The Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources carries out research on various microfossil groups, deriving from both the animal and the plant kingdom. Due to the small size of the fossils, zoological and botanical micropaleontologists essentially need a light microscope or scanning electron microscope for their scientific analyses.
High-resolution, biostratigraphic age determination on the basis of microfossils deriving from marine and continental sediments, as well as the reconstruction of past depositional environments and conditions, demand a high degree of specialization in selected fossil groups. At the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, zoological micropaleontologists mainly investigate the remains of foraminifers (protozoans), ostracodes (crustaceans) and conodonts (tooth-like fossils). Micro-paleobotanists specialize on pollen and spores, dinocysts (unicellular algae), calcareous nannoplankton (marine phytoplankton) and diatoms.