Alpine systems & changing biosphere

SNSB have an excellent infrastructure to document and interpret the changing biosphere. Alpine systems represent a special model region. SNSB research focuses on the understanding of alpine systems, changes and interactions of bio- and geodiversity dynamics in this natural area, but also on its settlement history and anthropogenic influence.

Flora of Bavaria

The initiative aims to describe all of Bavaria's more than 4,000 flowering plants and ferns, including naturally occurring, newly naturalized, invasive and extinct species. The project records and documents the state of the Bavarian flora over time and space. The botanical database has now grown to more than 15 million records.

Our mission

The loss of biodiversity and the transformation of biosphere in the wake of the human-induced global change are among the greatest challenges of the future, in Bavaria and worldwide. Natural history collections make a crucial contribution to finding answers to the related questions.

Prehistoric elefant & more

The Munich Paleontological Museum displays impressive fossils - including the first herbivorous prehistoric reptiles, viviparous Ichthyosaurs with embryos, giant flying dinosaurs, the largest Bavarian dinosaur, mammals of the Ice Age such as the mammoth, giant deer and saber-toothed cat, and the impressive skeleton of the Mühldorf prehistoric elephant.

DNA barcoding

Among natural history collections and museums, the Munich State Zoological Collection is the world's largest sample provider for global DNA barcoding of animal species. In the overall statistics, the ZSM ranks second, just behind the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics in Guelph, Canada, the center for global DNA barcoding and the Barcode of Life Database (BOLD).

Bavarian Natural History Collections

The Bavarian Natural History Collections (Staatliche Naturwissenschaftliche Sammlungen Bayerns, SNSB) archive around 32 million specimens  – the second largest natural history collection in Germany. The state collections are very broadly positioned with anthropology, paleoanatomy, botany, mineralogy, paleontology, geology and zoology. The scientific collections are used in many ways by research, but they also provide a basis for academic education and numerous exhibitions in the SNSB museums.


Baboons in captivity in Ancient Egypt: insights from a collection of mummies

7. December 2023 | News
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Childhood in medieval Bavaria: What teeth reveal about nutrition and migration

22. November 2023 | Press Releases
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From passerine birds to cranes – Neolithic bird hunting in Upper Mesopotamia

27. September 2023 | Press Releases
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Numbers, data and facts

7 Natural History Collections


zoology, botany,

geology and paleontology,

mineralogy, anthropology und paleoanatomy


32 million specimens


10 Natural History Museums

in Munich, Eichstätt, Bamberg,

Bayreuth, Nördlingen and Nürnberg and the

Botanical Garden München-Nymphenburg

700.000 visitors

30 special exhibitions

per year


Friends and Foes – Mikrofotografien des TRR 356

04.11.2023 - 13.12.2023 - Exhibition
Botanischer Garten München-Nymphenburg

Mikroorganismen sind entscheidend für die Gesundheit von Pflanzen und somit für unsere Ernährungs [...]

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10.11.2023 - 21.01.2024 - Exhibition
Urwelt-Museum Oberfranken

Die besten Bilder des internationalen Fotowettbewerbs für Naturfotografie Ausstellungsort Urwelt-Mu [...]

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Mikrometeoriten. Staub aus dem All – überall

08.12.2023 - 03.11.2024 - Exhibition
RiesKraterMuseum Nördlingen

Nicht nur Asteroiden und Meteoriden kreuzen auf ihrem Weg durchs Weltall die Erdbahn, sondern sehr v [...]

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Why collections matter

Where do we feel changes?

Why collections matter

Everyone talks about climate change – the biological response to climate change is visible in large collections.

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Evolutionary research

Why collections matter

Life on Earth is changing constantly – collections help to reveal and understand the changes.

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Discovering new species

Why collections matter

So far, only about 10% of all multicellular living organisms on Earth have been discovered – new species can only be reliably recognized by comparison with already known species.

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