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Biodiversity and Plant Systematics

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
ed.grebledieh-inu.soc TEA hcok.sucram

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

Crucis-cover.jpg Evolutionary and biodiversity research in our department is focusing on various levels of biological variation - from molecules to landscapes. In our department we are addressing questions on 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].

For many of the projects we are focusing on cruciferous plants (mustard family, Brassicaceae). Our aim is to develop this group of more than 3990 species into one of the most important model systems on the family level and below - in basic but also in applied research. This 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 various locations as hold also for example at our department. Here, 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. Dmitry German, Dr. Eva Wolf: BrassiBase - a knowledge database on Brassicaceae diversity  (DFG - SPP1529 )

Mag. Nikolaus Schröder: The Werner Rauh heritage project  (Tschira Foundation )


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.


group-total.jpg  ...  and you ...?


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 "Innovations_Stars_XX.jpg. 

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 Founding and advisory board member Heidelberg Centre for the Environment 
LOGO.jpg Founding and Chairman BIODIVERSITY Research Center at Heidelberg University 
IPK-logo.jpg Member Scientific Advisory Board IPK Gatersleben 
Ruperto Carola Editorial Advisory Board Ruperto Carola 














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