The Institute of Botany at the University of Innsbruck has a tradition that goes back more than 150 years. Today, its main focus is on the functional biodiversity of alpine plants and communities at the interface between physiology, ecology and evolutionary systematics. A total of ten research groups in two units, the Unit of Functional Plant Biology and the Unit of Plant Evolution and Diversity, work on the following topics:
- Biodiversity in the Alps and other mountain ranges
- Adaptation processes to extreme environments
- Effects of climate change
- Extant and past vegetation dynamics
- Applied research
The Institute maintains the Botanical Garden in Innsbruck, the Alpine Garden on Mt. Patscherkofel close to Innsbruck, the Herbarium, the Culture Collection of Algae, the Plant Science Education Center and the Pollen Alert Service. The Botanical Garden in Innsbruck was established in 1793 and has been in its present location since 1911. Today, it includes a living collection of more than 7,000 plant species.
The Institute of Botany is part of the research focus “Alpine Space – Man and Environment” (https://www.uibk.ac.at/alpinerraum) and the Centre for Molecular Biosciences Innsbruck (https://www.uibk.ac.at/cmbi). It is responsible for the main part of the Tyrolean Alps LTER/LTSER Platform at the Alpine Research Centre Obergurgl (https://www.uibk.ac.at/afo), and it is also a partner in the worldwide operating programme GLORIA (https://www.gloria.ac.at).
Within the joint project, Alpine Seed Conservation and Research, the Institute is responsible for the collection of 100 alpine species from the Eastern Alps of North and East Tyrol. The PhD research programme will analyse the effects of environmental conditions and provenances on the germination of different alpine species in contrast to migrating species from lower altitudes. A common garden experiment will be used to compare the germination dynamics of Alpine Saxifraga species.