservation of fossil material (Weimar, Messel, Görlitz, Dresden)
  • Laboratories for Palynological and Paleobotanical Preparation (HF labs) and
  • Geochemical Rock preparation (Weimar, Frankfurt, Dresden)
List of key tools (e.g. SEM, 3D, scanners/printers,...) 

DNA analysers, Thermocyclers, capillary sequencers 14 Climate chambers and 4 environmentally controlled rooms for mesocosms 4 SEMs, surface scanner and 3D workstation, confocal laser scanning microscope, XRD, XRF, LA-ICP-MS, Mass spectrometers, vacuum ovens and maceration tanks, labs equipped for HF-preparation, optical microscopes, different rock preparation equipment, several large specific equipment in museum workshops and carpenter workshops, etc.

Other scientific / R&D facilities 

Large scale experimental facilities: Research vessel ‘Senckenberg’ (Wilhelmshaven) Long term ecological and mesocosm laboratory (Frankfurt) Messel fossil site and other biological research stations (Messel pit, Rhein-Main-Observatory, Sokotra marine field station, Ecological field station in Bolivia, Cultural and Museum Centre Karonga (CMCK)

Number of permanent exhibitions 
List of permanent exhibitions  
Museum Frankfurt
Museum Görlitz
Number of recent exhibitions 
Recent Temporary Exhibitions (< 2 years) 
Vielfalt zählt! Eine Expedition durch die Biodiversität
Senckenbergs verborgene Schätze
365 Augen – Blicke des Lebens
Grasland, Yaks und wilde Pferde – von Tibet bis in die Wüste Gobi
Form folgt Fuß
Handy Metamorphosen
Der Nabel der Welt
Number of current exhibitions 
Current Temporary Exhibitions 
Helgolands verborgene Meeresschätze
8 Objekte, 8 Museen – eine simultane Ausstellung der Leibniz-Forschungsmuseen
Äpfel - in aller Munde
Die dünne Haut der Erde - Unsere Böden
Wir sind ein Völklein wie gemacht, das Weltall zu ergründen
Leben unter Wasser 2016
Number of future exhibitions 
Future exhibitions  
Die dünne Haut der Erde - Unsere Böden (Görlitz)
200 Jahre Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung – prägend für Frankfurt
Vielfalt zählt
Neozoen - Verschleppung von Organismen in den letzten 6000 Jahren
Aquarelle von Friedrich Reimann
Insekten - Makrofotos von Wolfgang Büder
Geobiodiversität - 200 Jahre Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung
Summary of your Research programme 

Senckenberg’s research aims at understanding the role of biodiversity in the past, present and future dynamics of the Earth’s system. Correspondingly, Senckenberg pursues integrative geobiodiversity research by using an earth system approach and combining bio- and geosciences, as well as reductionist and holistic research concepts that are largely organismic, field- and collection-oriented. With this research strategy we contribute to the protection and sustainable use of nature resources and to the development of an earth system management.

On an operational level, our research program comprises four basic and intensively cross-linked research fields (RF), each containing between two and four research activities:

  • RF I: Biodiversity and Systematics (including Taxonomy and Systematics , Evolution and Biogeography, Morphology and Function)
  • RF II: Biodiversity and Ecosystems Health (including Medical Biodiversity, Long-term Ecosystem Dynamics and Biodiversity Conservation)
  • RF III: Biodiversity and Climate (including Geobiodiversity and Climate, Genomic Evolution and Climate, Ecosystem Services and Climate)
  • RF IV: Biodiversity and Earth System Dynamics (Evolving Earth and Paleoenvironment, Human Evolution and Paleoenvironment

The four research fields with their various research activities are interlinked as a research network, with RF Biodiversity and Systematics at its core. This kind of reticulated research is characteristic of our integrative research strategy. Moreover, we follow a clear strategy to integrate our research results. This strategy is supported by our Science and Society program which focuses on the fields “Museums”, “Scientific Services” and “Knowledge Transfer”.

Research Field 
Biodiversity and Systematics
Summary of your Research programme 

Biodiversity and Systematics represents Senckenberg’s traditional core competence and reflects the organismic, field- and collection-oriented approach. Ecological functions and ecosystem services, so intensively studied today, are provided by organisms; therefore, their full understanding, quantification, monitoring, and management requires knowledge about the underlying systematics.

Similarly, fighting pests and pathogen vectors, as well as analyzing the impact of climate change and other stressors on biodiversity requires the correct identification of species. Numerous opportunities in systematics arise from molecular studies, in particular concerning phylogenetic and biogeographic relationships and identification of cryptic species. Hence, this methodology is an integral part of the RF, including the development of a DNA and tissue collection.

The three RFs Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health, Biodiversity and Climate and Biodiversity and Earth system dynamics are settled around our core competences in Biodiversity and Systematics.

Research Field 
Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health
Summary of your Research programme 

The RF Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health focuses on understanding and managing the World´s species and ecosystems under global change. The research activity (RA) Medical Biodiversity contributes to the global One Health initiative by investigating vector-borne diseases and parasitology. The RA Long-term Ecosystem Dynamics represents a “traditional” research activity with typical long-term monitoring aspects and a key competence in long-term data analyses.

For decades, we have run monitoring projects in marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems and are strongly embedded in international networks like LTER and GEOBON. The RA Biodiversity Conservation focuses on developing new methods, assessments tools and management recommendations. It is combining our nature conservation projects in marine, terrestrial and limnic environments.

Research Field 
Biodiversity and Climate
Summary of your Research programme 

The three research activities of RF Biodiversity and Climate, i.e. Evolution and Climate, Biodiversity Dynamics and Climate, and Adaptation and Climate represent the different time scales over which we analyse how biodiversity interacts with its environment from Earth’s geologic history to the impact of our industrialized global society. These research activities complement the RA Ecosystem services and climate, which, in cooperation with the Institut für sozial-ökologischeForschung (ISOE), studies the social-ecological dimensions of biodiversity and climate change.

Research Field 
Biodiversity and Earth System Dynamics
Summary of your Research programme 

RF Biodiversity and Earth System Dynamics analyzes key periods of Earth’s history to derive “lessons from the past“, particularly with respect to the mutual impact of biodiversity on evolution – biotic and abiotic – of the “Earth system”. Further, it studies the impact of environmental change and increased anthropogenic sea use on sedimentary environments of coastal and shelf seas as well as on non-tropical shallow- and deep-water biosedimentary systems and carbon cycling. A third focus on Human Evolution and Paleoenvironment complements these longer time scales as it addresses the evolution of humans in the light of the multifaceted interactions with their paleoenvironment.

Scientific publications
Number of peer-reviewed publications per year 
Biannual journals/series 

Archiv für Molluskenkunde – Edt. R. Janssen, since 1868 Contributions to Entomology – Edt. H.H. Dathe, since 1951 Peckiana – Edt. W. Xylander, since 2001

Studia Dipteroligica – Edts. F. Menzel, J. Kramer, A. Stark, since 1994

Quarterly journals/series 

Marine Biodiversity – Edt. P. Martinez, relaunch 2009

Paleobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments – Edt. P. Königshof, relaunch 2009



Every 4 months: Arthropod Systematics and Phylogeny – Edt. K. Klass, relaunch 2007

Soil Organisms – Edt. W. Xylander, relaunch 2008 Vertebrate Zoology – Edt. A. Zarske

Other publications 

Scientific monographs and bibliographies:

  • Abhandlungen der SGN – Edts. V. Mosbrugger, P. Königshof, since 1852, 2 issues per year
  • ACARI-bibliographica Acarologica – Edt. A. Christian, since 2001, 3 issues per year
  • Fauna of Arabia - Edt. F. Krupp, one issue Geologica Saxonica – Edt. J.-M. Lange, since 1876, 1-2 issues per year
  • Nova Supplementa Entomologica – Edts. H.H. Dathe, E. Groll, since 1985, 1 issue per year
  • Synopses on Palaeoarctic Collembola – Edts. W. Xylander, W. Dunger, since 1994, irregular interval

Popular Journals and Publications

  • Natur Forschung Museum – Edt. T. Wenzel, since 1869, every 2 months
  • Kleine Senckenberg Reihe – Edts V. Mosbrugger, P. Königshof, since 1971, up to 3 per year
  • Senckenberg Bücher – Edt. V. Mosbrugger, since 1926, irregular interval Museumspädagogische Materialien – Edt. V. Mosbrugger, since 2007, irregular interval
EARTH SCIENCES (Geology, Mineralogy, Palaeontology,…) 
TypologyPrimary typesIndividual specimens/objects% registered cards% recorded cards in database
LIFE SCIENCES (Zoology, Biology, Botany, Mycology,…) 
TypologyPrimary typesIndividual specimens/objects% registered cards % recorded cards in database
Total specimens (all collections) 
Outstanding collection features 

The Senckenberg Collection with its 39 Mio collection units is the largest natural history collection in Germany and amongst the 5 largest in the world (after the Smithsonian and the museums in London, Paris and St. Petersburg). Online access to specimen data and digital imagery is provided for a part of the Senckenberg collection in the SeSam database available under

Does your institution have an Index Seminum? 


Heritage sciences (art, manuscripts, maps, photographs...) 

3500 signatures

Genetic Repositories
Does your institution have a DNA bank? 
Number of DNA samples 
7 344
Number of organisms / species 
1 651
Does your institution have a seed bank? 
DNA or seed sample exchange 


Number of outgoing loans (parcels / specimens) per year 
Several 100 parcels per year loans: 2748 in 3 years, i.e. 102045 objects
Number of accessions (specimens) per year 
Varying between 100.000 and 200.000 per year
Number of scientific visitors per year 
Main research activities in this field are taxonomy and systematics, evolution and biogeography, morphology and function
The Senckenberg working group “Molecular taxonomy of marine organisms” uses state-of-the-art methods for species identification and classification of marine metazoans, including DNA barcodes,
in situ hybridisation and next-generation sequencing technologies (NGS) as well as mass spectrometry data (MALDI ToF), enabling rapid species assessments. The combination of such different techniques with morphological approaches is unique in Germany.
In the international context, Senckenberg also plays a prominent role through its responsibility for the Fossil Pit (Grube Messel), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the related research focus on Eocene biodiversity.
Further outstanding taxonomic and systematic research activities concern fungi, soil organisms, marine organisms (in particular from the deep sea) and fossil birds.
Cutting-edge research under the heading “integrative taxonomy”, combining classical & modern methods, such as bio-acoustics, molecular genetics and ecological approaches to unravel and explain the evolution of the extant and extinct diversity of life.
Main activities of communication and outreach 

Organisation of conferences, congresses, exhibitions and special exhibitions Co-organisation of symposia and conferences Organisation and moderation of workshops, convenorships of sessions in scientific conferences Communications address topics according to the research foci and to the public through press releases, interviews, lectures, panel discussions, expert statements, publications. On special occasions as opening of exhibitions, there are press conferences and events organised. Press releases are posted in Senckenberg’s online press room and most releases are placed on the online platform “idw”, some of them with international interest also translated in English and distributed through international lists. A large number of our press releases lead to interviews with scientists for print, radio or television.

The Senckenberg Website unifies all Senckenberg institutes and locations under a single roof, the website includes a news ticker and an easy to navigate portal into “Museums”, “Research”, “Collections” and “Publications”. Senckenberg is as well present on social media as e.g. Facebook or Twitter. Senckenberg informs the public through flyers about new exhibitions as well as it’s museum education programs.

Also flyers are available covering news about the Senckenberg Research vessel, the Senckenberg School and the Senckenberg Society for Natural History Research. The Senckenberg image brochure is available in German and English, also a report is launched bi-annually. Popular scientific lectures: lecture series are held in Dresden, Görlitz, and Frankfurt. Participation in local and regional events, such as “long night of science” or “long nights of museums”, as well as organisation of own events, such as family days, exhibition openings or awards ceremonies.

Contact person at your institution for communications / press / external relations (name, position, phone, e-mail) 

Soeren Duerr, +49 (0) 69 7542-1580.

Last year:  
381 924
Trends (past and future) 

2014: 375650 Future: Due to recent construction dropping numbers

Website visitors
Last year  
781 000
Institution news
Career opportunities
Research updates
If your institution is involved with non-university-based teaching or education programmes, please describe them & the partners 

For approximately 50 years, Senckenberg operates the “Senckenberg School” for natural history museum and collection technicians. Every year 20 students are accepted for a 2-year training.

If your institution is involved with universities in teaching or education programmes, please name and describe them 

More than 90 Senckenberg scientists give lectures at 19 national and international universities including Goethe Universität Frankfurt, Eberhard-Karls Universität Tübingen, Universität Koblenz Landau, Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Justus Liebig Universität Gießen, Friedrich Schiller Universität Jena, Universität Leipzig, TU Dresden, TU Freiberg, HTW Dresden, Internationales Hochschulinstitut Zittau, Hochschule Zittau/Görlitz, Universität Halle-Wittenberg,  Universität Cottbus-Senftenberg, FU Berlin, TU Berlin, Universität Potsdam, Universität Bremen, Universität Oldenburg,University of Sherbrooke, Kanada; University of Glasgow, Schottland; Université de Poitiers, Frankreich; University Dar es Salaam, Tansania; National University of Mongolia Ulaanbaatar, Mongolei; Makere University Kibale, Uganda; El Colegio de la Frontera Sur Unidad Chetuma, Mexiko. The main activities in the field of education are as follows: Lecturing, supervision of bachelor, master and PhD theses, and supervision of traineeships.

If your institution is involved in online courses, please describe them and the partners 


Contact person at your institution for education / teaching / training (name, position, phone, e-mail) 

Prof. Dr. Katrin Böhning-Gaese for Education-related topics in general, +49-(0)69-7542 1890 Dr. Bernd Herkner responsible for the “Senckenberg School”, +49-(0)69-7542 1557


Joint (collection-based) research projects

Promoting collections and natural history museums

Training activities


Joint (collection-based) research projects

Promoting collections and natural history museums

Training activities

Last update