Research Projects

Current projects

GBOL - German Barcode of Life

GBOL is aiming at the complete recording of the diversity of all animals, fungi and plants occurring in Germany by using DNA barcodes. Objectives are (1) the building of a genetical library containing barcodes, corresponding specimens and tissue, (2) a nation-wide cooperation among taxonomists and scientific networks, and (3) development of efficient strategies to produce barcodes as well as promoting their scientific, economic and conservational use.
14 institutions in Germany are cooperating in GBOL. The coordination of the flowering plant section has been established at the BGBM. Its main tasks are collection of material in the field, registration of data and storage of corresponding specimens and their digitaliziation.

Duration of the project is until 30 April 2015. It is financed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Integration of ex-situ- and in-situ-measures of endangered species of flowering plants in Germany– a model project in the context of implementing the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC)

Conservation of endangered species needs to consider infraspecific patterns of variability, in order to maintain vivid populations adapted to differing ecological conditions, which have a good potential to survive in the future. Current patterns of genetic diversity are heavily influenced by the evolutionary history of species in time and space. In addition, there are fundamental effects of reproductive systems which not only govern the structure of gene pools but also affect how a species is affected by human influence such as habitat fragmentation. This project, focusing on endangered plant species native to Germany, therefore analyses the genetic structure of populations and the relationships among them as a basis to develop species conservation strategies that integrate ex situ and in situ measures as appropriate.

Seven flowering plant species were selected as model and are studied with molecular tools (nuclear microsatellites, AFLPs, chloroplast haplotypes): Arnica montana , Arnoseris minima, Crepis mollis, Dactylorhiza majalis, Festuca psammophila, Nymphaea candida und Scabiosa canescens. Research goals span the assessment of the distribution of different genotypes, the localization of refugial areas, and the estimation of gene flow between populations. The results will then lead to the formulation of a conservation strategy for each species. Including stakeholders from relevant conservation authorities, administrative bodies, NGOs and practitioners, recommendations for the implementation of respective measures will be developed.

The project is supported by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation with funds of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, which are provided in the context of the German environmental research plan. Duration of the project is until 30 April 2016. Private donations at the BGBM complement the research in order to include populations from other European parts of the species‘ range (Arnica, Crepis und Dactylorhiza) and to reconstruct their complete evolutionary histories.

The Caucasus Plant Biodiversity Initiative

The Caucasus ecoregion constitutes one of the biologically most diverse areas in the northern hemisphere. The Caucasus Plant Biodiversity Initiative was established together with partners in the region to strengthen scientific capacities and collaboration. Activities are currently implemented in collaboration with the principal botanical institutions from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Russia. The long term scientific goal is to better understand the evolution of Caucasian plant diversity and the factors shaping diversity patterns at the population, species and ecosystem levels, including a robust taxonomic framework. Results are intended to support conservation and land-use planning, and sustainable use of plant diversity. Research is currently focusing on evolution, biogeography and taxonomy of selected flowering plant genera (Pyrus, Campanula, Dianthus, Jurinea and Scutellaria). Work is also done on the phylogeography and conservation genetics of selected Arcto-Tertiary trees (Gleditsia, Pterocarya and Zelkova) and on the diversity and taxonomy of bryophytes and lichens. Research results on these exemplar groups are used to build up an on-line data base as a standard data source for plant diversity of the Caucasus. A further goal is to improve human capacities through academic education (e.g. in the form of PhD projects) and practical training. Finally, our aim is to raise public awareness of the Caucasian plant diversity.

The project “Developing tools for conserving the plant diversity of the South Caucasus” is supported by the VolkswagenStiftung in the programme “Between Europe and the orient”. Further support comes from the Verein der Freunde des Botanischen Gartens und Botanischen Museums Berlin e.V. and the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdiensts (DAAD).

Erstellung der Roten Listen 2020 – Vorbereitungsphase

Red Lists of animals, plants and fungi are scientific reports documenting the actual level of threat for endangered species in a certain area. The German Red Lists are comprehensive species lists (including non-threatened organisms) published by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN, Bonn) and updated every 10 years. The project aims to renew the Red List preparation process in order to facilitate the long-time collaboration of scientists, federal and regional authorities as well as contributing citizens and volunteers interested in nature conservation. One of the main tasks during this initial phase of the project is to investigate IT-tools to simplify both the up-to-date assessment of species data from all over Germany as well as the processing of these data.
This is a 3-year research and development project (2011-2014) funded by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz, BfN).

Botanical Node for GBIF-Germany

The German Botanical Node of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility has been established at the BGBM in close collaboration with ten German botanical institutions and five other partner institutions as part of the German contribution to GBIF International. It represents all flowering plants, ferns, and mosses and also puts a special accent on algae and protists.The project at the BGBM supports the German botanical community in their efforts to mobilise botanical data using the BioCASE software and to create a German Virtual Herbarium.
The project is financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the GBIF-D Programme. Duration of the project is until 31 December 2013.

Coordination of the GBIF-D Node System

Germany is one of the founding nations of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). Main objective of the GBIF-D project is the focussed collection and mobilisation of suitable data within Germany's research community and natural history collections as well as of the available observation data.
The BGBM is coordinating this 6-partner project to ensure the technical and organisational cohesion of the eight Nodes in the German GBIF system:  

  • BGBM Berlin-Dahlem responsible for Coordination
  • DSMZ Braunschweig responsible for Bacteria & Archaea
  • BGBM Berlin-Dahlem responsible for Plants & Protists
  • BSM München responsible for Fungi & Lichens
  • MfN Berlin responsible for Insects
  • ZSM München responsible for Invertebrates II
  • Senckenberg Frankfurt responsible for Invertebrates III
  • ZFMK Bonn responsible for Vertebrates
  • MfN Berlin responsible for Fossils

GBIF-D is financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the GBIF-D Programme. Duration: until 31 December 2013.


Permanent online resources

PESI /EU-Nomen

PESI stands for Pan-European Species directories Infrastructure. Authoritative species name registers are not only essential for taxonomy but important for information systems dealing with species of conservation, pest or commercial relevance as well. PESI enhances the quality and reliability of such European registers by integrating community networks of taxonomic experts into a joint work programme.
In the project (2008-2011, funded by the EU under FP7) the BGBM lead the integration of the European Register of Marine Species, Fauna Europaea and Euro+Med Plantbase into a joint information system. The joint PESI infrastructure is maintained with the partners as an activity of the BGBM’s Biodiversity Informatics Group and in projects such as EU-BON.

Euro + Med Plantbase

Originally a research and development project (11 partners, 1.8.2000 - 30.7.2003) financed under the European Commission's 5th Framework Programme. The BGBM was responsible for software development and provided part of the basic dataset (Med-Checklist). After the conclusion of the EU-funded project, the Secretariat moved to the BGBM. The Euro+Med initiative and checklist was and is sustained in the framework of several projects and as a core activity of the BGBM’s Euromediterranean Area Research Group.