Research for agriculture

The Bavarian State Collection of Zoology Munich (ZSM)
Utilization and protection of wild bees

Wild bees figure prominently in pollination of wild and crop plants. Thus, they play a central role in biodiversity and ensure the good harvest of numerous crop plants. Especially in the cultivation of fruits and berries, wild bees are already bred and employed for pollination. Furthermore, ecologists frequently investigate wild bees for monitoring and conservation of nature, and landscape planning.
Through the genetic evaluation of over 4000 wild bee individuals, the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology Munich managed to compile a nearly complete list of German wild bees species. This contributes not only to a more efficient, target oriented use of bees, but also to the protection of this critically endangered insect group, numerous species of which are listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in Germany.

Link to the corresponding publication:

The Bavarian State Collection of Zoology Munich (ZSM)
Identifying pests – rescuing the harvest

In addition to the known types of pests in agriculture and forestry, there is an increase in those introduced through tourism or imports. Recently climate change has also resulted in an increased invasion of many thermophilic species from the Mediterranean area. Some of these pests are dreaded since – compared to the indigenous ones – they oftentimes do not have natural enemies, which allows them to spread more rapidly. For example, the cherry vinegar fly Drosophila suzukii causes extensive damage to grapes and cherries in Northern Italy and Spain: In 2011, it was also observed for the first time in Germany. Since 2013, the seabuckthorn fly Rhagoletis batava originating from Russia, spread all over the eastern part of Germany and acutely threatens the cultivation of seabuckthorn there. For farmers and experts in the offices of plant protection, the problem with such pests is often that they cannot precisely define the insectsbecause only larvae are present. In both cases, the State Collection of Zoology can help to genetically identify these organisms by way of comparison with specimens in their collection.

Link to DNA-Barcoding at ZSM

The Bavarian Botany and Mycology State Collection Munich (BSM)
Imported disease

In the field of botany, an increased infiltration of harmful organisms can also be observed. In 1999, powdery mildew (Erysiphe flexuosa) was first identified in Germany. This fungus originates from the United States and Canada and is responsible for the large scale growth onthe leaves of the horse chestnut. Scientists from the Botany and Mycology State Collection Munich (BSM) helped identify the fungus in this part of the world and to document its distribution. The BSM has a specific mildew-database at its disposal, in which over 12,000 mildew cases around the globe are digitally recorded.

Link to mildew-database of the Bavarian Botany and Mycology State Collection Munich