Zoology

Research within the Zoology Department is carried out on living mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles, fishes and molluscs. The museum's comprehensive scientific collections constitute a major resource for this work and serve as comparative material for systematic and taxonomic research.

We conduct studies on the systematics, biogeography and ecology mainly in terrestrial tropical hotspots of species diversity but also "at home" in Baden-Württemberg using integrative methodological approaches. We combine field research, collection-based work and lab analyses, e.g. studies of molecular characters, stable isotopes or the contruction of three-dimensional scans of sceletons via computer tomography.

Our international research projects include, e.g. studies on the phylogeography of Sulawesi tarsiers and African elephants, the diversity of rain forest birds in Madagascar and tropical fishes, life history evolution of caecilian amphibians and the systematics of tropical land snails. At our own doorsteps, long term projects focus on the population ecology of Graylag Geese, the ecology of Northern Crested newts and Agile frogs as well as the systematics and reproductive biology of Central European snails.

Data on the collections housed at the SMNS are made available through international networks of biodiversity, e.g. GBIF, Herpnet or Fishbase.

Members of the department provide expert advice regarding ecological questions and species conservation. They act as official consultants for customs in CITES matters (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). Besides scientific work, our zoologists answer questions from the public including the press and make their discoveries generally understandable, i.e. for exhibitions.

Our taxidermists are responsible for conservative measures within the collections and the preparation of specimens and constructions of models for temporary and permanent exhibitions. Like other departments of the museum, we offer scientific or technical internships.