Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig Bonn (ZMFK) is a leading institution for species-related biodiversity research. As the Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity, the core facilities of ZFMK support the research mission: ‘Discovering and explaining biodiversity’, with focus on animal species.
Although the collection contains samples from all over the world, a major collection focus is epicontinental animal species, especially in African and Asian taxa. There are also comprehensive reference collections from European regions.
The Museum has two facilities for research: the Centre of Taxonomy and Evolutionary Research (ZTE) and the Centre for Molecular Biodiversity Research (ZMB).
ZFMK scientists cover a broad range of expertise with a prominent focus on molecular research. ZFMK is engaged in developing tools for species monitoring and pioneers large-scale DNA barcoding initiatives (e.g. coordination of German Barcode of Life).
The ZTE houses zoological collections of more than 5 million units, serving as permanent references for scientific work. The biobank holds DNA and tissue collections, at temperatures down to -190°C (liquid nitrogen). For endangered species, or for HTS applications, viable cells and biopsies can be processed and stored at ZFMK.
The institute includes the Biohistoricum – a unique collection of historical biological literature and documents, as well as extensive research libraries. It houses collections of estates, correspondences, illustrations and photography related to the history of biology.
ZTE and ZMB are equipped with lab infrastructure for genomic and morphological zoological research. There is basic DNA / PCR equipment, as well as infrastructure for automated, high-throughput DNA and RNA isolation and liquid handling. Visitors can draw on experience at ZFMK in isolating DNA from ancient and environmental samples. Workflows for anchored hybrid enrichment and transcriptomic and genomic library production for NGS are well established. ZTE facilities include labs for SEM and histology, a digital X-ray device, and a tomography facility equipped with two μCTs.
ZFMK is heavily engaged in digitisation of the specimen collections. IT resources include high performance computing clusters, a virtualised server infrastructure for web services, data maintenance and archiving.