The section within the Department of Palaeontology and Historical Geology was instituted in 1967 with focus on fossil Cnidaria. The head of the section at that time, Dr Rudolf Birenheide, was a specialist on fossil corals, in particular from the Devonian.
With the present head of the section, Dr Eberhard Schindler in 1995, the focus of the research changed. Besides biostratigraphy (the main group of fossils are the tentaculitoids) studies on microfacies analysis and sedimentology, but also research using other stratigraphic methods (e.g., event stratigraphy, cyclostratigraphy, etc.) became the main goals. High-resolution and long-range correlations of Devonian successions and investigations of Global Events play a major role. Another aspect which is included are studies on ‘time-specific facies’, i.e., investigation of characteristic rock formation at a given time in Earth History. Wherever possible, comparison with modern environments is considered.
Within Senckenberg, the section takes care of the departmental library which holds more than 78,000 titles. Since 2004, the head of the section is the chairman of the scientific board (Wissenschaftsausschuss, WA – elected member since 1996) of Senckenberg; since 2012 he is the chairman of the German ‘Subcommission on Devonian Stratigraphy’ (SDS – member since 1990) – in the international SDS, he is a member since 1995.