Diversity of Life and Health of Ecosystems
Conservation of the quality of the environment is one of the major challenges faced by contemporary society. In some areas, the lack or decline in the quality of ecosystems’ major components, such as soil or water, have already manifested themselves very
negatively. Nevertheless, only healthy ecosystems can be the basis for the proper functioning of society and they are an essential condition for its development. The disturbance of natural variety of life – biological diversity (biodiversity) – and the weakening of basic ecosystem functions (ecosystem services) strongly increase the risks for the future of human society and its welfare.
The programme topics involve the study of biodiversity at the molecule, gene, species, community, and ecosystem levels as well as research targeted on the understanding of the key biogeochemical cycle mechanisms and flows of substances and energy among the components of the ecosystem. The hierarchical classification of biodiversity offers an extraordinary opportunity for interdisciplinary cooperation.
The programme will also involve the study of co-evolution and interrelationships of species, the research of invasive species and their influence on native ecosystems, and the assessment of genetic variation in populations and speciation processes.
Methodologically, the programme combines biological, ecological, geological, and social disciplines with the ambition to bring an original and comprehensive understanding of biodiversity and its importance for human society against the background of abiotic components of the environment as well as knowledge about the structure and functions of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The results will find their use in proposals of sustainable systems of plant protection and, more broadly, in agriculture, forestry, fishery, and other fields related to the ecosystem services. The output will also include both theoretical and practical approaches to environmental care, modern nature and landscape conservation, and other recommendations following the effective and sustainable use of natural resources by human society, providing a good quality of life as a result. An important part of the programme will be communication with the general public and the education of all target groups.