In 2016, the following activities will be implemented under the program Diversity of life and health of ecosystems - Strategy AV21:
1. Landscape management with respect to global changes
Investigators: RNDr. Petr Petřík, Ph.D. – The Institute of Botany, RNDr. Jana Macková, Ph.D. – Biology Centre
The landscape of the Czech Republic is unable to sufficiently compensate for extreme weather events such as droughts and floods within the current climate change. Damage is done to human health, property and key resources (water, soil and biodiversity), and costs are rising in agriculture and forestry. Sustainable soil management is in the public interest, and the fundamental question is how to encourage land users to farm the landscape while respecting its fine-grained mosaic and in accordance with the European Landscape Convention. For this purpose, we have set up the so-called Platform for Sustainable Landscape Management, in which research institutes even outside the Academy of Sciences are increasingly involved. The main objectives of the platform is the sharing of information, assistance in developing strategic advice and education on sustainable landscape.
2. Optimizing the use of collections of biological material by Institutes of CAS
Investigators: RNDr. Jiří Jirout, Ph.D. – Biology Centre, Mgr. Barbora Zemanová – Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Mgr. Jana Navrátilová, Ph.D. – Institute of Botany
Institutes of the Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS) possess unique samples of biological material in the official or working collections, providing considerable research potential. For optimal utilization, it is necessary to secure these collections in terms of quality and clarify their access for mutual cooperation. The way is to create a network across Institutes of CAS using modern communication tools, sharing certain know-how, experiences and best practices for storing biological material, its presentation or exchange, as well as general awareness about the importance of storing biological material at CAS. The joint approach is also important in dealing with legislative issues (Convention on Biological Diversity, Nagoya protocol) that may affect the further development of collection activities. A series of meetings and workshops will be organized during the activity in order to ensure networking form, administration, legislation, development and unification of collections and databases. The activity also allows presentations of collection e.g. during open days or other exhibitions, as well as on educational seminars for public, researchers and museums, etc.
3. The Meaning of Biodiversity Protection for Environmental Groups and General Public in the Czech Republic
Investigator: Mgr. Kateřina Vojtíšková, Ph.D. – Institute of Sociology
Social science research forms an essential part of our contemporary knowledge about the value of environment and biodiversity for human society. Analysis of socio-economic processes and structures helps to integrate the topic of biodiversity conservation and environmental protection within the broader societal context, to explore the mechanisms of interaction between natural and social systems, and to evaluate the relevance of social factors in the formulation and implementation of public policies (e.g. social acceptability of different policy measures).
The aim of this activity is to map value orientations, attitudes, motivations, and behaviour related to the protection of biodiversity and natural resources, sustainable development, and public policy measures among members of selected environmental groups. We consider that the groups dealing with nature and landscape protection and environmental care play a significant role in maintaining (the value of) biodiversity. Both quantitative and qualitative methods are applied. Firstly, the quantitative questionnaire survey will be carried out among members of these groups and the results will be compared with the results from the public opinion survey of Czech adult population. Then, qualitative research (focus groups, media analysis) will focus more closely on discourse and practices of these selected – both professional and voluntary – groups.
4. The Optimization and Development of the ROZE Technology Transfer Platform
Investigator: Mgr. Michal Schmoranz – Biology Centre
The activity is a direct continuation of the 2015 activity which has developed a platform for presentation of ROZE results to industrial partners. The activity will raise an awareness of the research results and the workforce of the research institutes involved in ROZE. The goals include an enhancement of the attractiveness of ROZE research to industrial partners, defining joint research topics and exploiting a cooperation potential. ROZE partners will be offered an option of IP protection and cataloging, management and advisory services and support on project preparations (e.g. H2020). The project and legal support for preparation of project proposals will be limited to projects requiring intensive linkage between industrial and scientific institutions. The activity will also cover cooperation with the emerging central office of technology transfer on the SSC ASCR.
5. Unique diversity of the Czech flora: a critical assessment of plant endemics as a basis for efficient conservation of natural resources
Investigator: Mgr. Zdeněk Kaplan, Ph.D. – Institute of Botany
A thorough understanding of diversity is a fundamental prerequisite for further biological research and identification of conservation priorities. The lack of knowledge is particularly acute if strongly endangered endemics are involved. Endemics are organisms that are restricted to a limited geographic area and do not occur in any other place in the world. Populations of endemics often consist only of a few individuals and can easily become endangered or even extinct before being properly investigated. We aim to gather detailed data on taxonomy, ecology, distribution and potential threats to this unique biodiversity. All available data will be summarized in the first popular science book dealing with the Czech endemic flora. Selected taxonomically challenging groups are investigated using modern molecular and cytogenetic approaches. Results of our research will be disseminated in scientific papers, lectures for students and the public, assessment reports for conservation authorities and in a special exhibition at the Botanical Garden of the Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague.
6. Bee health
Investigators: Ing. Václav Krištůfek, CSc. – Biology Centre, Ing. Petra Urajová, Ph.D. – Institute of Microbiology
Deteriorating environment and diseases negatively affect the health of bee colonies causing direct impact on agriculture and resulting in economy losses. The aim of the activity is to provide scientifically based and coordinated approach to the study of strongly deteriorating health conditions of bee colonies in the Czech Republic. Intensive collaboration and communication of the results with our partners will be based on sharing and testing new methodologies and possible solutions. Our long term goal is to support the joint development of solutions for a healthy population of bees for agricultural needs in accordance with the sustainable development of healthy ecosystems and setting methodologies for amateur and professional beekeeping and the State Veterinary Administration of the Czech Republic. The activity will include: (1) networking of research teams and beekeepers to study the issue of bees nutrition and monitoring their health, (2) introduction of algal biotechnology to improve the bees health, (3) informing the public about new diagnostic methods for monitoring bee colonies health (e.g. American foulbrood) as a cheap and affordable service for beekeepers, (4) establishment of educational and experimental apiary in the BC CAS campus in České Budějovice (including public access) and (5) seminars, lectures for small beekeepers.
7. Plants hidden under water
Investigator: Mgr. Martina Čtvrtlíková, Ph.D. – Biology Centre
Aquatic plants spend most of their life life cycle unnoticed under water. However, thier importance for functioning of freshwater ecosystems is undisputed and worthy of our interest. They influence quality of water and sediment, which from they can absorb and accumulate nutrients (polutants) or even toxic solutions. Their higly structured bodies increase ecoystem spatial diversity providing habitats or hiding places for many aquatic organisms. Aquatic plants as bioindicators have high priority in international assessments of ecological quality of pristine lakes in Europe. Due to inadequate surveying of aquatic plants, however, this approach has not been fully adopted for national assessment of a variety of heavily modified and artificial water bodies in the Czech Republic. This project aims at disemination of current knowledge on aquatic vegetation in Czech freswaters and raising public awareness of scientific research projects on endangered plant species. We will present our underwater photos and footages of aquatic plants and their habitats on several expositions as well as in a new online gallery. Our research findings will be published in a few articles popularizing science. As a durable output of our projects, information panels will be installed in conservation areas; and brochures, handouts and postcards will be distributed in regional Information Centres to promote engagement of the public in conservation programes.
8. Popularization of long-term ecological research of aquatic ecosystems and their watersheds
RNDr. Petr Znachor, Ph.D. - Biology Centre
Freshwater lakes and reservoirs are sensitive indicators of various human activities and the ongoing climate change. Long-term ecological research at the Institute of Hydrobiology (Biology Centre CAS, v.v.i.) has been traditionally focused on several aquatic systems (Římov and Slapy Reservoirs, Bohemian Forest Lakes) that has been currently listed in the Czech LTER Network. Long-term data analyses brought new insight in functioning of these systems under anthropogenic pressures along with climate forcing. This project aims at raising of public awareness of susceptibility of aquatic ecosystems through public presentations, photographic exhibitions and open discussions with stakeholders. Existing archive of microphotographs and aerial views of aquatic ecosystems studied will be enhanced by new photographs that will be corner stones of several thematic exhibitions and two information brochures (Czech and English version) for the public.
9. Monitoring of cryptic species having indicative value using harmless sampling methods
Investigator: Mgr. Petr Blabolil - Biology Centre
At the time of changes in the environment, the monitoring of organisms reflecting these changes is a key issue. Different changes on scales from land use in the catchment to global changes are particularly evident in water ecosystems. One of the most sensitive biological elements are fish integrating lower parts of the trophic food chain. Currently, most of the attention is paid to dominant fish species usually sampled by different types of nets. On the other hand, cryptic species are often neglected due to difficult capturing. The aim of this activity is to create and validate monitoring scheme using harmless sampling methods (fyke-nets, elecrofishing and scuba-diving) for indicator fish species living in reservoirs. The model species are burbot (Lota lota) and spined loach (Cobitis elongatoides). These species are great indicators of ecological quality, and also in risk of threatened. The results of this activity are important for river authorities and also for nature conservation agencies. Moreover, the monitoring scheme will be applicable to commercially important species with similar life histories.
10. Genetic characterization Czech breeds of carp
Investigator: RNDr. Vlastimil Šlechta, CSc. - Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics
The aim is to use selected gene ( nuclear and mt ), markers to characterize in detail the structure of the Czech regional breeds of carp and use this data for additional checks of their herd uniqueness and also the use of these characters in a new way of breeding so. "Marker -assisted breeding”.
11. Information booklets for the public:
Microorganisms in forest ecosystems: diversity, dynamics and function
Investigator: RNDr. Petr Baldrian, Ph.D. – Institute of Microbiology
Invasive species of mosquitoes as a potential risk to biodiversity and the transmission of dangerous infections
Investigator: RNDr. Ivo Rudolf, Ph.D. - Institute of Vertebrate Biology
Monitoring watershed forest stream
Investigator: Doc. RNDr. Tomáš Navrátil, Ph.D. – Institute of Geology