BGBM and MfN are the two principal institutions of their kind in Germany. The extensive plant collections of the BGBM, among the most important in the world, are perfectly complemented by the vast zoological, palaeontological and mineralogical collections of the MfN, and both institutions house analytical facilities, libraries, galleries, staff and computer networks that are involved in a broad spectrum of research spanning the breadth of biosystematics and geoscience. DE-TAF is one of the world's key sites for biosystematic data. BGBM has a total of 3.5m specimens (100,000 primary types), MfN has 30m specimens (250,000 primary types).

Representing more than 500 years of collecting effort, DE-TAF has several unique strengths including, for example, unrivalled collections of plant, animal and fossil material from central Europe, plant remains from ancient Egypt and fish, insect, fossil plant and meteorite collections that are not found in museums anywhere else in Europe.

DE TAF research highlights

The research community at DE TAF is highly productive. Over 580 peer-reviewed papers were generated in 2006/2007. DE TAF research highlights include:

  • First comprehensive vegetation map of the whole continent of Europe ever produced, with BGBM as participating institution. Official planning tool for EU environmental authorities.
  • The Internet Information System AlgaTerra - a joint project of 5 German Institutions - containing 24 000 micro algal names, relations, concepts, types, pictures, videos as well as morphological, taxonomical, ecological, and molecular information AlgaTerra types are available via GBIF
  • Establishment of zircon (ZrSiO4) as a refractory indicator for shock metamorphism in impact craters
  • Evidence for Paleozoic soundscape through recording of the vibrational signalling in Gondwanan relict insects
  • New and better understanding of palaeoecology and extinction patterns of freshwater molluscs at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary
  • Discovery of the oldest (220 million years old) amber inclusions allows insight in a Triassic microbial food web
  • Discovery that biodiversity grants ecological stability but not productivity on geological time scales
  • Molecular and morphological evidence for ancient lakes (Lake Tanganyika, Sulawesi Lakes) as evolutionary reservoirs

DE TAF Member Institutions

Institution Location Website
Museum für Naturkunde (MfN) Berlin, Germany
Botanical Museum and Botanic Garden (BGBM) Berlin, Germany