Prof. Dr. Johanna Eder

Flora and vegetation development in the Cenozoic

Research interests

The Cenozoic comprises the last 66 million years. It is the era of the angiosperms, in which the modern terrestrial ecosystems evolved. Interdependencies of flora, vegetation, fauna, palaeogeography, and climate drive the evolution of terrestrial ecosystems. Plants played essential roles in these processes.

Taxonomical studies of plant macro remains (macro and micro morphology) are the basis of my work to decipher the floristic composition of fossil assemblages of different age. Comparison with modern taxa and socioecological studies in combination with the results of other earth science disciplines allow for the reconstruction of former ecosystems.

The regional results are jigsaw pieces for large-scale reconstructions and modelling of the evolution of flora and vegetation of Eurasia. Within the frame of the museum´s Research framework my research is assigned to QT 2 Biodiversity patterns: species and their distribution and QT 4 Reconstructing fossil ecosystems.





  • Teodoridis, V., Mazouch, Petr, and Kovar-Eder, J. 2020. The Integrated Plant Record (IPR) analysis: Methodological advances and new insights into the evolution of European Palaeogene/Neogene vegetation. Palaeontologia Electronica, 23(1):a16.
  • Zidianakis, G., Kovar-Eder, J., Zelilidis, A., Iliopoulos, G. 2020. Evidence of plant-arthropod interaction in the fossil assemblage from Pitsidia (Messara Basin, Crete, Greece, Upper Miocene). Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie Abhandlungen, 295/2: 101-115.


  • Tilley, L., Berning, B., Erdei, B., Fassoulas, C., Kroh, A., Kvaček, J., Mergen, P., Michellier, C., Miller, C.G., Rasser, M., Schmitt, R.T., Kovar-Eder, J. Hazards and disasters in the geological and geomorphological record: a key to understanding past and future hazards and disasters. Reserach Ideas and Outcomes, 5: e34087. doi: 10.3897/rio.5.e34087.


  • Kovar-Eder, J., Schweigert, G. 2018. Revision of the plant assemblage of Steinheim am Albuch (Baden-Württemberg, Germany, middle Miocene, reference locality of Mammal Neogene Zone MN 7). Bulletin of Geosciences, 93/4: 419-456.
  • Kovar-Eder, J., Teodoridis, V. The Middle Miocene Central European plant record revisited; widespread subhumid sclerophyllous forests indicated. Fossil Imprint, 74: 115-134.
  • Traiser, C., Roth-Nebelsick, A., Grein, M., Kovar-Eder, J., Kunzmann, L., Moraweck, K., Lange, J., Kvacek, J., Neinhuis, C., Folie, A., De Franceschi, D., Kroh, A., Prestianni, C., Poschmann, M., Wuttke, M. MORPHYLL: A database of fossil leaves and their morphological traits. Palaeontologia Electronica 21 (1). doi:10.26879/773


  • Roth-Nebelsick, J., Grein, M., Traiser, C., Moraweck, K., Kunzmann, L., Kovar-Eder, J., Kvaček, J., Stiller, S., Neinhuis, C. 2017. Functional leaf traits and leaf economics in the Paleogene — A case study for Central Europe.  Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology; 10.1016/j.palaeo.2017.02.008


  • Kovar-Eder, J. 2016. Early Oligocene plant diversity along the Upper Rhine Graben: The fossil flora of Rauenberg, Germany. Acta Palaeobotanica, 56/2: 329-440.
  • Kern, A.K., Kovar-Eder, J., Stachura-Suchoples, K., Wang, W.-M., Wang, P. 2016. Radiometric dating re-evaluating the paleoenvironment and paleoclimate around the Plio-Pleistocene boundary in NE China (Changbai Mountains). Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 224: 134-145.
  • Kovar-Eder, J. & Schmid, U. (Hrsg.) 2016. 225 Jahre Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart. 184 S. Staatl. Mus.Naturkunde Stuttgart.
  • Maxwell, E.E. , Alexander, S., Bechly, G., Eck, K., Frey, E., Grimm, K., Kovar-Eder, J., Mayr, G., Micklich, N., Rasser, M., Roth-Nebelsick, A., Salvador, R.B., Schoch, R.R., Schweigert, G., Stinnesbeck, W., Wolf-Schwenninger, K., Ziegler, R. 2016. The Rauenberg fossil Lagerstätte (Baden-Württemberg, Germany): a window into early Oligocene marine and coastal ecosystems of Central Europe. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimate, Palaeoecology.
  • Zidianakis, G., Iliopoulos, G., Zelilidis, A., Kovar-Eder, J. 2016. Pinus remains from the Pitsidia plant assemblage document coastal pine forests in southern Crete during the late Miocene. Review of Palaeobotany, 235: 11-30.


  • Kondraskov, P., Schütz, N., Schüßler, C., de Sequeira, M.M., Guerra, A.S., Caujapé-Castells, J., Ruth Jaén-Molina, Águedo Marrero-Rodríguez, Koch, M.C., Linder, P., Kovar-Eder, J., Thiv, M. 2015. Biogeography of Mediterranean Hotspot Biodiversity: Re-Evaluating the 'Tertiary Relict' Hypothesis of Macaronesian Laurel Forests. PloS ONE 10(7): e0132091. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0132091
  • Kovar-Eder, J., Kern, A.K., Sun, G. 2015. Fagaceae from the plant assemblage of Badaogou, Jilin Province, China (late Pliocene) indicate post-Pliocene diversification of oaks. Palaeontographica B, 293: 149-171.
  • Zidianakis, G., Iliopoulos, G., Zelilidis, A. Kovar-Eder, J. 2015. Myrica from the plant assembalge of Pitsidia (Crete, late Miocene): putting the puzzle together. Palaeontographica B, 293: 149-171. DOI: 10.1127/palb/293/2015/149


  • Kovar-Eder, J., Niedernostheide, N. (Hrsg.), 2014. Deutschlands naturkundliche Sammlungen-Erhaltung der Vielfalt als gesamtgesellschaftliche Aufgabe. Gemeinsame Tagung von DNFS (Deutsche Naturwissenschaftliche Forschungssammlungen) und DMB (Deutscher Museumsbund), Berlin 15. Februar 2013. Mitteilungen und Berichte aus dem Institut für Museumsforschung, 52, 72 Seiten.
  • Kovar-Eder, J. 2014. Deutschlands naturkundliche Sammlungen – Ausgangslage und Relevanz der Sammlungen als Forschungsinfrastruktur. Mitteilungen und Berichte aus dem Institut für Museumsforschung, 52: 9-14.


  • Rasser, M., Bechly, G., Böttcher, R., Ebner, M., Heizmann, E., Höldtke, O., Joachim, C., Kern, A.,  Kovar-Eder, J., Nebelsick, J., Roth-Nebelsick, A., Schoch, R., Schweigert, G., Ziegler, R. 2013. The Randeck Maar: Palaeoenvironment and habitat differentiation of a Miocene lacustrine system. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 392: 426-453. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2013.09.025


  • Kovar-Eder, J., Knörr, U.C., Mazouch, P. 2012.Fruit ecology of Eocene and Neogene plant assemblages in Europe. Tracing shifts in dispersal syndromes. PALAIOS, 27(12):887-903. DOI: 10.2110/palo.2012.p12-051r. 
  • Knörr, U.C., Kovar-Eder, J., Mazouch, P., Roth-Nebelsick, A. 2012. Fruit dispersal ecology of woody taxa in temperate to tropical forests of China and Japan. PALAIOS, 27: 523–540. DOI: 10.2110/palo.2011.p11-113r.


  • Teodoridis, V., Kovar-Eder, J. Mazouch, P. 2011. Integrated plant record (IPR) vegetation analysis applied to modern vegetation in southeastern China and Japan. PALAIOS, 26: 623-638. doi:10.2110/palo.2010.p10-149r.
  • Teodoridis, V., Kovar-Eder, J., Kvaček, Z., Mazouch, P. 2011. The integrated plant record vegetation analysis: internet platform and online application. Acta Musei Nationalis Pragae, Ser. B, 67: 159-165.


  • Gabrielyan, I.,Kovar-Eder, J. 2010. The genus Acer from the lower/middle Pleistocene Sisian Formation, Syunik region, South Armenia. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 165:111-134.  doi: 10.1016/j.revpalbo.2010.11.006


  •  Kovar-Eder, J. & Sun, Ge. 2009. The Neogene flora from Badaogou of Changbai, NE China – Most similar living relatives of selected taxa and relations to the European record. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 158: 1-13.
  • Rasche, L., Kovar-Eder, J. 2009. Woody angiosperm taxa of the Canarian laurel forests: Leaf morphology and cuticular structures. Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde A, N.S., 2: 447-494.


  • Kovar-Eder, J., Jechorek, H., Kvaček, Z., Parashiv, V. 2008. The integrated plant record: an essential tool for reconstructing Neogene zonal vegetation in Europe. Palaios, 23: 97-111.
  • Rasche, L. & Kovar-Eder, J. 2008. Die Herstellung transluzenter Laubblätter (Cleared Leaves) zum Studium der Feinnervatur. Der Präparator 54: 28-31.


  • Kovar-Eder, J., Hably, L., Wähnert, V. (eds) 2007. Special issue dedicated to Zlatko Kvaček on the occasion of his 70th birthday. Acta Palaeobot., 47/1: 1-311.
  • Kovar-Eder, J., Kvaček, Z. 2007. The integrated plant record (IPR) to reconstruct Neogene vegetation – the IPR vegetation analysis. Acta Palaeobot., 47/2: 391-418.


  • Kvaček Z., Kovác M., Kovar-Eder J., Doláková N., Jechorek H., Parashiv V., Kováčová M., Sliva L., 2006: Miocene evolution of landscape and vegetation in the Central Paratethys. Geologica Carpathica, 57: 295-310.
  • Kovar-Eder, J., Kvaček, Z., Martinetto, E., Roiron, P. 2006. Vegetation of southern Europe around the Miocene / Pliocene boundary (7-4 MA - the High Resolution Interval I) as reflected in the macrofossil record. In J. Agusti, O. Oms and J. E. Meulenkamp (Eds.) - Late Miocene to Early Pliocene Environment and Climate Change in the Mediterranean area. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 238: 321-339.
  • Kovar-Eder, J., Hably, L. 2006. The Late Miocene flora of Mataschen, Styria (Austria), Early Pannonian). Acta Palaeobot., 46/2: 157-233.


  • Kovar-Eder, J., Wójcicki and J., Zetter, R. (2005).: Trapaceae from Late Miocene of Austria and the European Context. - Acta Palaeobotanica, 45: 165-186.


  • Bruch, A. and J.Kovar-Eder (2004): Climatic Evaluation of the Flora from Oberdorf (Styria, Austria, Early Miocene) Based on the Coexistence Approach. Phytologia Balcanica, 9, 2003(2): 175-185. Sofia.
  • Harzhauser, M., Daxner-Höck, G., Kollmann, H., Kovar-Eder, J., Rögl, F., Schultz, O. and H. Summesberger (2004): 100 Schritte Erdgeschichte. Die Geschichte der Erde und des Lebens im Naturhistorischen Museum in Wien. 96 S. Naturhist. Mus. Wien.
  • Jechorek, H. & J. Kovar-Eder (2004): Vegetational characteristics in Europe around the late Early to early Middle Miocene based on the plant macro record. - In Steininger, F.F., Kovar-Eder, J. and M. Fortelius (Eds): The middle Miocene Environments and Ecosystem Dynamics of the Eurasian Neogene (EEDEN). - Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, 249: 53-62. Frankfurt.
  • Jechorek, H. and J. Kovar-Eder(2004): Neue Taxa aus der Flora von Weingraben (Burgenland, Miozän, Badenium). - Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museums Wien, 106 A: 327-343.
  • Kovar-Eder, J., Kvacek, Z. and Ströbitzer-Hermann, M. (2004). The Flora of Parschlug (Styria, Austria) - Revision and Synthesis. Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museums Wien, 105 A: 45-157. Wien.
  • Kovar-Eder, J. (2004): Neogene Vegetation Change in West-Eurasia. - Proceedings of the Sino-German Symposium on Paleontology, Geological Evolution and Environmental Changes of Xinjiang, China. April, 2004: 45-47. Urumqi.
  • Kovar-Eder, J. (2004): Die obermiozäne Flora von Mataschen bei Fehring, Steiermark - Blattvergesellschaftungen. Joannea - Geologie u. Paläontologie, 5: 163-176. Graz.
  • Kovar-Eder, J. (2004): Naturkundemuseen als Zentren naturwissenschaftlicher Kompetenz - Alleinstellungsmerkmale des 21. Jahrhunderts. - Museumsblatt - Mitt. Museumswesen Baden-Württembergs, 37: 3-6.
  • Kovar-Eder, J. (2004): Laudatio Prof. Dr. Friedrich Ehrendorfer. - GfBS Newsletter, (13), 2004: 14-17.
  • Steininger, F.F., Kovar-Eder, J. and M. Fortelius (Eds) (2004): The middle Miocene Environments and Ecosystem Dynamics of the Eurasian Neogene (EEDEN). - Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, 249, 100 S. Frankfurt.


  • Kovar-Eder, J. (2003).: Vegetation Dynamics in Europe during the Neogene. In Reumer, W.F. & Wessels, W. Distribution and migration of Tertiary Mammals in Eurasia. Denisea, 10: 373-391.
  • Harzhauser, M., Kovar-Eder, J., Nehyba, S., Ströbitzer-Hermann, M., Schwarz, J., Wojcicki, J., and I. Zorn (2003): A Pannonian (Late Miocene) Transgression in the Northern Vienna Basin. The Paleoecological Feedback. - Geologica Carpathica, 54(1): 41-52. Bratislava.
  • Kovar-Eder, J. and Z. Kvacek (2003): Towards Vegetation Mapping Based on the Fossil Plant Record. - Acta Universitatis Carolinae, Geologica. Prag.
  • Kovar-Eder, J., Kvacek, Z. and M. Ströbitzer-Hermann (2003): The Flora of Parschlug (Styria, Austria). - Revision and Synthesis. - Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museums, 105(2) A. Wien.
  • Ströbitzer-Hermann, M. and J. Kovar-Eder (2003): Acer L.: Some Stratigraphically relevant species and their importance as Potential Indicators of Vegetation Conditions. - Acta Universitatis Carolinae, Geologica, 46(4): 101-106. Prag.


  • Kovar-Eder, J. and B. Meller (2002): The plant assemblages from the main seam parting of the western sub-basin of Oberdorf, N Voitsberg, Styria, Austria (Early Miocene). - Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, 241: 281-312. Frankfurt.
  • Kovar-Eder, J., Schwarz, J. and J. Wojcicki (2002): The predominatly aquatic flora from Pellendorf, Lower Austria, Late Miocene, Pannonian - a systematic study. - Acta Palaeobotanica, 42(2): 125-151. Krakow.


  • Kovar-Eder, J. and B. Meller (2001): Plant assemblages from the hanging wall sequence of the opencast mine Oberdorf N Voitsberg, Styria (Austria, Early Miocene, Ottnangian). - Palaeontographica B, 259: 65- 112. Stuttgart.
  • Kovar-Eder, J. Kvacek, Z. and B. Meller (2001): Comparing Early (/Middle) Miocene floras and probable vegetation types of Oberdorf N Voitsberg (Austria), Bohemia (Czech Republic), and Wackersdorf (Germany). - Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 114: 83-125. Amsterdam.
  • Kovar-Eder, J., Haas, M., Hofmann, C.-C. and B. Meller (2001): A plant assemblage severely influenced by a volcanic eruption, Styria, Austria, Early Miocene. - Palaeontology, 44(4): 575-600. London.
  • Kovar-Eder, J. and J. Wojcicki (2001): A Late Miocene (Pannonian) Flora from Hinterschlagen, Hausruck Lignite Area, Upper Austria, Austria. - Acta Palaeobotanica, 41(2): 223-252. Krakow.


  • Kovar-Eder, J. (2000): Oberdorf N Voitsberg (Styria, Austria) - a Key Section in the Vegetation History of Early Miocene European Continental Deposits. - In Neubauer, F. and V. Höck, (Hrsg.): Aspects of Geology in Austria. - Mitteilungen der Österreichischen Geologischen Gesellschaft, 92: 215-218. Wien.
  • Ströbitzer-Hermann, M., Kovar-Eder, J. and E. Vitek (2000): Untersuchungen an Acer heldreichii Orph. ex Boiss. ssp. heldreichii und ssp. trautvetteri (Medw.) Murray sowie Acer pseudoplatanus. - Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museums, 102 B: 409-416. Wien.


  • Meller, B., Kovar-Eder, J. and Zetter, R. (1999): Lower Miocene diaspore- , leaf-, and palynomorph - assemblages from the base of the lignite- bearing sequence in the opencast mine Oberdorf N Voitsberg (Styria, Austria) as indication of a "Younger Mastixioid" vegetation. - Palaeontographica B, 252: 123-179. Stuttgart.


  • Kovar-Eder, J. (1998): Fossile Blattreste vom Teiritzberg. - Beiträge zur Paläontologie, 23: 79-83. Wien.
  • Kovar-Eder, J. (1998): The Leaf Assemblages from the Early Miocene Lignite Opencast Mine Oberdorf, N Voitsberg, Styria, Austria. - In: F. F. Steininger (Hrsg.): The Early Miocene Lignite Deposit of Oberdorf, N Voitsberg, Styria, Austria. - Jahrbuch der Geologischen Bundesanstalt, 140(4): 447-452; Wien.
  • Kovar-Eder, J., Meller,B. and R. Zetter (1998): Comparative investigations on the basal fossiliferous layers at the opencast mine Oberdorf (Koeflach-Voitsberg lignite deposit, Styria, Austria; Lower Miocene). - Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 101: 125-145. Amsterdam.
  • Kovar-Eder, J., Meller,B. and R. Zetter (1998): Cercidiphyllum crenatum (Unger) R.W.Brown in der kohleführenden Abfolge von Oberdorf N Voitsberg, Steiermark. - Mitteilungen des Referats für Geologie und Paläontologie Landesmuseum Joanneum SH2: 239-264. Graz.
  • Haas, M., Daxner-Höck, G., Decker, K., Kolcon, I., Kovar-Eder, J., Meller, B. and R. Sachsenhofer (1998): Palaeoenvironmental Studies in the Early Miocene Lignite Opencast Mine Oberdorf, N Voitsberg, Styria, Austria. - In: F. F. Steininger (Hrsg.): The Early Miocene Lignite Deposit of Oberdorf, N Voitsberg, Styria, Austria. - Jahrbuch der Geologischen Bundesanstalt, 140(4): 483-490. Wien.
  • Steininger, F. F. Daxner-Höck, G., Haas, M., Kovar-Eder, J., Mauritsch, H., Meller, B. and R. Scholger (1998): Stratigraphy of the "Basin Fill" in the Early Miocene Lignite Opencast Mine Oberdorf, N Voitsberg, Styria, Austria. - In: F. F. Steininger (Hrsg.): The Early Miocene lignite deposits of Oberdorf, N Voitsberg, Styria, Austria. - Jahrbuch der Geologischen Bundesanstalt, 140(4): 491-496. Wien.


  • Kovar-Eder, J. (1997): C. v. Ettingshausen - Begründer paläobotanischer Kollektionen und Ausstellungen. Sammlungsverwaltung vor 100 Jahren und heute. - In: Faszination versunkener Pflanzenwelten. - Mitteilungen der Abteilung für Geologie und Paläontologie Landesmuseum Joanneum, 55: 15- 24. Graz.
  • Kovar-Eder, J. (1997): Vor hundert Jahren - Kurioses und nachdenklich Stimmendes. - In: Faszination versunkener Pflanzenwelten. - Mitteilungen der Abteilung für Geologie und Paläontologie Landesmuseum Joanneum, 55: 25-32. Graz.
  • Kovar-Eder, J. (1997): Bibliographie zur Person Constantin Freiherr von Ettingshausen. - In: Faszination versunkener Pflanzenwelten. - Mitteilungen der Abteilung für Geologie und Paläontologie Landesmuseum Joanneum, 55: 33-53. Graz.
  • Kovar-Eder, J. (1997): Wissenschaftliche Bibliographie von Constantin Freiherr von Ettingshausen. - In: Faszination versunkener Pflanzenwelten. - Mitteilungen der Abteilung für Geologie und Paläontologie Landesmuseum Joanneum, 55: 55-73. Graz.
  • Kovar-Eder, J. (1997): Palaeobotanical Investigations in the Opencast Mine Oberdorf. - Exkrusionsführer zum 2. European Palaeontological Congress, 10.-12. Juli 1997: 62-65. Wien.
  • Kovar-Eder, J. (1997): Paläobotanische Untersuchungen im Tagebau Oberdorf. - Exkursionsführer Ettingshausen-Kolloquium, 7.-9. Juli 1997, Graz: 56-59. Graz.
  • Kovar-Eder, J. (1997): Die ADV-gestützte Erfassung der in österreichischen Kollektionen befindlichen paläontologischen Typen und Originale. - Geologische und Paläontologische Mitteilungen Innsbruck, 22: 123-127. Innsbruck.
  • Kovar-Eder, J. (1997): The computerized inventory of the paleontological types and originals held in Austrian collections. - Europal., 1997 (11/12): 123-127.


  • Hably, L. and J.Kovar-Eder (1996): A Representative Leaf Assemblage of the Pannonian Lake from Dozmat near Szombathely (West Hungary), Upper Pannonian, Upper Miocene. - In: Advances in Austrian-Hungarian Joint Geological Research: 69-80. Budapest.
  • Kovar-Eder, J. (1996): Eine bemerkenswerte Blätter-Vergesellschaftung aus dem Tagebau Oberdorf bei Köflach, Steiermark (Unter-Miozän). - Mitteilungen der Abteilung für Geologie und Paläontologie Landesmuseum Joanneum, 54: 147-171. Graz.
  • Kovar-Eder, J., Meller, B. and R. Zetter (1996): The Koeflach-Voitsberg Lignite Area -A Case Study. - Memorial Conference dedicated to Vsevolod Andreevich Vakhrameev. - Rossijskaja Akademija Nauk, Geologitsheskij Institut: 38-40. Moskva.
  • Kovar-Eder, J., Kvacek, Z., Zastawnlak, E., Givulescu, R., Hably, L., Mihailovic, D., Teslenko, Y. and H. Walther (1996): Floristic trends in the vegetation of the Paratethys surrounding areas during Neogene time. - In: Bernor, R., Fahlbusch, V.and H.-W. Mittmann (Eds.): The Evolution of Western Eurasian Later Neogene Faunas. pp. 399-409. Columbia University Press.