History of the Department of Botany and Zoology

Botany and zoology have belonged of the Faculty of Science of Masaryk University since its foundation in 1920. In the same year, the Department of Zoology was founded, headed by Prof. Jan Zavrel, and a year later the Department of Botany, headed by Prof. Josef Podpěra. During the 20th century, the faculty and its departments underwent various organisational changes. The departments were merged and divided in various ways until, at the turn of 2005/2006, the former Department of Botany and the Department of Zoology and Ecology merged into the current Department of Botany and Zoology.

Personalities who led botany and zoology in the interwar, post-war and post-communist era

Josef Podpěra (1878–1954) – versatile botanist, expert on European and Siberian flora of vascular plants and bryophytes. He founded the Department of Botany, its herbarium, library and botanical garden.
Jan Zavřel (1879–1946) – founder of the Department of Zoology, brilliant entomologist specializing in chironomids and versatile educator.
Jan Šmarda (1904–1968) – a teacher of the post-war generation, a great field botanist with a broad outlook, an expert especially on mountain and thermophilic vegetation and a tireless advocate of a conservation approach to nature.
Sergej Hrabě (1899–1984) – a renowned specialist in water ringworms, author of 88 new species from all over the world, author of numerous textbooks and identification keys.
Jiří Vicherek (1929–2019) – an outstanding phytosociologist, he studied mainly the vegetation of sands, salt marshes and dry grasslands, restored the Department of Botany at Masaryk University after its devastation during the communist era.
Jiří Gaisler (1934–2014) – world-renowned mammalogist, focused mainly to bat research, in which he became an outstanding expert.

Publications about history of botany and zoology on the faculty

The development of scientific disciplines at the Faculty of Science, Masaryk University is described in detail in the book Dějiny psané přírodovědci (2022). Chapters related to the Department of Botany and Zoology (in Czech):


Older elaborations of the history of botany and zoology at the Faculty of Science MUNI were published earlier (in Czech):
Botany (2001) a Zoology (2003)