Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum
The Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum (= Senckenberg) conducts research in the bio- and geosciences. Its main emphasis lies on biodiversity and ecosystem research as well as the systematic investigation of the relationship between Earth and Humans. In addition to its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, Senckenberg maintains institutions in Dresden, Gelnhausen, Görlitz, Hamburg, Messel, Müncheberg, Tübingen, Weimar and Wilhelmshaven, including display museums in Frankfurt, Görlitz and Dresden.
The society’s scientific collections comprise approximately 38 million preserved plants,animals, fossils and minerals. Furthermore, Senckenberg has access to top-of-the-line analytics, among others, in the areas of molecular genetics and isotope analysis. Senckenberg research focuses on the dynamic system Earth. We conduct “geobiodiversity research” using an integrative approach: Senckenberg scientists study the role that the diversity of life - biodiversity - plays in the Earth system. We unravel the interconnections of life forms with the other parts of the Earth system: the atmosphere, water, ice, soil, rock and – last not least – mankind.
Because we need to understand the Earth system in order to maintain its function as the very basis of man’s existence. Senckenberg scientists research the present and the past - and eventually generate future projections. The Senckenberg research institutes provide excellent preconditions for this approach: The most modern infrastructure is used by the 250 plus Senckenberg scientists. In addition, Senckenberg houses Germany’s largest natural history collections – an invaluable basis for biodiversity research in all its facets. “World of biodiversity” – the Senckenberg claim thus describes our research programme, which is divided into four large research fields:
I. Biodiversity and Systematics
II. Biodiversity and Ecosystems
III. Biodiversity and Climate
IV. Biodiversity and Earth System Dynamics
Senckenberg scientists are active worldwide: From the jungles of Bolivia to the Mongolian steppe and from the deep sea to the Tibetan Plateau. They co-operate with the most renowned research institutions in many countries. The education of young scientists is a further, most important task for Senckenberg. Currently, about 200 students, PhD students and postdocs are active at the six Senckenberg institutes.