The LIB is one of the eight natural history research museums of the Leibniz Association. It comprises the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig – Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity (Museum Koenig), Bonn, and the former Centre of Natural History (CeNak) of the University of Hamburg, which were merged into the LIB on 1 July 2021 following a decision of the Joint Science Conference (GWK). The CeNak serves as the basis for the construction of a new, innovative research museum of the LIB in Hamburg – the Evolutioneum.
The LIB comprises more than 15 million collection objects, primarily from the field of zoology, but also from geology-palaeontology and mineralogy. Using state-of-the-art technologies, researchers study the changes in biodiversity based on this valuable, historical object database in order to answer relevant questions of our society for the future. Through the collection objects, they can describe changes, some of which are human-made, and model future development scenarios. As an integrated research museum, the LIB promotes innovative research. Documentation, indexing and the expansion of the collections are important goals of this research infrastructure.
At the LIB, scientists around the world work in international networks to document and analyse the diversity of species, including endangered species, their evolution and ecology, and underlying genetic processes. In doing so, they look back into the history of the earth, reconstruct the development of species and analyse the current influence of us humans on the environment.
The LIB transfers fundamental and constantly newly acquired knowledge into society. In exhibitions, events, scientific conferences, publications and other educational and communication formats, it gets to the bottom of essential questions. Cooperation with schools, universities and other institutions in the fields of education, politics, conservation and culture is an important part of its tasks. The LIB provides access to various service facilities such as libraries and gene databases. As an international institution, the LIB promotes the study of its collections by external researchers.