Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
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Biodiversität und Pflanzensystematik

Prof. Dr. Marcus Koch

Prof. Dr. Marcus Koch
Prof. Dr. Marcus Koch
Im Neuenheimer Feld 345
69120 Heidelberg
Fon +49 6221 54-4655
Fax +49 6221 54-5508
marcus.koch AET

Sprechzeit: Mittwochs 11:00  - 12:00 Uhr (bitte vorher vereinbaren, please arrange with Claudia Hauber)

  • Das Tragen eines Mundschutzes ist für die Studierenden Pflicht.
  • Der Zugang zu den Räumlichkeiten von Prof. Koch erfolgt ausschließlich nur durch das Sekretariat.



Evolutionary and biodiversity research in our department is focusing on levels of biological variation varying from molecules to landscapes but always focusing on organismal biology. We are addressing questions of

1) systematics and phylogenetic relationships among plant species,

2) phylo-biogeography (the distribution of genetic variation in space and time),

3) the evolution of molecular marker systems (from single genes to whole genomes),

4) adaptation processes and character trait evolution,

5) genome evolution,

6) speciation processes, breeding system evolution and differentiation on the population level,

7) developmental-molecular processes underlying sexual and asexual reproduction (apomixis) [group of Anja Schmidt],

and 8) structure, morphology and evolution of angiosperm flowers [group of Claudia Erbar].

Crucis-cover.jpgResearch Highlight For many of the projects we are focusing on cruciferous plants (mustard family, Brassicaceae). Our aim is to develop this group of more than 4000 species into one of the most important model systems of dicot plants - on the family level and below. This plant family provides some great advantages and opportunities because of a broad spectrum of methods and techniques available, well-established theoretical concepts, but also because of the many resources such as databases, DNA libaries, complete genome sequences from various species, or large germ-plasm collections at hand. Our group has build up major resources from germplasm to "knowledge" databases such as BrassiBase. Our collections are focusing on "wild populations" to elaborate the significance of genetic variation and diversity for evolution and speciation.

A first overview on our various activities might be obtained by screening some publications of our group or detailed descriptions of some selected projects.



Actually our department consists of various Resarch Groups and working teams:

Research Groups:


Dr. Anja Schmidt:  Apomictic and sexual plant reproduction.

Dr. Markus Kiefer: Technology platforms, development and scientific administration


We are regularly offering open positions for the opportunity to obtain a Bachelor-, Master- or PhD-degree.

A larger number of projects is focusing on various biodiversity aspects, especially CONSERVATION GENETICS of endangered European and Asian plant species and KNOWLEDGE DATABASES of biological resources and biodiversity. The "Biodiversity Research Center " has been awarded in 2010/2011 as "Innovation Star" by Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region. The Biodiversity research center is an institutional member of the Heidelberg Centre for the Environment (HCE).

Broader aspects of biodiversity are elaborated within the interdisziplinary research framework of the in 2011 founded Heidelberg Centre for the Environment .

The "Biodiversity and Plant Systematics" department is also closely associated with the Heidelberg Botanic Garden and Herbarium (HEID)   with its director Prof. Dr. Marcus Koch. Numerous research projects are largely dependent on the greenhouse facilities, gardeners expertise and the herbarium (HEID) with its more than 350.000 collection objects.


Additional activities:


Editor-in-Chief Plant Systematics and Evolution (PSE) 
Associate Editor Perspectives in Plant Ecology and Evolution (PPEES) 
Elected member Akademie fuer oekologische Landesforschung 
JungeUniversität.jpg Leiter GrüneSchule Junge Universität Heidelberg 

Schriftzug Marsilius-Kolleg

Awarded member 2013-2014 Marsilius Kolleg 
HCE-Logo.jpg Deputy Managing Director Heidelberg Centre for the Environment 
LOGO.jpg Head BIODIVERSITY Research Center at Heidelberg University 
Ruperto Carola Editorial Advisory Board Ruperto Carola 














/var/www/cos/ / Prof. Dr. Marcus Koch