UO Biologists Discover New Species
In the photo: dr hab. Sylwia Nowak, dr hab. Arkadiusz Nowak, prof. UO, dr Andrzej Wolski, dr Miłosz Mazur and dr Sławomir Mitrus. (Photo: Paweł Stauffer)
The Chair of Biosystematics of the University of Opole is a small research unit but their achievements are of great importance to the world science. Last year they discovered 30 new species of flora and fauna and they described 45 new plant communities. It is worth noting that all Polish biologists have described 200 new species of the fauna and flora in the last 200 years.
Professor Zatwarnicki, head of the Chair of Biosystematics, emphasises that their achievements have been possible only thanks to the scientific passion of all the members of staff. ‘We are motivated by an urge to show that it is possible to make discoveries of world importance at the University of Opole,’ he said, ‘Our achievements are comparable to those of similar institutions in the USA or Germany, with which we cooperate, and best university faculties of A category in Poland. We use the most modern methods and we do not have an inferiority complex’.
Our biologists' research has resulted in 44 papers published in important scientific journals (30 of them belong to the so-called Philadelphia List), such as: Zootaxa, Phytotaxa, Phytocoenologia, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, Geology and Central European Journal of Biology.
Dr Miłosz Mazur, entomologist, is one of young and very active researchers, who, together with a team from the Polish Academy Of Sciences, studies xerothermic beetles and their endangered habitats. ‘Based on genetic examination we have managed to locate beetle populations older than the last glacial period. We are trying to learn how they managed to survive that difficult time being completely isolated from the centre of their geographical range’, says Dr Mazur. The results of the research have been published in a very prestigious journal – Animal Conservation.
Recently Dr Mazur has started another research project. This time he is studying a group of beetles in New Caledonia and he has already managed to describe three new species not heard of before.
Opole University biologists conduct their research also in Asia. They have studied the middle part of the continent looking for new plant communities and they have presented their findings in 14 papers published in scientific journals.