History of Institute of Botany SAS – foundation, development and evolution
(concise form according to: Erdelská O., Gašparíková O. & Zahradníková K. 2003: History of the origin and development of the Institute of Botany of the Slovak Academy of Sciences; Jarolímek I. 2003: Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences – 50 years of institutional botanical research in Slovakia; In: Čiamporová M., Jarolímek I. & Lizoň P., Institute of Botany SAS, Fifty years of scientific and research activity (1953 – 2003), Bratislava, 97+14 pp.)
1952 – 1956
In 1952 two laboratories, being at the same time two basic directions for future Institute, were created within the Natural History Section of Slovak Academy off Sciences and Arts (ancestor of Slovak Academy of Sciences, SAS). Both the Laboratories existed as individual research units, included to the Group of working units of the 2nd section of SAS until 1957, when the Biological Institute SAS was created.
Laboratory of plant biology
Small group – RNDr. Mária Luxová, RNDr. Alexander Lux and RNDr. Ľudmila Rabanová, secured development of research strategy and team, as well as own premises in the former area of the Institute of Botany SAS in Patrónka zone. The Institute was involved in the fysiological programe of Czechoslovak Republic. The main topics of research was biology of apricot cultures, which included, apart from experiments, also the research of old apricot cultures and causes of their dying out. Second problem was elucidation of the importance of quality and origin of shoots for vegetative propagation of plants.
Laboratory of geobotany and plant systemtics SAS
Foundation of the Institute was a merit of then Secretary of Natural History Section of SAV – RNDr. Milan Ružička. It was directed by Ing. Oleg Grebenščikov, the first team members were RNDr. Dorota Suchá-Brillová and RNDr. Kvetoslava Kolláriková. After shorter stays in the premises in Klemensova ulica street 27 and Skádkovičova ulica street 11 the Institute was moved to larger spaces in Sienkiewiczova ulica street 1. In 1957 Laboratory was included within the Biological Institute SAS as the Department of geobotany and plant systematics. The work of the Laboratory was aimed at the research of flora and vegetation of Slovakia. Besides large projects involving larger project teams as „Flora of Slovakia“ and „Geobotanical research of Slovakia“ there were specific tasks aimed at geobotanical surveys of e.g. Žitný ostrov area, the valley Demänovská dolina, grasslands of the Malá Fatra, as well as geobotanical studies of meadows, pastures, culture phytocoenoses, ecology of weeds in the surroundings of Trnava, mycoflora of the Čergov Mts. and of the area of Prešov.
Biological Institute SAS (1957 – 1962)
The above mentioned laboratories were the two of four of the newly founded Biological Institute SAS in 1957 (Department of plant fysiology and Department of geobotany and plant systematics). The head of the Department of geobotany and plant systematics was RNDr. Ján Michalko and his deputy doc. RNDr. Ján Futák. The head of the Department of plant fysiology was RNDr. Mária Luxová, later Ing. Ondrej Majerník. In the Department of plant fysiology, a group working on plant patofysiology of plants was created This group formed a separate department later in 1963. In the Department of geobotany and plant systematics existed a working group in geobotany and group in systematics. During the existence of the Institute the works on the topic of biology of apricot cultures were proceeding, so as the studies in ontogenesis during vegetative propagation of seed plants. Further key topic was the vegetation research in Slovakia, leading to elaboration of geobotanical map of Slovakia, so as the research in flora of Slovakia, the outputs of which were step-by-step published in the form of a multi-volume series Flora of Slovakia. Biological Institute SAS ended its activities on 31. 12. 1962. After reorganisation, three separated Institutes were form: Institute of Botany, Biological Institute and Laboratory of radiobiology in Košice.
„First“ Institute of Botany SAS (1963 – 1974)
Institute of Botany initiated its activities on 1. 1. 1963, under the guidance of Ľudovít Pastýrik. In 1964 Ing. Jozef Kolek, CSc. became the director. In its complete structure, the Institute comprised of five scientific departments and an Administrative department.
- Department of Plant Fysiology: the staff comprised 32 persons in 1970. The head was Vladimír Kozinka, CSc. and deputy head RNDr. Oľga Erdelská, CSc. Within the department there was a group of plant anatomy, lead by RNDr. Mária Luxová, CSc. and after 1968 also the group of plant embryology, lead by RNDr. Oľga Erdelská, CSc.
- Department of Plant Patofysiology: the staff comprised 17 persons. The department was directed by Ing. Ondrej Majerník, CSc. In 1966 it was Ing. Cyprian Paulech, CSc. His deputy was Ing. Fridrich Frič, CSc, who lead also Isotope laboratory.
- Department of Geobotany: the staff comprised in total 21 persons. The head of department was RNDr. Ján Michalko, CSc., deputy head RNDr. Ing. Dezider Magic, later RNDr. Anatólia Špániková, CSc. In 1972 within the department two working groups (WG) were formed : a/ WG mapping and study of plant communities, lead by Ján Michalko and b/ WG synantropic vegetation lead by RNDr. Terézia Krippelová, CSc.
- Department of Plant Systematics: the staff comprised in total 15 persons. The department was lead by doc. RNDr. Ján Futák, CSc. with deputy RNDr. Kamila Zahradníková, CSc.
- Department of Plant Ecology: the staff comprised in total 11 persons. The head was doc. RNDr. Anton Jurko, CSc. and its deputy Ing. Michal Duda, CSc. After RNDr. Františka Hindáka, CSc. v r. took the position in 1968, a precursor for the future research in cryptogams was formed.
Overtaking initial obstacles connected with the construction and equipment of the Institute, as well as with postgradual education and stabilization of expert and experienced staff members, the Institute had sound personnel, suitable working facilities, which at that time corresponded to the tasks being solved. The Institute took significant position on state scientific-organisational and also educational activities. It reached several important scientific results, coordinated one key direction of the State plan of basic research and one main task of the State plan of basic research. It was the teaching place for two scientific fields – botany and plant fysiology.
Despite the above mentioned positive outputs and results the presidency of SAS decided to merge the Institute with two others – the Institute of Landscape Biology and the Institute of Limnology. So, this was effective since 31. 12. 1974 and since 1. 1. 1975 it was the part of the Institute of experimental biology and ecology SAS.