Mögliches Headerbild Aktuelles

Botany und Molecular Evolution



In the course of the BMBF project EvoBoGa aiming at establishing barcoding in Bromeliaceae Georg Zizka attended the International Barcode of Life conference 16-21 June 2019 in Trondheim.


Within the framework of the project meeting “Cities dare wilderness” (project funding BMU/BfN) from 19-20 Sept 2019 in Dessau-Roßlau (Senckenberg participants: Indra Starke-Ottich, Georg Zizka) the Muldeauen area were paid a visit.

Senckenberg botanists meet in Görlitz

From 17-19 Sept 2019 the Senckenberg botanists from Frankfurt, Görlitz, Weimar and Wilhelmshaven met in Görlitz. Important topics were research cooperation and joint projects, as well as the cross-location coordination of processes and development concepts in the collection area. An excursion to the biosphere reserve Lausitzer Teichlandschaft took place on Sept 18th which also offered some botanical and zoological delicacies.
Many thanks to the colleagues in Görlitz for the successful organization!

Excursion to the Kühkopf

On September 3rd, 2019, an excursion of the department to the Kühkopf area took place with the participation of of our volunteers. The biggest Hessian nature reserve and the nature conservation centre was kindly demonstrated by Ralph Baumgärtel, Director of the Environmental Education Centre.
Many thanks to him and to Thomas Gregor for the organisation.

(06.08.2019) Once upon a time …

The demolition of the old building of the Department of Botany and Molecular Evolution on the former Senckenberg site at the Kuhwaldstraße 55 is in full swing. However, in view of our beautiful new rooms and, above all, the larger, modern collection rooms in the Jügelhaus, we do not look back with too much melancholy …

News 2019

(04.06.2019) Expedition to Malawi

A three-week expedition led various members of the department to Malawi.

Together with Dr. Florian Jabbour from the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle in Paris and Hassam Patel from the National Herbarium in Zomba, Elke Faust, Dr. Marco Schmidt and Dr. Stefan Dressler from Frankfurt were looking for lark-spurs.

The aim of the project is a more precise knowledge of the taxonomic structure of the afromontane Delphinium species. The trip, financially supported by the National Geographic Society, was extremely successful. In addition to collecting the taxa we were looking for, a lot of pictures were taken for the African Plants photoguide project.

(27.05.2019) Award

Our colleague Rainer Döring was awarded for his honorary engagement with the Letter of Honour of the State of Hesse and the Silver Plaque of Honour of the city of Nidderau.


(11.04.2019) Visit from Zanzibar

John Ndege, curator of Migombani Botanic Garden, Unguya Island, Zanzibar, Tanzania, visited us on 4th and 5th April 2019. He studied plants from coastal Kenya and Tanzania but was also interested in general management of a herbarium, since the establishment of a herbarium collection at the Zanzibar garden is among his many tasks.

(09.04.2019) Evo-BoGa meeting in Frankfurt

On 5th April 2019, participants from Berlin, Bonn, Frankfurt (Palmengarten and Senckenberg), Göttingen, Heidelberg and Munich of the “Evo-BoGa” project (BMBF-funded) met in the rooms of the botany department to discuss progress. The aim of the project is to make the living collections of botanical gardens more accessible through a common portal for research, teaching and species protection, and to facilitate the identification of species through the use of molecular methods.

(05.04.2019) Congratulations!

Sascha Heller completed his doctorate on the Evolution of the Bromelioideae on 29th March 2019 with the disputation. Despite him being working outside botany for some time now, a number of planned publications in cooperation with Elton Leme and the “Bromelistas” of the department should now be finalized.

As the youngest member of the department Sabine Rengers son Erik took part in the following reception (non-alcoholic drinks!). We wish Sascha all the best for the future!

(21.03.2019) Google Arts & Culture on herbaria

A short virtual exhibition on the invention and use of herbaria was recently released in the context of Google Arts and Culture. This project was made with the help of the Herbarium Senckenbergianum Frankfurt/M. (FR) and shows some of our collection pieces.

(28.02.2019) Remaining faithful to the bromeliads ...

Our former department member Ulf Soltau stayed faithful to the bromeliads and attracted the interest of DB magazine with its appealing mini-greenhouses – in reminiscence to Nathaniel Ward.

(06.02.2019) Coordination meeting of "Cities dare wilderness"

On 4 and 5 February 2019 we hosted the coordination meeting of the BMU project “Cities dare wilderness” in the botany department. 26 persons from Dessau-Roßlau, Hannover and Frankfurt presented the results of the scientific studies on the biodiversity on the “wilderness areas” and the results of the visitor surveys.

The meeting took place in the seminar room of the botany department – here the participants during the workshop “environmental education”.

A short film informs about the aims of the project.

News 2018

(29.11.2018) Klaus Tschira Foundation supports development of Carl Bosch's moss herbarium

The well-known Nobel Prize winner and former CEO of BASF, Carl Bosch, was not only a successful chemist and manager, but also an enthusiastic naturalist and collector. Since the 1960s, the Senckenberg Research Institute has been preserving his collections of beetles, molluscs, lichens and bryophytes, a total of several 100,000 specimens. The Klaus Tschira Foundation has now granted 87,500 euros to re-mount and make the original moss collection of around 17,000 samples digitally accessible. The project application was prepared mainly by our volunteer Dr. Gerhard Winter. A “Citizen Science Project” in two senses! 

(08.11.2018) Networking meeting of Senckenberg botanists and palaeobotanists took place from 5th to 7th November in Frankfurt

27 colleagues from Dresden, Frankfurt, Görlitz, Jena, Weimar took part in this year’s networking meeting, Mona Hoppenrath from Wilhelmshaven was connected on Nov. 5th by video conference. An important topic was the exchange with the Senckenberg palaeobotanists about possible cooperation and future projects.

The conference took place mainly in the very aptly fitted new seminar room. An important part of the program was the exchange of ideas between palaeobotanists and botanists about possible cooperations (here, on the right, Lutz Kunzmann during his presentation).
Further items were reports on planning, construction and moving collections (SNMG is currently planning the new building), project reports, coordination with regards to the curating of the herbarium collections and, above all, considerations on cross-locational strategies and third-party funded projects. Not to forget the coffee and lunch breaks as an important opportunity for exchange on a wide variety of topics.

Especially in Görlitz, the planning of new collection rooms is an important current topic. The new collection rooms of the Botanik Frankfurt found interest, the “new danger” paperfish was also a theme.
The programme was rounded off by a guided tour through the new collection rooms, the science garden at the Riedberg and an excursion to the Schwanheimer Alteichen and to the Rohsee.

The new collection and functional rooms, but also the new guest rooms and the bistro in the Jügelhaus were rated very positive. We are already looking forward to the next meeting in Görlitz (probably June 2019).

(26.10.2018) Move accomplished = Herbarium reopened

Since 1 October 2018, the Herbarium Senckenbergianum Frankfurt/M. (FR) is operational again at its new location. The collections are now all housed in air-conditioned and protected rooms in compact units. Together with the offices the botany department is now located in the Jügelhaus in Mertonstraße in the museum complex at Senckenberganlage 25.

(16.10., ergänzt 17.10.2018) "Monocots VI" conference in Natal

From 6-14th Oct. 2018 Fabian Bratzel, Juraj Paule and Georg Zizka participated in the”6th International Conference on Comparative Biology of Monocotyledons – Monocots VI” in Natal, Brazil, which also included the “2nd World Congress of Bromeliaceae Evolution – Bromevo II” (Abstract volume).

The department was represented with the organization of a session (Recent advances in Bromelioideae systematics) together with our cooperation partner Elton Leme as well as 3 lectures and 1 poster. More than 400 participants provided for an extensive program, excursions led into the coastal forest vegetation on sand (Restinga and elements of the Mata Atlântica).

(08.10.2018) Visit to Helsinki

From 13 to 15 September, lichen curator Christian Printzen visited the Botanical Museum of the University of Helsinki as opponent of Annina Launis, who successfully defended her doctoral thesis on the systematics and conservation of the lichen genus Micarea on 14 September.

The defence took place in the historic Nylander Hall according to old university tradition and was celebrated with an evening reception and dinner in the Botanical Garden.


(05.10.2018) BLAM elects new council

The Bryological-Lichenological Working Group for Central Europe (BLAM) elected a new council at its general meeting on 24 August 2018 in Immensee in the Allgäu (Bavaria). Christian Printzen, in his spare time curator for cryptogams in the Department of Botany and Molecular Evolutionary Research, was elected as the new chairman.

(05.10.2018) DFG-funded project „Lecanomics“ picks up speed

On July 1, Cristóbal Ivanovich from Punta Arenas in Chile took up his PhD position at the department. Cristóbal will investigate the molecular systematics and species delimitations within the large lichen genus Lecanora within the project “Lecanomics” funded by the DFG priority program “Taxon-omics”. 
Species of this genus can be found in practically all terrestrial ecosystems worldwide. In the last 50 years alone about 250 new species have been described. The project is supported by a worldwide network of cooperation partners.

On September 20, Yanyun Zhang from Kunming in China joined the Lecanomics team for another year. As part of her doctoral thesis supervised by Prof. Dr. Wang Lisong, she is working on the genus Rhizoplaca in China, which is closely related to Lecanora. From July 19 – August 6, Christian Printzen visited the Iranian partner Prof. Dr. Mohammad Sohrabi to collect samples in forests along the Caspian Sea. The region is known for its well-preserved deciduous forests.

(11.09.2018) Almost done...

The relocation of the Department of Botany and Molecular Evolution Research to the Jügelhaus is expected to be completed in October 2018. The colleagues have been working in the new offices for ten days now. Only the Grunelius-Möllgaard molecular lab and the DNA archive operated by the department are still temporarily housed in the Maria-Sibylla-Merian-Haus and will move to their final location in the Reimersbau in 2019.

(10.09.2018) Forum Citizen Science: "Gemeinsam mehr erreichen"

On September 6 and 7, 2018, Senckenberg hosted the “Forum Citizen Science” with more than 100 participants.

The Botany Department presented two of its Citizen Science projects (Flora von Frankfurt, presented by Indra Starke-Ottich and African Plants – A Photo Guide, presented by Stefan Dressler) and was also involved with a short lecture. The biodiversity databases of the Botany Department have tens of thousands of visitors every year.

(16.08.2018) Natur • Forschung • Museum 148 (4-6)

New contributions to our member magazine “Natur • Forschung • Museum” concerning the use of herbarium specimens:

We congratulate Rainer Döring to his 40th anniversary of working for Senckenberg and thank him for his constant service for our botany department.

(13.04.2018) Meeting of Bryological-Lichenological Working Group for Central Europe (BLAM)

From 20 to 22 April 2018, more than 100 moss and lichen experts from Central Europe will meet at the Senckenberg Natural History Museum in Frankfurt and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Bryological-Lichenological Working Group for Central Europe (BLAM).

Organised by Dr. Christian Printzen, curator of cryptogams, civil scientists who have made mosses and lichens and their research their hobby meet with experts. The conference programme will be supplemented by excursions to the old Botanical Garden of the Goethe University and the Taunus as well as a small art exhibition.

(13.04.2018) Removal at full swing

Being closed since January the removal of the Herbarium Senckenbergianum Frankfurt is curently taking place: more than 1.2 million specimens are being relocated from the old premises in Kuhwaldstraße to the newly refurbished air-conditioned collection rooms in the old university building (Jügel-Haus) next to the main museum building.

The material is being deep-frozen at – 40°C for one week as a pest-control measure in two freezer containers. The collection removal is planned to last till May 2018, the offices are scheduled to move in Sept. 2018. We expect to open the herbarium again for visitors in October 2018.

Since Apr 9th the Grunelius-Möllgaard-Lab (GML) moved temporarily for 1 year into the Senckenberg Biodiversität und Klima-Forschungszentrum (M.S. Merian building) (SBiK-F gratefully acknowledged). The GML will be welcoming its users on 22nd Apr 2018. Its final location in 2019 will be the lab wing of the Reimersbau.

(13.04.2018) Project meeting at Senckenberg

On 19 March 2018, the first project meeting of the BMBF funded project “Botanical Gardens Plant Collections: Living Resources for Integrative Evolutionary Research” (Evo-BoGa) took place in Frankfurt.

The project is coordinated by the Botanical Garden and Museum Berlin-Dahlem (BGBM), the aim of which is to make the collections of cacti and bromeliads in German Botanical Gardens more accessible and usable.

Project partners are University of Heidelberg (Prof. Dr. Marcus Koch) and the Senckenberg Department of Botany (Juraj Paule, Georg Zizka). We use molecular methods to determine bromeliads and reconstruct the phylogeny. Since 1st Feb. 2018, Dr. Fabian Bratzel employed in this project, Mrs. Nadine Cyrannek is writing her master thesis on this topic.

(19.02.2018) Collecting trip to south Chile and Livingston Island

Senckenberg botanist Christian Printzen is currently sampling lichen populations for his DFG project “Dispersal and genetic exchange of lichen populations between Patagonia and the Antarctic Peninsula”. After a week of field work in southern Chile he embarked on 17 February together with his colleagues Ulrike Ruprecht (University of Salzburg, Austria) und Ulrik Söchting (University of Copenhagen, Denmark) on the “BIO Hesperides” to Livingston Island.