The Zoological Museum of Kiel has scientifically very valuable, only partially-developed collections spanning three centuries, including material from internationally important expeditions of the 19th Century (eg Galathea Expedition 1845-1847, Möbius collection (around 1875), German deep-sea expedition (1898 - 1899), Original Gifts from Kaiser Wilhelm II (1898 - 1908) and the so-called date trips from 1902 to 1912 (world's first scientific sampling of North and Baltic Sea). Overall, the museum currently houses approximately 400,000 objects. At present these collections are newly recorded and positioned.

Their scientific significance can hardly be overestimated: Collections are the basis of each taxonomically systematic, ecological, and biogeographically oriented fundamental research as well as applied environment-related research. They are in their historical, biological and cultural references a valuable heritage, often acquired at considerable expense, its permanent preservation and maintenance is one of the essential tasks of the museum.

Collections represent archives of life that can provide answers to many scientific questions. The collections document the dynamics of change of the biosphere; they preserve evidence of changes in biodiversity, either through evolutionary processes in geologically long or short periods, or through man-made transformation of habitats.

Thus, the collections have, on the one hand, a function as ecological archives by documenting certain situations in one place and at a particular time. On the other hand, they are archives of scientific concepts and identifications. The focus is set on species concepts and species identifications. They are of importance, because the whole scientific biological system is founded on the unique assignment of individuals to certain species. It is very important for many areas of research to know exactly what species you are working with. To achieve uniqueness in species determination, each species on earth is defined and so-called type specimens are assigned that will be deposited in a museum.

The species name is inseparably linked with the type specimen, regardless of taxonomic rearrangements. All other individuals, who will be assigned to the same species, have to be calibrated according to this "original meter", to the type specimen. Clearly identifiable features enable comparability and development of concepts. Only with reference to the underlying collection objects it is possible to calibrate earlier statements in today's scientific coordinate system.

Therefore, it is a central task of the museum to maintain the collections by highly qualified personnel and to keep them up to date.