Forschung am Museum

Evolution of organisms and habitats

The museum focuses its research and outreach work on six programs under the motto "Evolution of organisms and ecosystems":

  • Biological systematics and phylogeny
    • The collections-based description of species and higher taxa and their interpretation in an evolutionary context is one of our core areas of expertise and is the basis for all further research.
  • Biodiversity and biogeography
    • The diversity of life is examined at three hierarchical levels - biodiversity of genes, species and ecosystems. Long-term studies on biodiversity are combined with biogeographical analyses.
  • Ecology of fossil and Recent ecosystems
    • The analysis of complex ecosystems from different time slices provides us with profound insights into biological communities and their relationships with habitat and climate. Our extensive expertise in botany, paleobotany, zoology, paleozoology, and ecophysiology facilitates a broad research approach.
  • Open research
    • Open research topics allow us to respond flexibly to current issues and societal demands.
  • Exhibition design and knowledge transfer
    • We are one of the main providers of cultural education in the natural science in the country. The exhibits are constantly evolving, as are new methods of knowledge transfer. Our particular strength is the close association between research and outreach.
  • Collection development and scientific preparation
    • The collections are archives of biodiversity, and are rigorously maintained and expanded. We are further developing the diverse methodological expertise in preparing specimens for research, collections and exhibits. Digital documentation and international integration of collections is driving new digital technologies.

Within this research and outreach framework are four cross-cutting themes that unite our scientific work.

  • Q 1 Reconstructing fossil ecosystems
    • Our diverse scientific (taxonomy, physiology, taphonomy) and preparation expertise is a prerequisite for the development and analysis of the numerous internationally important fossil localities in the state.
  • Q 2 Arthropod phylogeny - an integrative approach
    • The combination of biology and paleontology in the field of entomology is an approach that has already provided numerous spectacular insights into the evolution of insects.
  • Q 3 Phylogeny and evolution of amphibians and reptiles
    • Our taxonomic and systematic expertise, the quality of our paleoherpetological collection and the importance of fossil localities in the state are internationally recognized, creating unique conditions for the development of this field of research
  • Q 4 Integrative taxonomy and biodiversity collection
    • DNA barcoding is a new type of taxonomy that must be accompanied by the expansion of reference collections. The data are worthless without the expertise of taxonomists who can identify species correctly. This is particularly true for groups that are difficult to identify, such as the ecologically important parasitic hymenopterans. The project "Floristic Mapping of Baden-Württemberg" sets the standard for long-term studies and forms an important basis for conservation-related studies on ecosystem change, and has received recognition throughout Europe. DNA barcoding increases the efficiency of long-term monitoring efforts.

Download Reserach Booklet

Research Booklet (PDF 3.2MB)