Axel Ssymank, Dr.

Bundesamt für Naturschutz, German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation;
Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander König (ZFMK)

Porfessional education:

  • 1990-1995: Dr. rer. Nat. (PhD), “The mosaic of plant communities of a sandstone area – habitat dependency, spatial distribution, phenology and functional interrelations with flower-visiting insects”
  • 1979 -1985: Diploma in Biology (M.Sc.)


Keywords: Nature conservation, typical & characteristic species of habitats, pollination ecology, habitat & species assessments, EU Red list of Habitats, German Red List Habitats, Red List Syrphidae Germany


Main working fields: Red lists, pollinators, faunistics, taxonomy, habitat requirements, saproxylic insects

Current position (since 2002):

  • Head of unit „EU-Habitats Directive/ Natura 2000“ within the department „Biotope protection and landscape ecology“ of the BfN (Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, a national scientific authority reporting to the German Ministry of Environment), Scientific Director
  • Standard list of biotopes (habitats), Red list of threatened biotopes and biotope complexes in Germany, EUNIS habitat classification, Red List of Habitats of the European Union
  • International Negociations, Scientific expertise and Coordination of protected areas for nature conservation, mainly of the EU-Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) with the worldwide largest network of protected sites “Natura 2000”, German Member of the Scientific Working Group, Expert Group on Reporting in Brussels; German National Coordination of the implementation of Nature EU-Directives in Germany with the German Federal States and their scientific advisory bodies; German Interpretation Manual of Habitats (Handbook for practical implementation); Implementation of the EU-Birds Directive (79/409/EWG)
  • National site assessments for nature conservation sites (Sites of Community Interest, SCI’s, SAC’s) for habitats and species, methodical guidance for monitoring and reporting
  • Scientific research projects: Site assessments, Nature monitoring and Reporting, German National applied nature conservation research projects (F+E) for the Habitats Directive, for CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity) Issues, International Pollinator Initiative
  • Scientific and technical coordination of German National Reports (Art. 17 Habitats Directive) on the ‘State of Nature’ to the European Union

Current projects: Afrotropical Manual of Diptera, chapter Syrphidae, revision of genus Simoides, Betasyrphus (Afrotropis), All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory in SW-Germany


Taxa: Syrphidae, Conopidae, Stratiomyidae

Region: Palaearktis, Afrotropis

Disciplines: pollination, biology, faunistics, taxonomy, Red lists, All Taxa biodiversity inventories

From 1994 to 2002: Head of unit “Site protection and prime areas for nature conservation” in the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation
From 1989 to 1994: Scientific Advisor in the Federal Research Center for Nature Conservation and Landscape Ecology (BFANL)

Research Associate of the Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig (Germany)
Research Associate of the University of Alicante (Spain)
Editorial/Advisory Board of two Scientific Journals: Journal of Pollination Ecology, Studia Dipterologica