The DZMB is home to ten divisions whose scientists conduct research projects worldwide. The main research topics range from the animal groups of the meio- and macrofauna of the benthos and the animals and plants of the plankton to morphological, ecological and evolutionary aspects. 

The DZMB has made an international name for itself with the coordination of the 10-year international large-scale project CeDAMar (Census of the Diversity of Abyssal Marine Life) for the exploration of the large deep-sea basins at depths of 4000 to 5000 meters. Since then, the research focus of the staff has developed, especially in the areas of molecular taxonomy, metabarocoding and e-DNA (environmental DNA) for recording the biodiversity of marine organisms. The foundations for this are laid with morphology, taxonomy, systematics, biogeography and ecology of marine organisms and the modelling of distribution areas.