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Dr. Katja Reichel


Institut für Biologie

Systematic Botany and Plant Geography


Population and conservation genetics

Freie Universität Berlin
Institut für Biologie
Altensteinstr. 6
Room 2.07
14195 Berlin


since 2016 Researcher (Postdoc)
Systematic Botany and Plant Geography, Freie Universität Berlin 
2018-20 severe illness
2015 Doctorat: Biologie et Agronomie
Agrocampus Ouest, Rennes (France) 
2012-15 Chercheur doctorant / PhD student
Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) 
2012 Diplom: Biology
Technische Universität Dresden 
2011-12 Diplom student / Scientific assistant
Senckenberg Museum für Naturkunde Görlitz 
2011 Lab assistant
Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research (CANBR) 
2011 Graduate Certificate of Science: Tropical Ecology & Conservation
James-Cook-University, Townsville (Australia) 
2009 Research intern
Nationalpark Harz 
2008-10 Student assistant
Institut für Botanik, Technische Universität Dresden 
2006 Abitur



Winter semester

[ Basismodul Botanik und Biodiversität (23108) ] 

Allgemeine Berufsvorbereitung Populationsgenetik (23205)

Summer semester

Vertiefungsmodul Evolution und Diversität der Tiere/Pflanzen (23125)

[ Aufbaumodul Systematische Biologie (23173/4/5) ]


[ Journal Club Plant Systematics & Evolution (EN, every second week) ]

The BCP Department's Code of Conduct applies in all my courses.


Clonality in Arnica montana L. (Asteraceae)

Throughout the species' range, wild populations of the well-known medicinal plant Arnica montana (montain arnica) are considered to be under threat. At the same time, it is unclear which role the plants' capability to reproduce vegetatively (clonality) has in maintaining the remaining populations. We test different approaches to meassure the frequency of clonality in mountain arnica populations based on genetic data.

Team: Luisa Drautz (BSc candidate), Carla Rumpf (student assistant), Sid Annaldasula (student assistant), Calvinna Caswara (student assistant), Katja Reichel (PI)

Cooperation: Camila Mazzoni & Larissa Arantes, BeGenDiv // Sascha Liepelt, Phillips-Universität Marburg // Ilona Leyer & Loris Capria, Hochschule Geisenheim University // European Reference Genome Atlas

Phylogeography of the threatened plant species Scabiosa canescens WALDST. & KIT. (Caprifoliaceae/Dipsacoideae)

Scabiosa canescens is a central European species of xerotherm habitats and considered thratened throughout Germany. Based on Chloroplast haplotypes we reconstruct the history of this plant's distribution to provide new insights for its protection. 

Team: Dipl. Biol. Annett Schladitz, Katja Reichel, Thomas Borsch (PI)

Cooperation: Sascha A. Ismail, Swiss Academy of Sciences // Erik Welk, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle

Partial asexuality and the speed of adapation

The time a population needs for adapting to new environmental conditions is influenced by its reproductive system. While sexual reproduction (random mating) quickly produces new genotypes, asexual (clonal) propagation may serve to keep optimised genotypes. Based on a mathematical model (Markov chain), we study under which selective conditions a combination of sexual and asexual reproduction may lead to faster adaptation. 

Team: Katja Reichel

Principal Investigator / Cooperation: Solenn Stoeckel, INRAE Rennes


Genetic diversity in hemisexual dogroses

Polyploid dogroses, Rosa canina agg., possess a unique reproductive system: due to a special form of meiosis, two genomes are transmitted as in a sexual diploid, whereas all others are passed on clonally. We analysed a Europe-wide microsatellite dataset to find sets of co-inherited alleles, which could hint at the evolutionary origin of different dogrose lineages.

Team: Katja Reichel

Cooperation: Alisia Smolka, Veit Herklotz & Christiane Ritz, Senckenberg Museum of Natural History Görlitz // Alexandra Kellner & Volker Wissemann, Justus Liebig University Gießen // René Smulders, Wageningen University // Jan De Riek, ILVO Melle // Hilde Nybom, SLU Kristianstad

Conservation and Digitization of Herbaria

Herbaria not just demonstrate the diversity of plants, but also document their fate through the last centuries. Again using Arnica montana as an example, we are investigating which data relevant for conservation can be gathered from digitized herbarium vouchers.

Team: BSc Inan Erdogan, BSc Philippe Esch, Katja Reichel (PI)

Cooperation: Die Herbonauten, BO.Berlin & others

Genetic diversity of the rare desert shrub Calligonum bakuense LITV. (Polygonaceae)

With only about 150 individuals worldwide, Calligonum bakuense, a desert shrub endemic to coastal sand dunes near the Azerbaijanian capital Baku, is one of the rarest plants on earth. We use nuclear microsatellites to meassure its genetic diversity and contribute to its conservation. 

Team: Ralitsa Moynova (student assistant), BSc Halil I. Atis, BSc Sophia N. Meyer, MSc Eka Giorgashvili, Thomas Borsch (PI until 2022), Katja Reichel (PI from 2022)

Cooperation: Nadja Korotkova & Gerald Parolly, BO.Berlin // Institute of Botany and Central Botanical Garden Baku, Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences

External funding: Volkswagen Foundation, Association of Friends and Supporters of the BGBM


A Smolka, M Simon, V Herklotz, K Reichel, CM Ritz: Rosa abietina – eine seltene Hundsrose unklaren Ursprungs. Wie können zytologische, genetische und morphologische Daten zum Verständnis der Sippe beitragen? Rosa abietina – a rare dog rose of unclear origin. How can cytological, genetic and morphological data contribute to the understanding of this taxon? Kochia 17:117-128.


K Reichel, V Herklotz, A Smolka, H Nybom, A Kellner, J De Riek, MJM Smulders, V Wissemann, CM Ritz: Untangling the hedge: Genetic diversity in clonally and sexually transmitted genomes of European wild roses, Rosa L. PLOS ONE 18(10): e0292634.


E Giorgashvili*, K Reichel*, C Caswara,V Kerimov, T Borsch, M Gruenstaeudl: Software choice and sequencing coverage can impact plastid genome assembly – a case study in the narrow endemic Calligonum bakuense. Frontiers in Plant Science 13:779830. *shared first authors


VK Duwe, LAH Muller, K Reichel, E Zippel, T Borsch, SA Ismail: Genetic structure and genetic diversity of the endangered grassland plant Crepis mollis (Jacq.) Asch. as a basis for conservation management in Germany. Conservation Genetics 19(3):527-543.


R Rouger, K Reichel, F Malrieu, J-P Masson, S Stoeckel: Effects of complex life-cycles on genetic diversity: The role of cyclical parthenogenesis. Heredity 117:336-347.

K Reichel, J-P Masson, F Malrieu, S Arnaud-Haond, S Stoeckel: Rare sex or out of reach equilibrium? The dynamics of FIS in partially clonal organisms. BMC Genetics 17:76.

K Reichel, F Richter, L Eichel, Z Kącki, K Wesche, E Welk, C Neinhuis, CM Ritz: Genetic diversity in the locally declining Laserpitium prutenicum L. and the more common Selinum carvifolia (L.) L. – a “silent goodbye”?  Conservation Genetics 17(4):847-860.


K Reichel, V Bahier, C Midoux, N Parisey, J-P Masson, S Stoeckel: Interpretation and approximation tools for big, dense Markov chain transition matrices in population genetics. Algorithms for Molecular Biology 10:31.

K ReichelEffets de la reproduction partiellement asexuée sur la dynamique des fréquences génotypiques en populations majoritairement diploïdes / Effects of partial asexuality on the dynamics of genotype frequencies in dominantly diploid populations. These / Thesis, Agrocampus Ouest, Rennes. NNT : 2015NSARC123 / tel-01493824.


K Reichel: 70 Jahre nach Theodor Schütze – Das Preußische Laserkraut (Laserpitium prutenicum) in Ostsachsen und angrenzenden Gebieten. Berichte der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft der Oberlausitz 21:17-30.


Research Gate – ORCiD 0000-0001-9052-3179

Member of the DCPS