On 11 October 2016, the Senate of the Helmholtz Association decided to establish the Helmholtz Institute for Functional Marine Biodiversity. The HIFMB is jointly founded by the Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung in Bremerhavenen (AWI) and the Carl von Ossietzky Universität in Oldenburg.

Through linkage of this joint research with other relevant partnering institutions in NW-Germany, nationwide and throughout the world, the Helmholtz Institute for Functional Marine Biodiversity develops into a key centre in its scientific field (⇒ Mission statement).