Team at ZFMK

Dr. Sergio Avila-Calero: I am a Postdoctoral Researcher in GBOL III: Dark Taxa. My main objective is to investigate various molecular techniques that would allow us to recover poor-quality genetic material from long-term preserved samples of insects, particularly of specimens of Hymenoptera and Diptera that fall within the Dark Taxa denomination. Because most of the species studied in the GBOL III: Dark Taxa are among the tiniest insects in the world, my research will also be devoted to exploring ways to optimize and adapt our current DNA barcoding pipeline for these minute taxa. Contact: s.avila-calero(a)

Dr. Sarah Bourlat is head of the Metabarcoding section at ZFMK. Her scientific interests include biodiversity monitoring and next generation biodiversity assessments using molecular methods, changes in community structure and taxonomic composition in key habitats, food webs and gut contents analyses. She is currently working on red-listed species monitoring, and the development of methods for species detection in environmental samples. She will be involved in the additional project of GBOL III: Dark Taxa at ZFMK on the integration of metabarcoding data into the GBOL portal. Contact: s.bourlat(a)

Christian Bräunig is part of the additional project of GBOL III: Dark Taxa at ZFMK on the integration of metabarcoding data into the GBOL portal and works there as programmer on the extension of the GBOL webportal. His work includes the implementation of functions for saving, providing and editing metabarcoding data. Contact: c.braeunig(a)

Moritz Fahldieck: I am a highly motivated taxonomist, knowledgeable in Arthropoda and specialized in Tipuloidea. I have a keen interest in the distribution of resources in regard to biodiversity, climate change, economic wealth and social justice. Currently I am persuing a PhD in the GBOL III: Dark Taxa Project. My field of research covers the taxonomy and the systematics of the Limoniidae (Diptera: Tipuloidea). Contact: m.fahldieck(a)

Dr. Matthias Geiger: He has been coordinating the Leibniz SAW project FREDIE on DNA barcoding European freshwater diversity. Afterwards, he coordinated GBOL between 2014 and 2018, co-supervising application studies on the performance of DNA barcoding and metabarcoding vs traditional, morphology-based approaches. As initiator of the GBOL III application he is involved in WP4 for the development of an innovative and dynamic OTU table annotation feature for the web-portal, unlocking the huge potential of taxonomically re-analysing metabarcoding results. Contact: m.geiger(a)

Samin Jafari: I am from Iran, where I studied at the Tehran University of Medical Science. My master’s research focused on the molecular identification of the family Sarcophagidae (flesh flies). I am an entomologist with a special interest in evolutionary biology and the taxonomy of insects. As a Ph.D. student within the GBOL III: Dark Taxa project, I am working with the Eurytomidae family. I use molecular and morphological methods to describe species, probing the dark diversity of this group, and updating the German checklist.

Dr. Sandra Meid: In her diploma thesis as well as in her PhD thesis at the ZFMK she focussed on computational-based solutions for various biological problems. After obtaining her doctorate, she joined the biodiversity informatics department at the ZFMK and was most recently part of the project “eScience-Compliant Standards for Morphology”.
As a computer scientist in the project GBOLIII: Dark Taxa she is part of the team which is working on the extension of the current GBOL web portal to allow for the storage, dissemination and updating of metabarcoding data. Contact: s.meid(a)

Dr. Ximo Mengual: I am the Head of the Diptera Section at the ZFMK, and I will be the supervisor of two PhD candidates dealing with the systematics of Limoniidae and Psychodidae, two “dark” families of Diptera. My research focuses on the systematics, ecology and taxonomy of true flies with specific emphasis on the world-wide family Syrphidae. Phylogenetics and phylogenomics are also of my interest, as well as the so-called DNA taxonomy, and I am working with molecular techniques using Next-Generation Sequencing to develop baits for Anchored Hybrid Enrichment. Contact: x.mengual(a)

Björn Müller: In the past years my laboratory focus was on the genotyping of native ungulates (Sus scrofa and Ovis orientalis musimon). I was especially interested in kin selection and sex-specific reproduction strategies. As technical assistant in the project GBOL III: Dark Taxa I have the exciting task of advancing the barcoding of selected taxa of Diptera (Psychodidae and Limoniidae) and Hymenoptera (Figitidae and Eurytomidae), which are not or only insufficiently scientifically documented. Contact: b.mueller(a)

Mehdi Parsa was born in East-Azerbaijan province, Iran. He got his M.Sc in Agricultural Entomology from Tehran University, in 2018. His scientific interests are in the taxonomy, systematic and phylogenetic relationships of the Chalcidoidea superfamily. During his master’s thesis in Iran,  working with the Eurytomidae family, he was able to report new records for the country, as well as new hosts for this family. In the GBOL lll: dark taxa project his goal is to study the taxonomy and the molecular relationships of the species of the family Eurytomidae in Germany. Contact: mehdiparsa901(a)

Dr. Ralph S. Peters: My main interests are the evolutionary history of Hymenoptera and the taxonomy, biology and evolution of the parasitoid wasps. I tackle these research interests with an indisciplinary and integrative approach, using morphology, behaviour and field biology, DNA barcoding, taxonomics, phylogenomics and comperative genomics. I sometimes sneak away from my focus into methods stuff or into non-Hymenoptera insect groups but my heart and brain will always be with those stunning and beautiful little parasitoids. In GBOL III: Dark Taxa, I have the project lead and supervise the studies on Figitidae and on various Chalcidoidea as well as the poor-quality-samples/taxonomics project. Contact: r.peters(a)

Dr. Vera Rduch, the project coordinator of GBOL III: Dark Taxa, has been working for the GBOL project since 2014 and thus has 1st hand knowledge of the workflows and project partners. Since the beginning of 2019 she coordinates the GBOL consortium. Well-trained mammalogist, her main research focus so far are ecological niches and niche partitioning patterns of bovids in the southern central Africa. She is involved in nature conservation in Zambia and member of the IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group. Contact: v.rduch(a)

Björn Rulik served as Taxonomic Coordinator at Museum Koenig GBOL node over the last years. He is a well-trained dipterist with deep taxonomical knowledge for several families of lower Diptera. Beside DNA taxonomy, barcoding and dipterous pollination syndromes main research interest dealing with sciaroid like flies (Diptera: Sciaroidea). Due to his long-standing teaching experience of practical zoological courses including (abroad) excursions he gained extensive entomological field skills. Contact: b.rulik(a)

Jana Thormann has been working as technical assistance in GBOL phases I and II (2012 – 2018). She was responsible for the complete barcoding workflow, including documentation of the incoming samples and processing them in the lab, creating and analyzing the barcodes and database maintenance. Since April 2019 she has a permanent position at the ZFMK and is responsible for 96 well plates-based barcoding in general and for the GBOL permanently implemented into ZFMK. Contact: j.thormann(a)

Santiago Jaume Schinkel: I was born and raised in Mexico. Since I was a little boy running around I have always found insects so fascinating, colorful, and fun to watch. I studied Biology and right after my Masters working Taxonomy and Ecology of blowflies. My main goal during the GBOL-III Dark Taxa is to provide enough information on moth flies in order to have a better understating in their phylogenetical relationships, species present in Germany and try to bring light to this, one of many, dark taxa. Contact: s.jaume(a)

Jonathan Vogel: I am a dedicated entomologist with a special interest in parasitoid hymenoptera and natural history. In the GBOLIII: Dark Taxa project I am going to be the taxon specialist on Figitid wasps. This family is parasitizing aphid antagonists in their early stages as well as saprophagous fly larvae. My job is to uncover their hidden diversity, optimize methods for collecting them and to contribute to the knowledge of their evolutionary history with my research. Contact: j.vogel(a)

The Team at SMNS

Jessica Awad is conducting PhD research on Platygastroidea. Her specialty is the subfamily Platygastrinae, a highly diverse group of gall midge parasitoids. She is from the USA, where she studied at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Her master’s research focused on integrative taxonomy of the genus Synopeas from Papua New Guinea. Jessica is looking forward to combining morphological and molecular techniques to advance our knowledge of platygastrine biodiversity in Western Europe. Contact: jessica.awad(a)

Roy Canty: I am a PhD student and as part of the GBOL III project at the State Museum for Natural History Stuttgart I use molecular and morphological methods to research the dark taxa of the Sciaridae family within the Diptera. My professional career and interests have focused almost exclusively on entomology, especially phytophagous insects. My work mainly focused on taxonomy and biodiversity in research and curation. Contact: roy.canty(a)

I am Valerio Caruso and I studied Natural Sciences at the University of Rome “Sapienza”. I am a doctorate at Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgarts’ Entomology department within the GBOL III: Dark Taxa project, where I study the family Phoridae (Diptera), with a focus on the genus Megaselia.
I use an integrative taxonomic approach to describe species, probing the dark diversity of this group, developing a key to Phoridae and Megaselia species and updating the German checklist. Contact: valerio.caruso(a)

Michael Haas currently pursues a doctorate at the Stuttgart State Museum of Natural History and is one of the two coordinators for the GBOL III: Dark Taxa project in Stuttgart. His scientific expertise lies within the minute parasitoids of the hymenopteran family of Pteromalidae (Chalcidoidea). Since the previous phases of GBOL, he applies an integrative taxonomic approach to uncover cryptic diversity in Northern and Central Europe for this species rich family, but also works on chalcidoid key fossils from the Cretaceous. Contact: michael.haas(a)

Prof. Dr. Lars Krogmann is head of Entomology at the State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart (SMNS) and Professor of Systematic Entomology at the University of Hohenheim. He is currently leading the GBOL III project of SMNS and has also been responsible for the two previous phases of GBOL in Stuttgart. His scientific interests concern integrative taxonomy and phylogenetics of species-rich parasitoid wasp lineages. Lars Krogmann employs a broad range of methods, including micro-CT, DNA barcoding and phylogenetic analyses of extant and fossil character sets. Contact: lars.krogmann(a)

Dr. Juan Carlos Monje is taxonomic coordinator for GBOL at the State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart (SMNS) since phase I. In this period he contributed building the Chalcidoidea collection of the SMNS and put also emphasis on curating and establishing a DNA, COI and morphological voucher collection of Trichogrammatidae from Germany. His role in GBOL III: Dark taxa will stronger focus on administrative tasks, yet he will continue addressing the families Trichogrammatidae and Mymaridae. Contact: carlos.monje(a)

My name is Marina Moser and I am a doctoral student at the State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart. In the GBOL III: Dark Taxa project I am exploring Ceraphronoidea, a superfamily of parasitoid wasps. I am particularly interested in the biodiversity of this understudied superfamily in Germany. With my integrative taxonomic approach that combines morphological and molecular methods, I aim to make Ceraphronoidea more accessible to science and to build a basis for future conservation efforts. Contact: marina.moser(a)

Dr. Daniel Whitmore: I am the Diptera Curator at Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart and the supervisor for the SMNS Diptera projects within GBOL III: Dark Taxa. My research interests are in the evolutionary biology, diversity and biogeography of Diptera, with a focus on the family Sarcophagidae (flesh flies) from a global perspective, albeit with an emphasis on the Palearctic and Afrotropical regions. With my current projects I am researching the taxonomy and diversification of speciose lineages of the genus Sarcophaga, as well as revising the European and Afrotropical faunas. Contact: daniel.whitmore(a)

The Team at SNSB-ZSM

Rosa Albrecht: I have become a biologist because I love nature. After several years of working as a field ecologist, I was drawn back to the laboratory. As a technical assistant in the Munich team, I am responsible for everything which has to do with malaise trap samples. In particular, I am fascinated by the morphology of insects. I am excited to see how many new species we will discover within the “GBOL III: Dark Taxa” project. Contact: albrecht(a)

Caroline Chimeno: As coordinator, I am in charge of the GBOL III: Dark Taxa project at the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology in Munich. In addition, I am working as a doctoral student on my target taxon Chironomidae (nonbiting midges), which is an especially interesting group as these midges play a key role in aquatic systems. Many species are important indicator organisms, e.g. to assess the water quality. In the previous GBOL II project, my research focus was on the application of DNA barcoding in the field of forensic entomology. Contact: chimeno(a)

Dr. Axel Hausmann: I am the principle investigator and project assignee of the SNSB-ZSM subproject of GBOL III – Dark Taxa, the German representative in the steering committee of the international BIOSCAN initiative (iBOL), and leader of the Entomology department of the SNSB-ZSM. Most of my more than 450 publications deal with DNA barcoding, metabarcoding and taxonomy, which are my fields of particular interest. Contact: hausmann.a(a)

Ameli Höcherl: I am a PhD student at the Zoological State Collection in Munich and my target taxon is Microgastrinae, which are parasitoid wasps with lepidopteran larvae as hosts. Up to now, my research focus has been more in the tropical areas, specifically in Peru. However, there are many unknown things right in front of our porches which are waiting to being discovered, which is why I am very excited about this project. During my free time, I can often be found crawling across forest floors or meadows, camera with a macro lens in hand. Contact: hoecherl(a)

Jeremy Hübner: As a PhD student within the GBOL III: Dark Taxa project, I am working with the family Diapriidae, a parasitoid wasp group. This taxon is special because it is an insect family that is very difficult to determine morphologically and also displays an extremely high cryptic diversity. I have discovered my fascination to DNA barcoding and to insects through my Bachelor’s and Master’s thesis and during my previous job a company which is specialized in DNA barcoding. Contact: huebner(a)

Dr. Mathias Jaschhof has been working on the taxonomy and systematics of various mosquito-like flies (Diptera: Bibionomorpha: Sciaroidea) since 1992, with a focus on the mycophagous subfamilies of gall mosquitoes (Cecidomyiidae excl. Cecidomyiinae). He works on these “mushroom eaters” world-wide, most recently focusing on the Fennoscan fauna. Since 2015 he has been working as a senior researcher at the Linné station on Sweden’s Baltic island of Öland. Within GBOL III: Dark Taxa, he will work with gall mosquitoes, which is apparently the most species-rich family of the order Diptera.

PD Dr. Michael J. Raupach is head of the Hemiptera section at the Zoological State Collection in Munich. Michael has been dealing with DNA barcoding for many years, especially for bed bugs and ground beetles. Further scientific interests lie in the integrative taxonomy and phylogeny of water bugs (Gerromorpha, Nepomorpha), ground beetles and tropical humpback beetles (Membracidae) using molecular and morphological methods. Contact: raupach(a)

Dr. Stefan Schmidt: I am part of the project management of GBOL III: Dark Taxa at the SNSB – Zoological State Collection Munich. As the head of the Hymenoptera section, I am responsible for one of the largest Hymenopteran collections in Germany. My main interests are the systematics and taxonomy of sawfly (Symphyta) and chalcid wasps (Chalcidoidea), the latter also being my taxonomic focus in GBOL III: Dark Taxa. In recent years, I was involved in several major projects for DNA barcoding of Hymenoptera and was coordinator for DNA barcoding of Hymenoptera as part of GOBL I and II. Contact: schmidt.s(a)

The Team at University of Würzburg – Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology

Dominik Rabl: My main field of interest is the biodiversity of insect communities in temperate and tropical areas. I have a strong taxonomical background and my focal taxa are mainly Lepidoptera, as well as Coleoptera and some groups of Hymenoptera. Within GBOL III: Dark Taxa, I am working on the subproject “Assessment of cryptic parasitoids during the outbreak of a forest pest species“ to unravel cryptic (hyper-) parasitoid communities via metabarcoding to measure the role of parasitoids during an outbreak of the Gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar). Contact: dominik.rabl(a)

The Team at EVK

Dr. Martin Sorg is a board member of the Entomological Society Krefeld and has been the curator of the collections since 1987. His research is mainly on insect diversity and biodiversity loss. He established a long-term scientific standard for the study of insects with malaise traps in the early 1980s. Martins research led to the discovery of biodiversity loss in Germany. Taxonomically, he works on many families of the Hymenoptera and he specialized in the Bethylidae. Contact: sorg(a)

Thomas Hörren is a long-time member of the Entomological Society Krefeld. His research is mainly on insect diversity and biodiversity loss. Taxonomically, he mainly works on beetles (Coleoptera), but he has a broad base in faunistics. Since 2013 he has been working on the development of long-term scientific standards and his research has contributed to the discovery of biodiversity loss in Germany. As a science communicator, he is active on social media. Contact: thomas.hoerren(a)

Cooperating External Experts

Professor Andy Austin is Director of the Australian Centre for Evolutionary Biology & Biodiversity in the School of Biological Sciences at The University of Adelaide, South Australia. His research interests include the systematics and evolution of parasitic Hymenoptera, evolution of Australian spiders, and the phylogeography of stygofauna (subterranean aquatic invertebrates).  His research group currently comprises four postdoctoral researchers and three PhD students. Along with his collaborator Professor Mark Dowton (now at the University of Wollongong), he published the first molecular phylogeny for the Hymenoptera, and has worked extensively on the phylogenetics and taxonomy of Braconidae and Platygastroidea. Contact: andy.austin(a)

Viktor Baranov is an associated professor at the LMU Munich, Germany. He works on the biodiversity and palaeontology of flies (Diptera), focusing on ecosystem functions, drivers of extinction and morphological evolution of flies. In the framework of GBOL III: Dark Taxa, Viktor is working together with Caroline Chimeno to uncover the hidden biodiversity of the German non-biting midges (Chironomidae) and aiming to improve integration of this group into the existing biomonitoring schemes and to better understand drivers of the diversification. Contact: baranow(a)

Torbjørn Ekrem is interested in evolution, systematics and biogeography, in particular of non-biting midges of the family Chironomidae (Diptera). His research focuses on taxonomy, biology, phylogeny, zoogeography and molecular systematics of this intriguing group of insects, but he is also involved in work with other groups of animals and plants. Among these, tardigrades through the project Tardigrades in Norwegian forests. Torbjørn is involved in various projects testing and using DNA barcoding in biosystematics and ecology. He is chairing the Norwegian Barcode of Life network and project (NorBOL) and he is involved in the COST action DNAqua-Net . Torbjørn is curator of Diptera, Arachnida and a few minor insect orders at the NTNU University Museum. Contact: torbjorn.ekrem(a)

Lucian Fusu is our collaborating expert on Eupelmidae. He is associate professor / reader at the “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iaşi, Romania. His research interests include the taxonomy and evolution of chalcid wasps (Hymenoptera, Chalcidoidea), especially the family Eupelmidae. His research group is formed by three Co-PI, one researcher, two PhD students, and several MSc students. Through his projects and collaborations, he uses DNA barcoding and other complementary molecular markers for species delimitation in integrative taxonomy. Contact: lucfusu(a)

Emily Hartop is our collaborating expert on Phoridae. She started specialising on the genus Megaselia (Diptera: Phoridae) while working on the BioSCAN Project ( at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles in California. Her research interests currently focus on the ecology, behaviour, and evolution of the genus as well as methods for large-scale species discovery and delimitation for hyper-diverse groups. She is currently based in Sweden where she is using material from the Swedish Malaise Trap Project ( to explore Megaselia diversity in Scandinavia. Contact: emily.a.hartop(a)

Norman Johnson holds the Moser Chair in Arthropod Biosystematics and Biological Diversity at The Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio, USA). His research embraces alpha taxonomic studies in the Platygastroidea, phylogenetics of the superfamily, database design and biodiversity informatics, and – most recently – exploration of the link between chemosensory perception, host finding, and speciation in this diverse group of parasitoid wasps. Contact: johnson.2(a)

Gunnar Mikalsen Kvifte is associate professor of biology at Nord University in Norway, studying biodiversity of Diptera from many angles including morphological taxonomy, DNA barcoding and habitat ecology. He has been involved with GBOL as an external collaborator since 2013, primarily working on taxonomy of moth flies (Psychodidae). On GBOL III he is excited to work with Ximo and Santiago on elucidating the genus- and species-level taxonomy of Paramormiine moth flies across Central Europe. Contact: gunnar.mikalsen-kvifte(a)

Elijah J. Talamas: I work on the systematics of Platygastroidea. In recent years this has included molecular phylogenetics, taxonomy of biological control agents and analysis of amber fossils from the Cretaceous to the Miocene. I am particularly interested in platygastroids that parasitize the eggs of Heteroptera and the discovery of morphological characters. Contact: elijah.talamas(a)