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Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig (ZFMK)
Hosting Legal Entity
Leibniz Association
Adenauerallee 160, Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Bonn, PO: 53113 (Germany)
Type Of RI
Coordinating Country
Current Status:
Operational since 1934
Scientific Description
ZFMK, as Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity, is an independent research institute.The focal point of research is performing an inventory of the zoological species diversity on earth, the analysis of changes in biodiversity as a result of environmental factors and through evolutionary processes at the morphological and molecular level.We furthermore explore the context of structure and function of ecological systems, advanced scientific methods and the study of the history of science.

RI Keywords
Zoology, Library, Molecular and morphological laboratoria, Archive, Biobank, Taxonomy, Biodiversity informatics, Digital collections, Evolution, High performance computing
RI Category
Collections of Biological Resources (e.g. Microorganisms, Biobanks and Seed Banks)
Bio-informatics Facilities
Centralised Computing Facilities
Research Libraries
Genomic, Transcriptomic, Proteomics and Metabolomics Facilities
Natural History Collections
Research Archives
Scientific Domain
Biological and Medical Sciences
Earth and Environmental Sciences
ESFRI Domain
Scientific Library for Zoology

Catalogues, Library Collections, Databases, E-Journals

Digitization of the Collections

In the context of scientific collections, digitisation is the process of making object related data from collections (labels, images, inventory books) and collection-based research available by means of a digital catalogue.

Biodiversity Informatics

An essential component of Biodiversity Informatics at the ZFMK is the design of databases on the digitization and management of in-house data collection, as well as the networking of existing database systems in cooperation with other institutions. Projects and databases such as Morph·D·Base, GBOL, GFBio and the Diversity Workbench Framework assure the accurate and comprehensive documentation of research data. Furthermore the section is working on a unitary collection and digitization plan for the ZFMK. This concept has the objective of creating a virtual museum research, which enables the exploration of data for a variety of scientific and general questions. The use of the Collection Management Framework DiversityWorkbench in all sections is a fundamental prerequisite for this.

Biohistoricum - Research Archives for the History of Biology

The Museum and Research Archives for the History of Biology (“Biohistoricum”) was founded in Neuburg/Donau in 1998. One of the founders was the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Geschichte und Theorie der Biologie [German Society for the History and Philosophy of Biology] []. Since October 2008, the collections of estates, correspondences, illustrations and photography related to the history of biology in the German-language countries are located at the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig (ZFMK) as a central facility for research and conservation. The research-library comprises more than 50.000 volumes from various life science disciplines (e.g. zoology, botany, evolutionary biology and history of medicine). One of the Biohistoricum’s major tasks is structuring and rendering accessibility to the historical collections, organizing symposia and co-editing of the scientific publication series Acta Biohistorica for Basilisken-Presse []. We welcome donations for restoring valuable books and archivals. Please contact me:


The Biobank of the Centre for Molecular Biodiversity Research at the Museum Koenig is a specialized archive that is complementary to other collections of the museum and is linked to them.

Bat Banding Centre

The Bat Banding Centre at the Research Museum Koenig is a service institution. Since 1960 it has supplied bat bands to researchers in Germany and some adjacent countries, documented the resulting band recoveries, and made the data available to science. In the Centre historical and current banding data from 1932 to today are being archived and analysed.

Morphology Laboratory

Morphology is the science of the form and structure of an organism and includes both the exterior appearence and the inner anatomy. It takes a central role in biological and evolutionary research. The morphology lab of the ZFMK was established in 2018. Next to own research ir also corrdinates the morphological research, supervises the related infrastructure and provides training and counseling for other ZFMK researchers. The infrastructure of the morphology lab of the ZFMK includes the following equipment: 1) 3D reconstructions: Reconstructions allow the virtual 3-dimensional visulaisation of CT scans or histological sections. 2) Scanning electron microscopy (SEM): Scanning electron microscopy is a high resolution imaging technique that allows magnifications up to 1 000 000 times. 3) µ-computed tomography: µ-computed tomography is an imaging technqiue where a sample is rotated within an X-ray beam. The resulting images from different angles are calculated to virtual sections by a computer. The result is a 3-dimensional stack of images showing the anatomy of the organism. 4) Photomicrography: Photomicrography is an imaging technique where digital microscopic images of different focus planes of a sample are calculated into a single sharp image. 5) Histology: In the histology lab tissues are embedded in resin and cut into very thin sections. 6) X-ray apparatus: X-rays allow the fast and easy imaging of skeletons of animals.

High-Performance Computing

Next generation sequencing techniques are generating unprecedented amounts of data which challenge concepts of data analyses and storage. The ZFMK houses several dedicated Linux high-performance computing (HPC) units to handle these challenges: • A six nodes unit, each with two six-core Intel Xeon E5650 CPUs (2.67 GHz; 72 cores in total) and 96 GB RAM (576 GB in total) for phylogenetic analyses, • a four-node unit with two 12-core Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2 CPUs (2.70 GHz; 96 cores in total) and 512 GB RAM (2,048 GB in total) per node for genomic and transcriptomic sequence assembly and analyses, and • a single unit with four 16-core Intel Xeon E7-8867 v3 CPUs (2.50 GHz; 64 cores in total) and 3,072 GB RAM for analyses that require a large amount of memory.

Molecular Laboratory & Data sets

The molecular lab of the ZFMK has its origins in the late 90's and steadily developed into an important resort of research activities within the house. We have now realized all the important technical preconditions for populationgenetic and molecular phylogenetic work which is mirrored by a quite number of ongoing projects within these fields of research. We routinely employ the standard techniques of PCR, automated sequencing for phylogenetic analyses and microsatellite techniques for populationgenetic questions. One of our main goals is to simultaneously profit from the extensive museum collections and molecular approaches in studies of general evolutionary backgrounds.

Date of last update: 27/08/2019
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