The History of the Department of Hydrobiology

by prof. dr hab. Lubomira Burchardt

In 1960, on the initiative of prof. Zygmunt Chubiński, dr. I. Dąmbska was appointed the Head of The Department of Taxonomy and Geography of Plants located in Collegium Maius, then on Stalingrad Street in Poznań. Under her auspices a numerous circle of MA and PhD students began their research on the lakes of the Wielkopolska National Park, Piła, Śmiłów, Wejherowo and Western Pomerania.

The Department of Hydrobiology AMU was established on Strzałkowskiego Street in 1978, based on the motion put forward in 1963 by prof. Z. Czubiński. Since then prof. dr hab. I. Dąmbska led the research and didactic activities of an 8-person team comprised of: Burchardt L, Kraska M, Pieścikowski K., Podolski G., Szyszka T., Szczepanowski P. Nagengast B. and Zieliński P.

In August 1984, prof. dr hab. Izabela Dąmbska unexpectedly died in a car crash. In these difficult times prof. Zdzisław Bogucki was appointed the curator of the Department of Hydrobiology and, thus, led our staff to conduct research projects on the lobelia lake of Moczadło in Pomerania between 1985-1990. The research was carried out in memory of the late prof. Izabela Dąmbska who had always been fond of the natural qualities of this area. Dr Pańczak J. from the Poznań University of Technology also took part in these works.  

In 1991 prof. dr hab. Lubomira Burchardt took over the position of Head of the Department of Hydrobiology. Research and teaching between 1991-1995 took place in the halls of the Military Academy  on Bukowska Street, the rooms of which were leased by AMU. During this period the Department’s staff (Nagengast B., Kuczyńska N., Brzeg L., Messyasz B., Iwicka E. and Pieścikowski K.) conducted research on the lakes of the Wielkopolski National Park and Słowiński National Park.

In the years 1996-2008 the Department of Hydrobiology moved to the Military Academy on Marcelińska Steet. Numerous hydrobiological research such as the analyses of phytoplankton, zooplankton, stoneworts communities and vascular plants were carried out in the ecosystems of Greater Poland, particularly in the lakes of Gniezno, the Greater Poland National Park and Lednica Ladnscape Park. The following PhD students contributed to the research projects: Machowiak D., Pełechaty M., Mochamed Muftah Ali Alsambany, Khalil Abulgasim Mohamed, Cerbin S., Kokociński M., Gąbka M., Stefaniak K., Pukacz A., Owsianny P. and Pełechata A.

The Department of Hydrobiology organized annual scientific workshop between 1991 and 2015 – the “Ecological Summer School” covered the taxonomy of water organisms and biomonitoring. We guested many esteemed phycologists both from Poland (including prof. Bogaczewicz B., prof. Kwadrans J., prof. Mrozińska T., prof. Witkowski A., prof. Wołowski K., dr Tomaszewicz G. and dr Kowalski W.) and abroad who have conducted workshops on the taxonomy of cyanobacteria, diatoms, dinophyceae, green and red algae (including prof. Komarek J., prof. Hindak F., prof. Lange-Bertalot H., prof. Eloranta P. and dr Jolante Kostkeviviene).

In the years 2000-2010, the Department of Hydrobiology was responsible for the 5-year long didactic programme of the “Hydrobiology and Water Protection” specialization within the “Environmental Protection” course taught at the Faculty of Biology AMU. During this period over 100 MA theses related to hydrobiology were written by our students. Unfortunately, given the reorganization of the teaching programme of the Faculty of Biology, the specialization was terminated and was no longer able to provide education in hydrobiology as it had done successfully for the previous 10 years.

In May 2005 the Department of Hydrobiology moved to the building of Collegium Biologicum on Umultowska Street within the Univeristy campus of Morasko. The Department’s research projects for  2008-2014 focused on the lakes surrounding Konin, Gniezno and Lublin as well as the river Wełna and Nielba. The research was conducted on, e.g. toxic cyanobacteria, the endangered and protected species of macroscopic algae, plant communities of special care and rare habitat types. The staff of the Department of Hydrobiology (Pełachaty M., Messyasz B., Gabka M., Kokociński M. and Cerbin S.) focused on chara algae, phytoplankton, zooplankton and microphytes. Our numerous PhD students (Boszke P., Lamentowicz Ł., Rybak A., Jakubas E., Pronin E., Krupska J., Pikosz M., Wejnerowski S. and Dziuba M.) have conducted and continue to conduct field and experimental research based on cultivations and molecular technology.

In 2014 prof. zw. dr hab. Lubomira Burchardt retired from her position of Head of the Department of Hydrobiology after 23 years of dedicated work. The position was passed on to prof. dr hab. Maciej Gąbka the same year.

Currently, the Department staffs 7 scientific workers, 5 PhD students and 2 technical workers (mgr Przemysław Zieliński and mgr Izabela Majchrzak).