Systematic Botany and Geography of Plants

Research group of Prof. Dr. Thomas Borsch

The Borsch group at Freie Universität Berlin is part of the Institute of Biology and a member of the Dahlem Center of Plant Sciences. We investigate different aspects of the evolution of flowering plants.

Head: Prof. Dr. Thomas Borsch

The main focus of Prof. Dr. Thomas Borsch is the reconstruction of the phylogeny of the flowering plants as well as the emergence of biological diversity, which he investigates on model groups like the Amaranthaceae and Nymphaeaceae. He also concentrates on morphology and ultrastructure of pollen as taxonomic characters. Another focus lies on the sustainable use of biological diversity and genetic resources.

Postdoc: Michael Grünstäudl, PhD

The research interests of Michael Grünstäudl, PhD focus on three areas: (a) phylogeny reconstruction with complete plastid genomes ("phylogenomics") using next-generation sequencing data, (b) the application of bioinformatic models in hybrid identification and the reconstruction of the biogeographic history of a plant lineage, and (c) the use of coalescent models in inferring gene and species trees. Particular focus is currently placed on the order Nymphaeales as well as the sunflower family (Asteraceae).

Postdoc: Dr. Katja Reichel

Dr. Katja Reichel wants to understand how plant evolution works. To this end she combines a wide variety of approaches, from mathematical models through DNA analyses to ecological methods. She is particularly intrigued by the frequent ability of plants to reproduce asexually, which might in turn shed some light on the evolution of sex. Her current research is in the areas of theoretical population genetics and conservation genetics.

 

Teaching

We are involved in several courses offered by the Institute of Biology. In the Bachelor programmes, we contribute to the Grundmodul "Botanik und Biodiversität" (Botany and Biodiversity), the Vertiefungsmodul "Biodiversität und Evolution von Pflanzen/Tieren" (Biodiversity and Evolution of Plants/Animals) and the Aufbaumodul "Systematische Biologie" (Systematic Biology). We also provide a variety of courses at the Master level.

Interested in evolutionary botany?

We are always looking for interested students to work in our group. Within the areas described above, we offer research internships, Bachelor-, Master- and  Doctoral theses. Beside standard molecular lab methods (e.g. DNA isolation, PCR, gel electrophoresis) our different fields of activity will allow you to acquire a wide variety of skills. Please contact us for further information!