The section Quaternary macrofloras was founded in 2008 in the course of an expansion of the palaeo-botanical research in Weimar.
Botanical macro-remains provide detailed information on the local vegetation, environments and climate of the past. Macrofossil studies are therefore an essential tool in palaeoecological studies, especially when combined with palynological analyses, which provide a picture of the regional vegetation at a finer temporal resolution.
The main focus of current research is the reconstruction of vegetation and environmental dynamics in Central Europe and in the non-glaciated regions of the Arctic during both cold and warm stages of the Quaternary. The study of plant macro-remains is also contributing information on possible causes of biotic depauperation during the latest warming about 11,000 years ago.
The projects carried out in this section are included in the Senckenberg research field RF III Biodiversity and Climate.
More than 10,500 specimen, mainly plant incrustations in travertine deposits from Ehringsdorf, Burgtonna and Weimar as well as in consolidated Laach Lake tephra from Sinzig (Rhineland-Palatinate) constitute the section‘s palaeobotanical collection. In addition, about 500 series of fossil plant remains such as seeds, fruits and leaf fragments from Central European lacustrine sequences and arctic permafrost deposits are available.
A herbarium and an appendant carpological collection with foci on Europe, Siberia, East Asia, and Alaska is being used as a reference for the identification of the plant fossils and constantly expanded (currently about 4,700 specimens).
The collection is part of the Herbarium Senckenbergianum. These botanical-mycological collections of the Senckenberg Research Institutes are spread – besides Weimar – over 3 places: Frankfurt/M., Görlitz and Wilhelmshaven.
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