In recent years, biodiversity research has become increasingly important within modern biology and paleontology. The importance of biodiversity for the conservation and protection of species, fauna and biotopes has also been recognized by politicians. Paleobiology can provide an important and unique aspect in this respect, as it allows the observation of changes in biodiversity over time. Thus, there are opportunities for paleobiologists for the future, and also for the communication of research to the broader public, this topic area offers approaches, since a broader awareness of such questions has been raised.
However, such approaches face a fundamental challenge: biodiversity is basically measured in "number of species". For this purpose, species must be perceived as such. Recently, modern molecular methods have led to a splitting of known species into several new ones. The perception of what a species is therefore seems to be subject to a change, or rather we must ask again: what is the concept of a species? So in paleobiology this is also a question we have to ask ourselves,: What is our species concept?
In the context of discussions at the annual conference of the Paläontologische Gesellschaft in Dresden (2016) and Münster (2017), the Working Group Palaeobiology was founded at the instigation of Kenneth De Baets, Joachim Haug and Alexander Nützel. The underlying idea was to create a forum where palaeontologists with biologically oriented questions, or biologists who deal with fossils, could find a home. Such a forum should also arouse interest among hobby paleontologists. After we had met with interested parties on the last evening of the conference in Münster, a first workshop on the "Artkonzept" as a consolidating meeting took place at the State Zoological Collection Munich (ZSM) on 5.10.2017. Furthermore, Joachim Haug was elected speaker of the research group in a vote with a large majority. Unlike the conferences, this informal workshop allowed open and constructive discussions and exchange of experiences. We hope to continue this concept. Meetings are scheduled to take place during the Annual Meeting of the Paläontologische Gesellschaft.