English version

Michael Balke

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Biographic data

I am employed as curator for Coleoptera (beetles) at the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology (Zoologische Staatssammlung München. The ZSM is part of the Bavarian Natural History Collections, the largest union of natural history institutions in Germany.



Balke lab info


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Research interests

Taxonomy, evolution and biogeography of water beetles (mainly Dytiscidae). Focus on SE Asia, Melanesia and Oceania. Tools include traditional taxonomy and molecular phylogenetics. Recently, I am more and more into molecular biodiversity assessment. My longterm goal is a comprehensive survey of New Guinea water beetle diversity (see below), pursued together with my long-year colleague and friend Katayo Sagata (MSc) from Okapa, Eastern Highlands, PNG.

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A few words on benefit sharing

I do collect a lot in Melanesia, and I do whenever it is possible engage in community work and training of local biologists because it is my conviction that it is very much the time now to give back a little. This is a general statement. I am only a little beetle guy, and I try to do my bit. As I said during the 2003 Biological Conference of New Guinea in Goroka (PNG): We can not build roads. But we can build bridges. Come, join me, write and find out more how you can help.

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  • Staatliche Naturwissenschaftliche Sammlungen Bayerns
  • Zoologische Staatssammlung
  • Coleoptera Section
  • Muenchhausenstr. 21
  • 81247 Munich, Germany
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Michael’s places

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  • February 2002 – February 2004: Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at The Natural History Museum, London (Department of Entomology and Molecular Systematics Laboratory with Dr. Alfried P. Vogler).

  • March 2004 – April 2005: Postdoctoral Fellow at The Natural History Museum, London; Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales CSIC, Madrid; Naturhistorisches Museum Wien; Zoologische Staatssammlung, Munich.

  • May 2005 – April 2008: Researcher, Zoological State Collection, Munich, Germany.

  • May 2008 – September 2008: Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biology, National University of Singapore, Singapore (A/Prof. R. Meier und Prof. Peter K.L. Ng).

  • October 2008 – Curator of Coleoptera, Zoological State Collection, Munich, Germany.