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Having these facilities with their analytical potential close at hand is an added bonus, as they allow scientists from various disciplines to work together. On-site interdisciplinary research makes the Museum a unique research institution.

The labs are available to Museum staff, students (BSc, MSc), doctoral students, postdocs and external guest scientists for their research projects. Please contact the responsible members of staff for any further queries.

Electron optics equipment

Scanning electron microscopes

Transmission electron microscopes

  • LEO 906 TEM for routine morphological studies at 60 kV; with digital (Proscan, 2k) and analogous photography
    Contact: Dr. Carsten LüterAnke Sänger

Microanalytical laboratory

Electron beam probe

  • JEOL JXA-8500F with field emission cathode and five wavelength-dispersive spectrometers for the microanalysis of elements, including boron and uranium.
    Contact: PD Dr. Lutz HechtPeter Czaja

Raman spectrometer

XRF handheld spectrometer

  • Mobile x-ray fluorescence spectrometer Bruker Tracer IV for non-destructive chemical analysis of major and trace elements with spatial resolution of about 5mm. Contact: PD Dr. Lutz Hecht

Stable isotope laboratory

  • DELTA V Advantage mass spectrometer with GasBench II for the preparation of carbon samples and integrated autosampler A200S
  • DELTA V Advantage mass spectrometer with Finnigan ConFlo IV permanent flow interface connected to Thermo Flash EA 1112 element analyser
  • DELTA Plus mass spectrometer with GasBench II for the preparation of carbon samples and integrated autosampler A200S
  • A cavity ring-down spectrometer PICARRO Model L1102-with a PAL autosampler for isotope analysis of dD and d18O in water samples

Types of samples to be analysed

Organic material can be reliably analysed from sample sizes of at least 10 micrograms of nitrogen and 50 micrograms of carbon. C and N concentrations should therefore be tested in sample material. Samples should be in powder form and sufficient quantities. The same applies to sediments or rock samples. For instance, if the organic carbon content in sediment samples is to be determined the samples must first be decalcified with 2 N HCl. Chloride compounds that formed during the reaction with hydrochloric acid must be washed out with distilled water. Sample material that has been treated with tracer N or C must be marked as such, and the proportion of tracer should not exceed 10 atom%. Otherwise, the quality of the analyses cannot be guaranteed.

Carbonate samples should also be in powder form. 50 to 400 micrograms of CaCO3 are needed for a reliable analysis. If a sample has been diluted by other components, this must be flagged up to avoid unnecessary repetitions of the analysis.

Liquid samples can be tested for their oxygen and hydrogen isotope ratios in H2O and their carbon isotope ration in diluted inorganic carbon (DIC). Please contact the isotope laboratory in advance to arrange for taking and fixating such samples.

Contact:  PD Dr. Ulrich StruckMarianne Falk

Molecular genetic lab

Pre- and post- PCR areas, as well as sensitive NGS/ RNA and cloning areas are separated from each other in different lab rooms.  In our new ancient DNA laboratory, museum materials and other specific samples can be processed from now on. Commonly used lab supplies and reagents can be obtained via our lab supply storage. Three technical assistants provide methodical support as well as teaching, equipment supervision and support with developing project strategies.

Methods applied by molecular genetic lab

  • DNA isolation (manual and automated)
  • RNA extraction
  • Next Generation Sequencing Library Preparation
  • Hybrid capture
  • Microsatellites
  • Fragment Analysis
  • PCR
  • Gelelectrophoresis
  • Cloning
  • In situ hybridization
  • Immunostaining
  • Bioinformatic support

Lab equipment

  • Qiagen Biosprint 96 (automated DNA Isolation)
  • Minilys Homogenizer (Bead homogenizer)
  • Qiagen Tissue Ruptor (handheld rotor-stator homogenizer)
  • Agilent Bioanalyzer (Fragment Analyzer; DNA and RNA)
  • NanoDrop (UV- Vis Spectrophotometer)
  • Qubit 2.0 (Fluorometer)
  • GelDoc  (Gel image and documentation system)
  • LiCore (DNA Analyzer)
  • Several Thermocycler
  • Several Microscopes with image documentation
  • Autoclave
  • Lab Water System (Typ I/ II)

The Museum für Naturkunde is a consortium member of the “Berlin Center for Genomics in Biodiversity Research” (BeGenDiv).  As a facility BeGenDiv provides lab equipment like Illumina MiSeq and Illumina NextSeq Sequencer. For detailed information please click here.

Contact: Dr. Jörg Plötner (laboratory head), Christian Mitgutsch, Robert Schreiber, Isabelle Waurick (Technical Assistants), Jose Grau (Bioinformatics)

Geochemistry labs

X-ray fluorescence spectrometer

Rock preparation and processing

Bioacoustics lab

  • Laser Doppler Vibrometer Polytec PDV-100

Contact: Prof. Dr. Hannelore Hoch

X-ray imaging

Light optical microscopy

Polarising microscopy

  • Various polarising microscopes, some with reflectors (LEITZ DM RXP and ZEISS Axio scope) with photo and video functions (analogue and digital)
  • U-Tisch
  • 2 OLYMPUS stereo microscope with photo and video function
  • Image processing system
    Contact: Dr. Ansgar GreshakeKirsten Born

Cathodoluminescence microscope

Fluorescence microscopy


  • Leica Z16 APO A with batch processing of images
    Contact: Lukas Kirschey
  • ZEISS Axioplan 2 with batch processing of images
    Contact: Dr. Peter Giere

Confocal laser scanning microscope

Preparation labs


Thin section preparation


Electron microscopy