The Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig
is a research museum of the Leibniz Association
Link to Leibniz Association
Molecular genetic methods provide taxonomy with a powerful tool to reidentify or describe species as they apply to all organisms (irrespective of developmental stage, sex, or body part) and offer universal, quantifiable characters.
With DNA barcoding, the foundation is laid for automated and accelerated taxon identification - and thus for effective biodiversity monitoring, upon which conservation depends.
The ZFMK molecular lab has installed a semi-automated barcoding pipeline for mass sample throughput.
DNA barcoding is a 'Big Science' project in which the zmb / ZFMK shows a strong presence, for instance within the framework of the BMBF-funded project 'German Barcode of Life' (GBOL), which creates an archive and online catalog of German multicellular species - including (but not constrained to) the molecular level.
While a decade ago molecular techniques in taxonomy were confined to only a few particularly 'difficult' taxa, the now initiated standardized and comprehensive molecular sampling of biological diversity, involving the existing taxonomic expertise, will create extensive reference databases and collections (important in this respect is the new collection type 'biobank'). Through these, everyone will be able to recognize species and to analyze, understand, and use biodiversity patterns.
Molecular taxonomy is particularly effective in combination with other methods, usually with morphology. Many of these 'integrative taxonomy' projects are carried out at the zmb, targeting miscellaneous taxa. This is done in cooperation with colleagues within the museum, but also with external partners. Currently, for example, a particular focus lies on the European weevil fauna.