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Department of Plant and Fungal Diversity and Resources

Research Priorities of the Department

The Department of Plant and Fungal Diversity and Resources studies the natural vegetation and mycological genofund in Bulgaria on the organism, population, coenopopulation and geohistorical level. The main research priorities of the Department are as follows:
  • Taxonomy and evolution of plants, species content, structure and history of the flora and plant communities, species and habitats with conservation status
  • Taxonomy of fungi, species with economic value; fungi as natural resource; protection of fungi; fungi as bio-indicators of pollution; fungal secondary metabolites as therapeutic agents
  • Fundamental and applied research in the field of floristic and plant diversity in Bulgaria, their dynamics, evolution, conservation and sustainable management
  • Monitoring of plants, fungi and habitats; mapping and assessment of plant and fungal populations, habitats and ecosystems and their services
  • Diversity and monitoring of important rare medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs); assessment of resources of economically valuable MAPs;
  • Biologically active substances, monitoring, ex situ conservation through seed banking; in vitro reproduction, analysis of biologically active substances in samples of MAPs in natural habitats, cultivated areas, in vitro cultures and ex vitro adapted plants; determining the biological activity of plant extracts
  • Studying the evolutionary mechanisms of Bulgarian plant genofund since the Tertiary
  • Distribution and assessment of the risk of the invasive alien species
  • Preparation of strategic documents for floral conservation in Bulgaria

Laboratories and experimental facilities

The Department has laboratory units in Cytotaxonomy, Phytocenology, Anatomy and embryology of plants, Flow cytometry, Molecular Laboratory, Biology and chemistry of medicinal and aromatic plants (MAP), Biotechnological laboratory of MAP, Phytochemical laboratory with spectrophotometer and TLC, Isoenzymes Lab, Laboratories in Palinology, Palaeobotany and Micology. We has two field stations near Beglika locality (Western Rhodopes) and near Dolni Lozen village (Sofia district) and an experimental greenhouse.

Scientific collections and Library

  • Library (about 26 000 books);
  • Herbarium of vascular plants SOM (about 159 200 specimens);
  • Mycological collection SOMF (25 600 specimens);
  • Collection of plant fossils (about 16 000 specimens), reference palynological collection (about 2 800 species), and cuticle collection (about 2 700 species).

Recent and Current Projects

2016-2018: Protection of rare and endangered plant species in Bulgaria through the implementation of activities from established action plans. Funded by Enterprise for management of activities for environmental protection. Leader: Assist. Prof. S. Stoyanov.
2016-2018. Flora of the Republic of Bulgaria, vol. 12: Biodiversity in the family. Asteraceae, subfamily. Carduoideae and Cichorioideae. Funded by NSF. Leader: Prof.  S. Bancheva.
2014-2017: Model plants from the genera Verbascum (Scrophulariaceae), Centaurea (Asteraceae) Glaucium (Papaveraceae) – genetic diversity of the Bulgarian populations, metabolomics and physiological state.  Funded by NSF. Leader: Assoc. Prof. Marina Stanilova.
2015-2017: Assessment and mapping of Grassland Ecosystems condition and their services in Bulgaria. Funded by FM of EEA. Leader: Prof.  I. Apostolova.
2015-2017: Mapping and assessment of sparsely vegetaled land ecosystem services in Bulgaria SPA-EcoServices. Funded by FM of EEA. Leader: Assoc. Prof. A. Ganeva.
2015-2017: Improving the Bulgarian Biodiversity Information System. Funded by FM of EEA. Leader: Assist. Prof. V. Vladimirov.
2014-2017: Floristic and taxonomic investigations of selected genera from the families Lamiaceae and Asteraceae in the border regions of Macedonia and Bulgaria. Funded by bilateral cooperation between Bulgaria and Macedonia. Leader: Prof. S. Bancheva.
2014-2016: Updating of the Management Plan of National Park Rila and elaboration of Management plan of Rilomanastirska gora Reserve. Funded by Operational Programme' Environment'. Leader: Assoc. Prof. A. Ganeva.
2010-2020: Neogene Climate Evolution in Eurasia (project website). Leader: Prof. V. Mosbrugger, Senckenberg Research Institute (Germany) Bulgarian coordinator: Prof. D. Ivanov.
2013-2016: European Pollen Database. Leader: Prof. R. Bradshaw (UK). Bulgarian coordinator: Dr M. Lazarova.
2013-2016: Leading molecules of the chemical diversity of Colombia: an integrated study of the alkaloids of the family Amaryllidaceae as potential neuro protectors. Funded by bilateral cooperation between Bulgaria and Columbia. Ръководител: Prof. S. Berkov.
2012-2015: SIGNAL - European gradients of resilience in the face of climate extremes. Funded by BiodivERsA. Coordinator: Anke Jentsch. Participating countries: Germany, France, Belgium, Hungary, Bulgaria, Italy, Turkey. Bulgarian coordinator: Dr Iva Apostolova.
2010-2014: A pilot network of small protected sites for plant species in Bulgaria using the plant micro-reserve model (website of the project). Funded by European Programme Life+ (Life 08NAT/BG/279). Coordinator: Prof. D. Peev.
2012-2013: Determination of Favorable Conservation Status as a Precondition for Biodiversity Protection. Funded by the EC Grundtvig Lifelong Learning Programme. Bulgarian coordinator: Dr M. Stanilova.
2010-2013: A pilot network of small protected sites for plant species in Bulgaria using the plant micro-reserve model (website of the project). Funded by European Programme Life+ (Life 08NAT/BG/279). Coordinator: Prof. D. Peev.
2012-2014: Patterns in spatial distribution of habitats, plant communities and plant species in southern Bulgaria in relation to environmental and bioclimatic gradients. Funded by NSF (DMU 03-115/13.12.2011). Leader: Dr D. Sopotlieva.
2009-2012: Biology, ecology and control of the alien invasive species of Bulgarian flora (project website). Funded by NSF (DO 02-194/2008). Leader: Dr A. Petrova.

2012-2014: Genetic diversity and taxonomical relationships within grass genera Elymus and Melicа. Funding: bilateral agreement between BAS and Polish Academy of Sciences. Bulgarian coordinator: Dr G. Angelov.

2012-2014: Ex situ conservation and genetic assessment of Liliaceae species from Bulgarian and Romanian flora. Funding: bilateral agreement between BAS and Academy of Sciences of Romania. Bulgarian coordinator: T. Ivanova.