Scientific collections

Scientific collections

The collection rules valid for the Senckenberg collections can be downloaded here.

Click here to learn more on Senckenberg's implementation of the Nagoya protocol, regulating the access to genetic resources and an equitable benefit sharing.

The Senckenberg Research Institute maintains and continuously expands the collections of Recent as well as fossil animals and plants from all around the world. It also holds a significant specialised library. The substantial data of this collection constitute the basis of every taxonomic-systematical, ecological, biogeographical or biostratigraphical as well as every practical environmental research. The collection items are also valuable as historical references – often acquired with a considerable effort, and have to be preserved permanently.

Ornithologische SammlungTherefore, collections supply archives of material from a particular location in a determined place and at a certain time (ecological archive´s function). But much more important for national and international science is the archive´s function for scientific concepts and identifications. A clear designation of species classification and intraspecies-variability is the base for comparability in biosciences. Only if considering the collection objects, it is possible to bring down former statements in today´s scientific system of coordinates.


Tiefspeicher FischeAccordingly, our collections are always managed following the most recent standards, by our highly qualified staff. Above all, information associated with the objects must be easily accessible. This, among other things, is achieved through digitalisation and the local availability of the collection´s data as well as the development of methods for fast analysis of biodiversity data.

Collections must be considered as archives of life, holding the answers for numberless questions. Especially in regard to processes in a certain time span (in long prehistorical or short historical periods), collections can certify by themselves what once was and how it was evolving. Furthermore, the dynamics of change in the biosphere are displayed in the collections. They conserve the evidences of changes in biodiversity due to evolution or to human influences.