The Leibniz Institutes of the Leibniz Research Alliance on Biodiversity (LVB) explore the diversity of life at all levels and develop measures and tools for its protection and sustainable use. The term ‘biodiversity’ (or ‘biological diversity’) refers not only to genetic diversity and the diversity of species and habitats, but also includes the diverse functional relationships and complex interactions within and among these levels across all scales. The various goods and services - referred to as ecosystem services - which form the basis of life for humankind are also the subject of biodiversity research. The overall examination of biological diversity, including its abiotic and biotic compartments, and its relationships with economy, society, and politics requires an integrated approach involving inter- and transdisciplinary research groups. The LVB has set itself the task of fulfilling these requirements.