Biodiversity (biological diversity) refers to the total sum of life forms on Earth, the genes they carry and the natural communities (the ecosystems) they form.

Reducing biodiversity inevitably leads to deterioration in ecosystem health and function - but healthy ecosystems are essential to provide the many natural resources we depend upon, present and future. Understanding today´s biodiversity and the processes affecting and changing it on the long (geological) and short (ecological) timescale allows inferences about what shaped palaeobiodiversity and how to conserve future biodiversity in such a way that coming generations can sustainably profit from natural resources. In this context our Department was one of the founders of the "Centre for Biodiversity and Ecology" at the University of Göttingen, now one of the leading centres of biodiversity research in Germany.

Research in our department focusses on biodiversity, phylogeny and phylogeography of marine invertebrates and relict faunas, as well as on palaeobiodiversity of reef-associated taxa.