Projects

Running international projects

EU Horizon 2020

Czech Science Foundation


Running national projects

Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of the Czech Republic, the support provided from EU funds

Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic

Technology Agency of the Czech Republic

Czech Science Foundation


Finished projects

Spanish Ministry of Environment

Puerto Rico department of Natural and Environmental Resource

Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of the Czech Republic administrate the support provided from EU funds

Landesamt für Verbraucherschutz, Landwirtschaft und Flurneuordnung Frankfurt/O., Germany

EEA Grant/Norway

Czech-Norwegian Research Programme (CZ09)

Technology Agency of the Czech Republic

National Agency for Agriculture Research

Czech Science Foundation

Grant Agency of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic

The Czech Academy of Sciences


Running international projects

EU Horizon 2020

Co-creating a decision support framework to ensure sustainable fish production in Europe under climate change (ClimeFish)

Project No.: 677039

Principal Investigator: Prof. Michaela Aschan, University of Tromso, Norway

Co-principal Investigator: Prof. Jan Kubečka, Ph.D.

Financial support: EU Horizon 2020

Duration: 2016-2020

Scientist from 16 countries join forces to help ensure that the increase in seafood production comes in areas and for species where there is a potential for sustainable growth, given the expected climate changes. In ClimeFish they will provide a support framework for decision makers, thus contributing to robust employment and sustainable development of rural and coastal communities. In Czech part of the project we intend to rationalize the angling use of fish production under changing environment.

Why: Climate changes are real, they are happening right now and they are threatening sustainable growth in aquaculture and fisheries worldwide. The world population is growing, and the demand for food is increasing. Forecasts indicate an overall decline in food production due to climate change. ClimeFish addresses the necessity of changes, both when it comes to utilizing opportunities and mitigating risks under climate change. ClimeFish will help ensure that the increase in seafood production comes in areas and for species where there is a potential for sustainable growth. IN Czech
conditions the growth of production is complicated by the changes of nutrient concentrations and angling effort. All these factors will be considered.

What: ClimeFish will provide guidelines for how to make climate-enabled management plans to prepare and adapt to climate change while minimizing economic losses and social consequences. Thus, based on the expected climatic challenges, ClimeFish will contribute to robust employment and sustainable development of rural and coastal communities. The output of the project will be the ClimeFish Decision Support Framework (DSF), which contains guidelines, databases and the ClimeFish Decision Support System (DSS). The results of the project will be used for optimization of fishery in Lipno reservoir and other waterbodies.

How: ClimeFish will develop forecasts for production scenarios that will serve as input to socio-economic analysis and identify risks and opportunities regarding climate changes. Strategies to mitigate risk and utilize opportunities will be identified in co-creation with stakeholders, and will serve to strengthen the scientific advice and to improve long term production planning and policymaking. The project addresses three production sectors: marine aquaculture, marine fisheries and lake and pond production in a total of 16 case studies, involving more than 25 species. For Czech fisheries, the main target species are wells, Silurus glanis, pikeperch, Sander lucioperca and carp, Cyprinus carpio.

ClimeFish


Czech Science Foundation

Hunting down the Eagle Killer – Investigations into the cyanotoxin causing avian vacuolar myelinopathy

Project No.: 19-21649J

Principal Investigator: Jan Mareš

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2019 - 2021

Avian vacuolar myelinopathy (AVM) is a fatal neurological disease of birds observed with an increasing frequency, threatening avian populations, including the iconic bald eagle. All evidence points at AVM being caused by a novel toxin produced by epiphytic cyanobacteria entering the food chain with water plants, finally causing the brain lesions in affected birds. We could isolate the toxigenic cyanobacterium in culture, purify the compound that is most likely causing AVM and determine its structure. In the current project we will confirm the identity of the AVM toxin, elucidate its biosynthesis, identify other coproduced cytotoxins, investigate environmental and anthropogenic factors driving the AVM toxin production, and design protocols for molecular detection of its producer. Localization of the toxin will be studied in a zebrafish model. The project will contribute to the understanding of AVM etiology, characterization of a novel cyanotoxin representing a potential threat for freshwater ecosystems or even human health, and development of techniques for its routine monitoring.

The aim of the project is to confirm the cyanotoxin causing avian vacuolar myelinopathy, elucidate its biosynthesis, and identify other coproduced cytotoxins. To find the factors driving the toxin production and design protocols for molecular detection of its producer. To study localization of the toxin in a zebrafish model.


Running national projects

Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of the Czech Republic, the support provided from EU funds

Biomanipulation as a tool for the improvement of reservoir water quality

Project No.: CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/16_025/0007417

Principal Investigator: Jan Kubečka, Tomáš Jůza

Financial support: Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of the Czech Republic administrate the support provided from EU funds

Duration: 2018–2022

Water is the most important of global resources and therefore strong emphasis is placed on sustaining its high quality. Due to climatic changes, water resources are exposed to various climatic extremes and only healthy ecosystems with good ecological potential are able to withstand these changes. Surveys have shown that most of the reservoirs in the Czech Republic are in an unsatisfactory state and amendments to improve this situation will have to be implemented in the near future. Evaluation of the ecological potential has clearly shown that the cause of this negative state is eutrophication, stemming from increased loads of phosphorus and nitrogen into water bodies. A successful biomanipulation, or the achievement of better water quality through targeted changes in the food chain, requires interventions in the watersheds which lead to decreased nutrient loading into reservoirs as well as development of bulk reduction fishing. The aim of the project is a unique wholelake experiment with the monitoring of all of the important parts of the reservoir food chain before, during, and after a targeted manipulation. The project will evaluate the effect of reducing the stock of undesirable fish species and the proliferation of predatory fish species on specific trophic levels, and, ultimately on the improvement of water column transparency and water quality in selected reservoirs. The majority of the biomass of planktivorous fish will be removed from three model reservoirs differing in nutrient load (trophy). At the same time, predatory fish will be introduced. Detailed monitoring of the entire reservoir ecosystem from fish, zooplankton, fytoplankton, macrophytes, and bacteria to nutrients and reservoir metabolism will help uncover the effects of such a vigorous manipulation. The economic rentability of these biomanipulations will also be evaluated, with the aim to put into numbers the difference between the costs and the savings due to the improvement of ecological potential (Water Framework Directive). Other savings can include easier treatment of raw water in waterworks processing or an increase in the recreation potential. According to the Water Framework Directive, all European Union member states are expected to reach at least good ecological state of water bodies by the year 2027. Biomanipulation represents one of the important tools to fulfill this ambitious goal.

Web page


Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic

Methodology of predatory fish quantification in drinking-water reservoirs to optimize the management of aquatic ecosystems

Project No. QK1920011

Principal investigator: Petr Blabolil

Financial support: Applied Research Program of the Ministry of Agriculture for the period 2017–2025

Duration: 2019–2021

The aim of the project is to develop a methodology for quantification of predatory fish to optimize the management of drinking-water reservoirs using data from the investigator s comprehensive database and practical field tests. This main output together with the other outputs (proven technologies to use environmental DNA from water, longlines to determine the populations of European catfish and universal antenna systems, and prototype fish picking equipment from a large fyke-net) are the key for the effective planning of the fisheries management aiming to influence the food chain by predation on planktivory fish. This will positively affect water quality.


Aquaculture of rheofilous fish

Project No. QK1920326

Principal investigator: Peter Podhorec, South Bohemian University, Faculty of Fisheries and Protection of Waters

Co-investigator: Marek Šmejkal

Financial support: Applied Research Program of Ministry of Agriculture for the period 2017–2025

Duration: 2019–2021

The impacts of anthropogenic changes on the river environment lead to decrease of abundance and diversity in rheophilous fish communities. One of the possibilities to enhance native populations, especially where natural recruitment is not successful, is stocking of trained fish with high probability of their survival. Fish produced in aquaculture environment are formed by different selection pressure than fish in the natural environment. Although it seems impossible to maintain whole spectrum of natural behaviour in aquaculture while keeping the efficiency on the same level, it is at least possible to improve condition of stocked fish and escape reactions to predators. Production of rheophilous fish in conditions with enhanced emphasis on their condition and with acquired reaction to predation may potentially improve the stocking efficiency of rheophilous fish. Model fish species used in this study is the rheophilous asp (Leuciscus aspius). This species is produced as important community component of water drinking reservoirs, where it decreases the number of omnivorous fish species. Asp reared in artificial conditions will be divided in four groups and we will test the effect of condition (water speed during rearing) and presence/absence of alarm cues from predation on the survival rates of stocked fish in natural environment. We will assess relative survival rates three times a year (spring, summer and autumn) and the impact of improved conditions of rearing to survival will be evaluated.

 


Technology Agency of the Czech Republic

Floating green islands, a perspective alternative for improvement of ecological potential and support of littoral habitats in water reservoirs

Project No.: TH02030633

Principal Investigator: Jan Kubečka, Josef Hejzlar

Financial support: Technology Agency of the Czech Republic

Duration: 2017 - 2020

The aim of this project is to develop floating islands technology for reservoirs application (construction design, substrate, composition of plants and field tests of mechanics and ecosystem benefits). The target of the project is the littoral habitat, which is normally the richest habitat of natural lakes. In most of our reservoirs it is eco-hydrologically degraded due to water level fluctuations. Aquatic macrophytes are destroyed here by drying and freezing or due to shading by low transparency. Project outputs will enhance the ecological potential of reservoirs by supporting species diversity of aquatic organisms, the structure of the fish stock, nesting of waterfowl, nutrient reduction, water quality and aesthetic value.


Development of technical measure for protection of natural riverine fish stock against masive migration of undesirable fish species from Lipno reservoir as encouragement of population of brown trout and freshwater pearl mussel Margaritifera margaritifera

Project No.: TH02030709

Principal Investigator: Milan Muška, Jan Kubečka

Financial support: Technology Agency of the Czech Republic

Duration: 2017 - 2020

The aim of the project is to select suitable location and develop mobile migration barrier above the Lipno reservoir. The barrier must not influence either the river flow or transport of debris, but have to effectively prevent reservoir fish from migrating into upper Vltava river catchment. Effectively operating barrier assures undisturbed development of indigenous salmonid assemblage in upper Vltava river improving hereby the essential requirements for reproduction of critically endangered Pearl mussel. Simultaneously, the location of the barrier should allow finding suitable spawning habitats for desirable fish species from the reservoir. Developed technology will be applicable to many similar places where regulation of fish migration is necessary and building weirs is not possible.


Czech Science Foundation

Ecogenomics of genome-streamlined freshwater methylotrophs

Project No.: 19-23469S

Principal Investigator: Michaela Salcher

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2019 - 2021

The most abundant planktonic microbes have reduced genomes and streamlining theory predicts that gene loss is caused by evolutionary selection driven by environmental factors. Yet the evolutionary path of streamlining remains unknown because of obstacles in establishing axenic cultures of such microbes. We developed a targeted isolation technique for abundant genome-streamlined freshwater methylotrophs: ‘Ca. Methylopumilus planktonicus’ (Betaproteobacteria, 1.3 Mbp genome size), that are ideal model organisms for studying microdiversification patterns and the evolution of genome-streamlining per se. The closest relatives of ‘Ca. M. planktonicus’ inhabit lake sediments and the pelagial of oceans, and we propose that the evolutionary origin of the family can be traced back to sediment microbes with medium-sized genomes. Whole genome sequencing of 150 strains and deep sequencing of metagenomes will allow comparative population genomics with the aim to disentangle the underlying ecological reasons for the widespread but yet enigmatic phenomenon of genomestreamlining in aquatic microbes.

The aim of the project is using targeted isolation and whole-genome-sequencing of oligotrophic freshwater ‘Ca. Methylopumilus planktonicus’ (Betaproteobacteria) together with metagenomics to study the evolution of genome-streamlining in planktonic microbes. Identifying microdiversification patterns in closely related taxa.


 

The effect of periphyton assemblages on productivity and phosphorus cycling in oligotrophic post-mining lakes

Project No.: 19-05791S

Principal Investigator: Klára Řeháková

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2019 - 2021

Periphyton is ubiquitous in aquatic habitats and performs numerous environmental functions such as nutrient cycling and self-purification of aquatic ecosystems. Less attention has been paid to the investigation of periphyton than of plankton, although in many ecosystems periphyton forms higher biomass. One of the less studied ecosystems are oligotrophic lakes, especially those founded antropogenetically. In the Czech Republic, there is a unique series of 3 anthropogenic oligotrophic lakes of gradual successional age, which were created during the recultivation after coal mining. Even though one of them, Medard, is the largest lake in the Czech Republic, data on primary production, diversity and functions of periphytic community are missing. The proposed project will investigate the rate of primary production during the season and along the successional chronosequence of the lakes, species diversity and dynamics of the development of periphyton, its functions in the nutrient cycling, with a special focus on the fate of phosphorus, which is the limiting nutrient in investigated lakes.

Aim of the study is to explore periphyton diversity and dynamics in the oligotrophic anthropogenic lakes. To estimate the primary production during the season and along successional gradient of lakes. To estimate the phosphorus uptake efficiency by periphyton under various environmental conditions.


Who eats whom and when? Zooming-in on alternative energy transfer pathways in planktonic food webs of shallow lakes

Project No.: 19-16554S

Principal Investigator: Dagmara Sirová

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2019 - 2021

Freshwater planktonic food webs (FW) are crucial for understanding of energy and material flow among organisms in the water column. Though theory on FW structure and function is advancing rapidly, it remains poorly resolved and based on relatively simple systems in stratified lakes. Shallow polymictic ecosystems such as hypertrophic fishponds, however, seem to support more complex communities of immense biodiversity. Based on our preliminary results, we hypothesise that, contrary to the widely accepted plankton ecology paradigms, methane-oxidising bacteria, picocyanobacteria, and fungal zoospores are important players in the transfer of energy to higher trophic levels in hypertrophic lakes. The flow of energy from primary producers to higher trophic levels through the ‘classical FW’ is reduced here, the microbial FW is the main component, although likely less efficient due to more trophic levels and consequent energy losses. To unravel these complex interactions at a sufficient level of resolution, a combination of modern molecular methods and multidisciplinary skills is planned.

We will use a unique combination of molecular, epifluorescence, and chemical methods to unravel complex interactions in planktonic food webs of the underexplored but important aquatic ecosystems at an unprecedented level of resolution.


Illuminating the ecology of freshwater picocyanobacteria through a genome-resolved taxonomic framework

Project No.: 19-23261S

Principal Investigator: Jitka Jezberová

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2019 - 2021

Although picocyanobacteria (Pcy) are viewed as one of the quintessential players in the Global Carbon Cycle (through fueling World’s Oceans primary production), our apprehension of their ecology in freshwater ecosystems strongly lags behind. We reason that one of the main impediments in elucidating their impact and importance, in lacustrine habitats, stems from the lack of means necessary to delineate ecologically-relevant taxonomical units (e.g. species and subspecies). Thus, we intend to surpass the existing taxonomical bottleneck, of microscopybased taxa description and 16S rRNA gene-orientated species delineation, through developing a robust genomic-centered classification framework. We intend to build on our existing freshwater Pcy collection (already containing more than 120 strains) and to use state-of-the-art shotgun sequencing in order to obtain approx. 100 high-quality genomes. This extent of genomic data will also provide the means necessary to track discrete populations in the natural environment (through CARD-FISH targeting) and disentangle their food web role.

We intend to develop a robust genomic-centred classification framework for freshwater picocyanobacteria. Phylogenomic reconstructions and genomes composition will be confronted with in situ population dynamics and a link-or-sink role in the food-web to create ecologically coherent taxa.


Quantifying water and phosphorus fluxes in disturbed vs. intact mountain forest catchments by hydrological, isotopic and hydrochemical methods

Project No.: 19-22276Y

Principal Investigator: Yuliya Vystavna

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2019 - 2021

Changes in catchment hydrology can result in nutrients losses from catchments with following reduction of soil fertility but increasing primary production and eutrophication of water bodies. Applying hydrological models, stable water isotopes (O-18, H-2) and hydrochemical measurements we will trace and quantify phosphorus fluxes in a pair of forest catchments - with a healthy stand and stand in early stage of recovery after deforestation. This paired catchment study is focused on (i) determination of recharge patterns and water balance, including snowmelt and rain runoff; groundwater-surface water interactions; partitioning of evaporation and transpiration by plants; estimation of water residence time; (ii) quantification of phosphorus leaching with different hydrological pathways under contrasted hydrological conditions. Results of these analyses will be demonstrated on modelled scenarios linking water and phosphorus fluxes. This multidisciplinary project will fill a gap in knowledge on possibilities of complex application of isotope hydrology, hydrology and hydrochemistry.

The project goal is to develop and apply multidisciplinary paired catchment study to quantify phosphorus fluxes under contrasted hydrological conditions and model scenarios to predict effects of hydrology on the nutrient dynamic in catchments.


An interdisciplinary study on element cycling in mountain catchment-lake systems regenerating from tree dieback

Project No.: 19-16605S

Principal Investigator: Jiří Kopáček

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2019 - 2021

Bark beetle outbreak killed many mature spruce trees in unmanaged, acidified catchments of the Bohemian Forest lakes (BF, Central Europe), with the most pronounced tree loss (>90% in 2004–2008) in the Plešné catchment. The tree dieback significantly changed element cycling in soils and waters and affected their biogeochemistry. At present, forest has been rapidly regenerating. Our >20-year long environmental research on the BF catchments (forest, soil, water, climate) provides a worldwide unique opportunity for a complex ecosystem study on the effects of natural forest dieback and regeneration of the individual ecosystem parts. We propose an integrated laboratory and field mass budget studies on (1) C and N cycling in soils and their effects on leaching of other elements (P, S, Ca, Mg, K, and Al) and (2) how these changes affect regeneration of forest and soil microbial community, and chemical and biological recovery of waters from acidification. Modelling will enable projection of these changes to other similarly affected mountain areas and different forestry practices.

We will evaluate (1) pools and fluxes of ecologically important elements (N, P, C, S, Ca, Mg, K, Al) in catchment-lake systems regenerating from natural tree dieback, (2) how nutrient availability in soil and deadwood affects tree grows, and (3) how this grow affects soil and water biogeochemistry.


Life on the edge: Biogeochemical factors driving transition from lotic to lentic microbial community in headwaters

Project No.: 19-00113S

Principal Investigator: Petr Porcal

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2019 - 2021

Planktonic microbial communities of lotic and lentic headwater environments substantially differ. Until now, the transformation of bacterial community from lotic to lentic has been poorly studied and the role of stream-originated microbes in the formation of the lentic bacterial assemblies is not clear. Mechanisms of initial assembly of microbial communities in large water bodies are difficult to understand due to long water residence times and large pool of local species. Small lentic water bodies, with short water residence time, located on headwater streams represent promising model ecosystems of combined highly plastic characteristics of lotic vs. lentic microbial communities, depending on hydrological conditions and environmental (terrestrial & aquatic) chemistry. In our project, using such an ecosystem as a study site, we would like to address the general mechanisms driving microbial consortia transformation and reassembly, especially the role of alternation of hydrological conditions together with the changes in the pool of dissolved organic matter in this process.

This study will address the mechanisms responsible for assembly of lotic microbial communities by identification of: I) chemical and bacterial interactions relevant for their metabolic pathways; II) key environmental parameters driving the community shift; III) the role of stream microbial inoculum.


Inside the leaf microbiome: bacterial and fungal endophytes in the context of ecosystem development

Project No.: 17-10493S

Principal Investigator: Dagmara Sirová

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2017 - 2019

Microorganisms colonizing the interior of plant leaves are recognized to have enormous impact on all aspects of their host`s existence - from health to evolutionary diversification. Their specific function in plant ecology, however, is still largely unexplored. We will test the hypothesis that plant foliar endophytes, consisting of interacting fungi and bacteria, are extending the functional plasticity of their hosts and enhance their ability to adjust to changing environmental conditions during ecosystem development. We will employ in-situ screening of the endosphere in a taxonomically diverse selection of plants, along a gradient of vegetation succession. As our study system, we have chosen the unreclaimed areas of colliery spoil heaps formed by open cast coal mining in western part of Bohemia. We believe that unraveling the complex interactions of foliar endophytes with and within their plant hosts to generate unique biological and ecological entities will lead to our greater understanding of important aspects of biology and ecology, not only in our model plants, but in general.

The project goal is to explore the dynamics within microbial communities colonizing the interior of above-ground plant tissues, their role in plant adaptation to ecosystem changes, and their contribution to extending functional plasticity of plants, especially with regards to nitrogen acquisition.


Role of changes in environemntal chemistry on lake ecosystems at the Younger Dryas onset

Project No.: 17-05935S

Principal Investigator: Günther Kletetschka, Přírodovědecká fakulta, Univerzita Karlova v Praze

Co-principal Investigator: Evžen Stuchlík

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2017 - 2019

Younger Dryas (YD) is well documented cold period. It began 12900 years ago and lasted 1200 years. The causes of this change are still not sufficiently resolved. According to recent new evidence multiple proxies support a major transient event. Finding of micro-particles containing iridium, microspherules, and nano-diamonds in a carbon rich black YD layer represent the new evidence. A transient episode initiated a sequence of catastrophic events including floods and fires that contributed to emissions of a dust containing toxic compounds. They became a part of global paleo-atmospheric pollution and contaminated paleo-ecology of undisturbed sites on continental scale (including America and Euroasia).

The aims of the project are: Characterize Younger Dryas Boundary proxies in sediments from 4 central European lakes; Characterize Laacher See tephra proxies from 4 central European lakes; Identify effect of catastrophic events on Central European lake ecosystems at the YD onset.


Phosphorus dynamics in unmanaged terrestrial ecosystems: Links with nitrogen and carbon cycling.

Project No.: 5229S

Principal Investigator: Jiří Kopáček

Co-principal Investigator: Jihočeská univerzita v Českých Budějovicích, Př.F.

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2017 - 2019

Unmanaged central European ecosystems (the Bohemian Forest and Tatra Mountains) have been exhibiting world’s largest recovery from atmospheric acidification. Resulting changes in biogeochemical processes and P, N and C cycles in soils are further affected by rapid changes in climate and vegetation, resulting in undesired losses of these nutrients from terrestrial to aquatic ecosystems. The extent and rate of nutrient losses and water pollution differ between catchments, reflecting soil and bedrock composition and vegetation health. On the basis of our long-term research in these areas, we propose a set of integrated laboratory and field studies on effects of changing precipitation chemistry, climate, and vegetation on (1) soil microbial community at sites differing in P sources and availability, (2) P cycle in soils and its links with C and N cycles, especially effects of P availability on N-saturation of catchments and the role of organic C in P leaching, (3) weathering rate and P liberation from bedrock and soils, and (4) pollution of receiving waters with this key nutrient.


Fishponds as models for exploring plankton diversity and dynamics of hypertrophic shallow lakes

Project No.: 9310S

Principal Investigator: Jaroslav Vrba, Přírodovědecká fakulta, Jihočeská Univerzita v Českých Budějovicích

Co-principal Investigator: Jiří Nedoma

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2017 - 2019

Aim of the project is to explore plankton diversity and dynamics, key players and their functional traits, and to estimate primary production, respiration, nutrient mobilisation, and production efficiency in the hypertrophic fishponds that allow refining and testing of general ecological hypotheses. Fishponds are semi-natural, man-controlled, shallow ecosystems used for fish production. Different management results in different ecological states that predestine the fishponds as unique model systems. Nutrient loads and fish overstock have led to fishpond hypertrophy; however, interactions in the plankton communities under such extreme conditions remain unexplored. We are lacking data on primary production, community respiration, diversity and functions of heterotrophic microbial food webs in eutrophic freshwaters, as well as about the effects of fish on their food web structure. We hypothesise that hypertrophic conditions result in net ecosystem heterotrophy, an increase in heterotrophic microbial biomass and nutrient mobilisation, and a decrease in net ecosystem productivity and cost effectiveness. Under the conditions of high (auto- and heterotrophic) microbial biomass, intensive photosynthesis and respiration processes cause ecosystem imbalances and low resource use efficiency that results in higher plankton (mainly microbial) diversity due to niche diversification.


Unveiling life strategies of uncultivated viruses in freshwater environments using metagenomics

Project No.: 4828S

Principal Investigator: Rohit Ghai

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2017 - 2019

Viruses are the most abundant biological entities on the planet, at least one order of magnitude more numerous than their host microbes in aquatic environments. Despite their abundance, studying viruses via cultured isolates remains challenging owing to the complexities in obtaining axenic cultures for the abundant microbial groups. The situation is even more acute for freshwaters where the availability of such pure cultures of the dominant phyla is still rather limited. We propose a long-term metagenomics based approach in two well-studied freshwater
habitats to enable a first glimpse of the important double-stranded DNA bacteriophages in freshwaters. We will link these uncultured phages to their host both using existing sequence based approaches and also develop novel methods. In particular we will focus on life strategies of free-living viruses developed in the process of co-existence with the host microbes. Moreover, important insights into factors affecting seasonal dynamics of phage and host populations and global biogeography of freshwater phages are expected.


Finished projects

Spanish Ministry of Environment, in the frame of the cooperative research programme called “PROGRAMA NACIONAL DE INVESTIGACIÓN CIENTÍFICA, DESARROLLO E INNOVACIÓN TECNOLÓGICA”

Calibration of sampling methods for Spanish fish populations in reservoirs

Project No.: IT

Principal Investigator: Jan Kubečka

Co-principal Investigator: ECOHYDROS, S.L., Spain, Department of Ecology of the Universidad de Sevilla, Spain

Financial support: Spanish Ministry of Environment, in the frame of the cooperative research programme called “PROGRAMA NACIONAL DE INVESTIGACIÓN CIENTÍFICA, DESARROLLO E INNOVACIÓN

Duration: 2009-2010

The project is aimed at improvement of ecological potential of Spanish reservoirs and enhancement of fisheries management by improving the methods of assessment of qualitative and quantitative composition of the fish stock. The project includes introduction of active methods of monitoring, namely new hydroacoustic and trawling approaches. Active methods should mitigate the main weaknesses of the current monitoring based predominantly on passive methods. Managing of the use of active trawling gear for fish capture would represent the revolution both in monitoring and the management of reservoirs. The project follows the philosophy of the EC water framework directive 2000/60/EC and promises to create new fish monitoring methodology and to bring new crucial knowledge to the methods of fish capture in general.


Puerto Rico department of Natural and Environmental Resource

Freshwater sport fish management and enhancement

Project No.: -001577

Principal Investigator: J. Wesley Neal, Robert Kroger, Craig G. Lilyestrom

Co-principal Investigator: Marie Prchalová

Financial support: Puerto Rico department of Natural and Environmental Resource

Duration: 2009-2011

Much of the research and management decisions for largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides in Puerto Rico have been based on the assumption that prey availability is not limiting, yet conclusive data to this end are not available. Threadfin shad are the primary prey species for sport fish in Puerto Rico reservoirs, yet directed research has never effectively quantified threadfin shad abundance or annual production. Threadfin shad appear to reproduce year-round, but the extent of reproduction in not known. Whereas effective largemouth bass management requires consideration of both predator and prey, improved understanding of prey population dynamics is required for reservoirs in Puerto Rico. The subcontract comprises two jobs - comparison of active versus passive gears for sampling threadfin shad in Puerto Rican reservoirs and population dynamics of threadfin shad in Puerto Rico.


Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of the Czech Republic administrate the support provided from EU funds

Centre for Ecological Potential of Fish Communities in Reservoirs and Lakes (CEKOPOT)

Project No.: .07/2.3.00/20.0204

Principal Investigator: Josef Matěna, Jan Kubečka

Financial support: Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of the Czech Republic administrate the support provided from EU funds

Duration: 2012–2015

Fish communities in reservoirs and lakes are highly valuable from genetic, ecological and economical point of view. They have also substantial influence on the water quality in these ecosystems. The project enables support of a top quality team for the synthesis of functions mentioned above and for the definition of ecological potential of fish communities. We assume improvement and widening of methods presently used and investigation of fish stock of the most important and interesting reservoirs in the Czech Republic. At the same time, the Czech activities will be interconnected with European initiatives in order to publicize the huge effort of the Czech limnological school for explaining the true picture of the fish communities and their role in the ecosystem. The complex specification of the ecological potential (faunistic, fish- productive and biomanipulative value, equilibrium of the population dynamics a trophic interactions) will be possible by enhancement of inland human resources, support of external stays on top institutions, integration into European structures and close cooperation with an external expert. The engagement of a top expert in the field of hydroacoustics As./Prof. Helge Balk from Norway enables the improvement of methods especially the data collection in shallow water layers (0-5 m).

A new methodological approach have been planned – the analysis of stable isotopes in fish which should help us to clarify the role of particular species and its ontogentical stage in the food webs of ecosystems studied.

In the framework of the project a field course and one world conference dealing with the function of fish in the reservoir ecosystem will be organized.

The outputs of the project will be as follows: i) final establishment and stabilization of the working group FISHECU, ii) involvement of the Czech Republic into the European intercalibration net (JRC-EEWAI intercalibration forum, Lake-Fish Intercalibration Group LFIG), iii) production of scientific papers, iv) external stays of our scientists and students oriented on hydroacoustics and methods of stable isotopes studies.


Landesamt für Verbraucherschutz, Landwirtschaft und Flurneuordnung Frankfurt/O., Germany

Estimation of fish yield potential in lakes, fish assessment in Lake Werbellinsee

Project No.: 09-14

Principal Investigator: Jan Kubečka

Co-principal Investigator: Institut für Binnenfischerei e.V. Potsdam-Sacrow

Financial support: Landesamt für Verbraucherschutz, Landwirtschaft und Flurneuordnung Frankfurt/O., Germany

Duration: 2009-2010

The investigations were be carried out on Lake Werbellinsee in September 2009 by using the following methods:

1) Hydroacoustic survey by scientific echosounder (two day and night surveys)

2) Survey of the open water fish by fry trawls (approximately 20 trawlings by 3x3 m trawl)

The emphasis of the survey work was on the population assessment (abundance, spatial and vertical distribution, species and size composition) of vendace (Coregonus albula)
and smelt (Osmerus eperlanus).


EEA Grant/Norway

Monitoring of the fish stock of Czech reservoirs

Project No.: 91

Principal Investigator: Jan Kubečka

Financial support: EEA Grant/Norway

Duration: 2008-2010

The project is aimed at improvement of ecological potential of Czech reservoirs and enhancement of fisheries management by improving the methods of assessment of qualitative and quantitative composition of the fish stock. The project includes introduction of active methods of monitoring, namely new hydroacoustic and trawling approaches. Active methods should mitigate the main weaknesses of the current monitoring based predominantly on passive methods. Managing of the use of active trawling gear for fish capture would represent the revolution both in monitoring and the management of reservoirs. The project follows the philosophy of the EC water framework directive 2000/60/EC and promises to create new fish monitoring methodology and to bring new crucial knowledge to the methods of fish capture in general.


Monitoring the environment of man-made lakes: what can fisheries data and models tell us?

Project No.: 0046/2/0029

Principal Investigator: David Boukal

Co-principal Investigator: Jan Kubečka

Financial support:  EEA Grant/Norway

Duration: 2009-2010

Research and development of a comprehensive database on fish population dynamics and history of exploitation in selected man-made reservoirs in the Czech Republic. Development of mathematical models to identify exploitation strategies that take into account stakeholder interests along with the ecological and evolutionary consequences of the exploitation, with the aim to identify the 'best' strategies and identify data/parameters/processes whose measurement can greatly improve the quality of the monitoring of the status of fish stocks in Czech man-made reservoirs. Communication of the main scientific findings to the key stakeholders identified during this study.


Czech-Norwegian Research Programme (CZ09)

Structuring effect of submerged macrophytes on trophic relationships and distribution of fish in deep lakes (MacFish)

Project No.: 316

Principal Investigator: Jiří Peterka

Co-principal Investigator: Karl Oysten Gjelland, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research

Financial support: Czech-Norwegian Research Programme (CZ09)

Duration: 2014-2017

Predation by fish is the primary top-down structuring force in aquatic ecosystems, and a change in predator-prey interactions involving fish may cause a change in the strength of trophic cascades and finally result in ecosystem shifts. Submerged macrophytes play an important role beyond that of primary production, as they provide increased structural complexity and niche potentials for fish. However, most of the scientific attention on habitat use in fish and the influence of macrophytes have been given to small and shallow lakes, where the vegetated areas are well-developed and the availability of a large deep water refugium is absent or limited. Our goal is to gain a detailed understanding of the structuring effect the submerged macrophytes have on fish communities in deep lakes. In order to achieve this, we will contrast two newly formed deep lakes of similar size and colonization history, but one with and the other without submerged macrophytes. We will use the latest developments in high-resolution positioning telemetry to assess individual habitat use and activity patterns in the different species of the multispecies assemblages in the two lakes. This will be combined with other sampling techniques, such as echosounding, acoustic cameras, video cameras, electrofishing, trawling and gillnetting, with an emphasis on the non-lethal methods and covering all ontogenetic stages from fish larvae to mature adults. Individual trophic position will be assessed by diet studies and stable isotope analyses. We will use the resulting data to study intra- and interspecific overlap in habitat and trophic niche use, as well as activity patterns with high spatiotemporal resolution. Combined with consumption estimates in piscivorous predator fishes and life-history characteristics such as growth and age at maturation in prey fish, a comprehensive and detailed insight into the effect of submerged macrophytes on the fish community structures and dynamics will be reached. The project will provide novel basic research results that will have important relevance for the management and restoration of water bodies, and it will strengthen the cooperation and knowledge transfer between Czech and Norwegian aquatic ecosystem research.


Technology Agency of the Czech Republic

Sediments of water bodies - identification, quantification, characterisation, sanitation - new approaches

Project No.: 021342

Principal Investigator: Jakub Borovec

Financial support: Technology Agency of the Czech Republic

Duration: 2015 - 2017


National Agency for Agriculture Research

Optimalisation of the biomanipulative effect of predatory fish in ecosystems of water reservoirs

Project No.: 046

Principal Investigator: Jan Kubečka

Financial support: National Agency for Agriculture Research

Duration: 2008-2012

The project is aimed on reduction of eutrophistaion of surface waters by increasing of efficiency of top-down controll through the enhacement of predatory fish. We plan to improve technologies of egg incubation and culture of larval and juvenile predators (both mono- and polyculture). The survival of stocked fry will be studied with respect to their size and stocking strategy. The predation immediatelly after stocking will be studied. The attention will be paid to the ratio between abundance of stocked fish and the fish from natural reproduction. The population dynamics of predatory fish will be studied during five years on four reservoirs.


Czech Science Foundation

Bioactive cyanobacterial lipopeptides: genome mining, detection, and structure-activity relationships

Project No.: 9381S

Principal Investigator: RNDr. Pavel Hrouzek Ph.D., Institute of Microbiology, CAS

Co-principal Investigator: RNDr. Jan Mareš Ph.D., Biology Centre CAS, Institute of Hydrobiology

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2016 - 2018

The project is focused on the detection of bioactive lipopeptides and lipopeptide synthetase genes in cyanobacteria. Potential cyanobacterial lipopeptide producers will be identified based on genome database mining. Methods for molecular (PCR) and chemical detection (HPLC-HRMS/MS) of lipopeptides in laboratory strains and environmental samples will be designed and tested. Bioactivity of lipopeptides will be assessed by means of in vitro testing on human cancer cell lines and phytopathogenic fungi. Lipopeptides exhibiting strong bioactivity will be purified and their structures will be characterized. Structure-activity relationship and possible utility for pharmaceutical and biotechnological purposes will be evaluated. Whole genome sequencing will be performed in strains producing the most interesting compounds but lacking genomic data. This will enable identification of novel lipopeptide synthetase clusters and
biosynthesis prediction. Phylogenetic and environmental distribution of cyanobacterial lipopeptide producers and evolution of lipopeptide synthetase genes will be investigated.


Changes in fish isotopic signals: linking land use and reservoir food webs

Project No.: 1625S

Principal Investigator: Mojmír Vašek

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2015 - 2017

Ecological functions of aquatic ecosystems have been negatively altered by various anthropogenic pressures. This project aims to evaluate how land use practices affect the functioning of reservoir food webs. Changes in fish community structure and stable isotope composition of key fish species will be investigated in Czech reservoirs across the gradient of land use. Unique time-series of archived fish scales will be analysed for carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios. We expect that isotopic composition of reservoir fish will reflect the intensity of anthropogenic nutrient loading and land use practices in reservoir catchments. The impacts of anthropogenic eutrophication on trophic relationships and energy flows through reservoir food webs will also be evaluated. Results of the project should clarify the consequences of land use for ecological structure and functioning of aquatic systems and can support formulation of sound catchment protection and management plans.


Unveiling life strategies of selected groups of planktonic betaproteobacteria in relationship to carbon flow to higher trophic levels

Project No.: 0243S

Principal Investigator: Karel Šimek

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2013 - 2017

We propose investigations of life strategies related to genomic and ecophysiological traits of representative strains of the key groups of freshwater Betaproteobacteria, i.e. the genera Limnohabitans and Polynucleobacter, with contrasting lifestyles and frequently also different habitat preferences. We hypothesize that strains affiliated with these abundant groups differ in growth potential and grazing-induced mortality in situ, thus modulating the role of the groups in carbon flow to higher trophic levels. Notably, a large collection of representative strains from both groups is available that facilitates examination of diversity in ecophysiologic and genomic traits of these bacteria. Specific in situ experimental designs are proposed for testing of ecophysiological characteristics of the bacteria and estimating of their taxon-specific roles in carbon transfer to bacterivorous flagellates in five different habitats. Important new insights into distinct bacterial lifestyles are assumed, including implications for refinement of existing concepts of bacterial life strategies.


Do long-term zooplankton data in the Slapy reservoir reflect land use and/or climate changes in the past 50 years?

Project No.: 4034S

Principal Investigator: Jaroslav Vrba, Přírodovědecká fakulta, Jihočeská Univerzita v Českých Budějovicích

Co-principal Investigator: Josef Hejzlar

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2015 - 2017

The project aims on so far unexplored legacy of the Czech reservoir limnology, such as unprocessed zooplankton samples and long-term data sets on stratification, chemistry and plankton of the Slapy reservoir, and will increase the understanding of important environmental drivers that influence freshwater ecosystems. Thorough analyses of the reservoir data sets will improve general understanding of the driving forces in plankton ecology, mainly the impacts of climate variability, hydrologic condition and temperature stratification, reservoir hydrodynamics, and nutrient loading on structure and plankton community succession. The detailed processing of zooplankton samples gathered during 60 years will allow to describe possible changes in species composition, phenology, biomass and size structure of copepods and cladocerans, and to determine the species-specific responses to both human-driven and climate-driven changes within the Vltava River basin since building the reservoir cascade. The project outputs will be relevant for other similar reservoirs in the temperate zone.


Long-term effect of fish reduction on Daphnia in a large reservoir

Project No.: 4309S

Principal Investigator: Jaromír Seďa:

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2015 - 2017

Socio-economic changes in Europe in 90-ties caused changes in nutrient cycling in managed coutryside. Project goal is to explain the changes in the structure of reservoir trophic cascade nutrients-phytoplankton-zooplankton under long-term trends of decreasing phosphorus loads and in parallel increasing loads of terrestrial dissolved organic carbon.


Phytoplankton responses to environmental forcing

Project No.: 3750S

Principal Investigator: Petr Znachor

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2015 - 2017

Freshwater lakes and reservoirs are particularly sensitive to the ongoing climate change. Various long-term data studies have shown close coupling between climate and individual organism physiology, population abundance and community and food-web structure. Phytoplankton represent the base of aquatic food webs and their dynamics are linked to annual fluctuation of temperature, water column mixing, resource availability and consumption. The ongoing climate change and has been recognized as an important driver affecting these factors. In the proposed project, we wish to explore mechanisms underlying phytoplankton interannual variability in the Římov Reservoir using a 30-year data set including meteorological, physical, chemical and biological data. Our investigation will be focused on changes in the timing of seasonal events (phenology) using phytoplankton morpho-functional classification.


Factors regulating the phototrophic activity of freshwater community of Betaproteobacteria

Project No.: 2197S

Principal Investigator: Vojtěch Kasalický

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2015 - 2017

This project investigates the factors influencing photosynthetic activity and autotrophic carbon assimilation of one of the key group of planktonic freshwater Betaproteobacteria, the genus Limnohabitans, in its typical habitat. We hypothesize that the synthesis of the light harvesting photosystem and the RuBisCO enzyme differs within the habitats of diverse trophic status. Taking into account, that the genus Limnohabitans is represented by bacteria of different metabolic types, we hypothesize that the ratio of photosynthetic or CO2-fixing is related to the photosynthetic radiation and the oxygen concentration in the vertical profile of lakes and reservoirs. Manipulative experimental designs are proposed for testing the photosynthesis and CO2-fixation contribution to the competitive success of photosynthetic genotypes during the naturally occurring events. Important new insights into distinct bacterial lifestyles are assumed, including the refinement of the existing concepts of bacterial life strategies. 


The effect of solar light on key members of freshwater Betaproteobacteria

Project No.: 9721S

Principal Investigator: Petr Porcal

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2015 - 2017

Planktonic bacteria are key players in biogeochemical processes, e.g. responsible for the transformation of dissolved organic matter (DOM) that represents crucial processes for the entire ecosystems. One of the key components of freshwater bacterioplankton is represented by Betaproteobacteria. Only two of its taxa have been identified as key players – genus Limnohabitans and species Polynucleobacter. Both taxa have been described as abundant parts of bacterioplankton, responding fast to changing environmental conditions. It is now accepted that photoproducts, generated by exposure of DOM to sunlight, are affecting growth of bacteria. In this proposal, we intend to widen our rapidly growing knowledge on two bacterial groups of interest. We will employ our world-wide unique culture collections of the target bacteria together with our specific expertise on DOM characterization by combining irradiation and incubation experiments.


Toxic potential, evolution of toxin synthesis, and factors driving anatoxin-a production in benthic and soil nostocacean cyanobacteria

Project No.: 8067S

Principal Investigator: Eliška Zapomělová

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2014 - 2016


Disentangling the effects of changing environmental chemistry and climate on biogeochemistry and biodiversity of natural alpine soils and waters

Project No.: 9231S

Principal Investigator: Jiří Kopáček

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2014 - 2016

The Tatra Mountains have been exhibiting world largest recovery of aquatic and terrestrial alpine ecosystems from atmospheric acidification due to unique declines in S (>60%) and N (40%) deposition since 1989. Resulting changes in biogeochemical processes and biodiversity are, however, confused by parallel effects of increasing temperature. Disentangling these effects is crucial for assessing future development of natural ecosystems under anticipated trends in atmospheric pollution and climate change. On the basis of our long-term research in this area, we propose an integrated study of effects of the chemical and climatic changes in natural alpine ecosystems on (i) weathering rates, soil chemistry, and leaching of nutrients (P, N, and C), base cations, and toxic Al forms to waters, (ii) in-lake processes responsible for P immobilization in waters and sediments, (iii) biological recovery (phytoplankton, zooplankton, and benthos) in lakes, and (vi) soil biodiversity (microbial composition and soil invertebrates) along gradients of soil pH and elevation (vegetation zones, temperature).


Functional diversity of soil microorganisms in spruce swamp forest and its effect on soil DOM

Project No.: 7398S

Principal Investigator: Tomáš Picek, Přírodovědecká fakulta, Jihočeská Univerzita v Českých Budějovicích

Co-principal Investigator: Jakub Borovec

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2013 - 2016


The efffect of natural dieback of mountain spruce forest on microclimate

Project No.: /12/1218

Principal Investigator: Jiří Kopáček:

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2012 - 2016

Windthrows and climatic factors have promoted bark beetle (Ips typographus) development and a large-scale dieback of Norway spruce in the unmanaged parts of the Bohemian Forest (central Europe). In 2004–2007, the defoliation killed>90% of forest in the Plešné Lake catchment. Windthrows occurred also in catchments of Čertovo and Laka lakes. All these areas have been subjects of our intensive long-term ecological research (water, climate, soil, and forest) since 1984–2002. Available pre-disturbance data, current research, and new proposed studies provide a worldwide unique opportunity for a complex ecological research on the effects of natural forest dieback on the individual ecosystem parts. We propose (1) mass budget study on changes in element fluxes and pools on a whole-catchment scale (forest, soil, waters); (2) evaluation of effects on microclimate, hydrology, and soil and aquatic chemistry and biodiversity; and (3) projection of the net effects to other mountain areas, for different forestry practices, and along the anticipated trends in climate and atmospheric pollution.


Hydroacoustical distinguishing between fish and bubbles, and quantification of methane bubble ebullition in freshwater reservoirs of temperate zone

Project No.: /12/1186

Principal Investigator: Jaroslava Frouzová

Co-principal Investigator: Petr Stanovský, Institute of Chemical Process Fundamentals of the ASCR, v. v. i.

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2012-2015

The acoustic parameters of rising methane bubbles will be measured by echosounders at different frequencies at man-made bubbles. The special algorithms using multi-frequency record will be developed to distinguish the bubble echoes from the fish echoes having the same acoustic size. The obtained method will be used to estimate of fish abundance and biomass more accurately. Further, the model describing the bubble rise and dissolution in will be modified for freshwater lakes. The relation between bubble volume and acoustic echoes from experiments with m an-made bubbles will be used to gain more exact data about the amount of the methane bubbles ebullated from the chosen reservoirs in temperate zone. The spatiotemporal changes in their productions will be monitored also. At the end, the research should enlighten the correlation of the quantity and quality of ebullated methane bubbles with the environmental conditions.


Get out! she signalized: sex segregation of freshwater fish

Project No.: /12/P647

Principal Investigator: Marie Prchalová:

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2012-2014

Sex segregation is widespread in animal kingdom. But it has not been investigated much in freshwater fishes. The guppy is the only aquatic vertebrate for which hypotheses of sex segregation were verified. In this project we will study sex segregation of the five most common fish species of lentic freshwaters of Europe. Using gillnet sampling and segregation coefficient we will be able to say whether fishes are sexually segregated and how (habitat vs. location segregation). Three potential reasons for segregation will be tested (predation pressure, water temperature, food availability). Sex dimorphism will be studied in detail as well. Parameters as life expectancy, growth, condition, length-weight relationship and morphology of branchial sieve will be compared between sexes. Females of the target species can be more active and have better condition, which could bias the representativeness of gillnet sampling. Thus we plan an easy experiment when we will perform gillnet sampling in a rented pond stocked with a completely known fish community in terms of sex ratio and condition.


Cyanobacterial competition mechanisms influencing species composition of the phytoplankton communities

Project No.: 09/0309

Principal Investigator: RNDr. Klára Řeháková, Ph.D.

Co-principal Investigator: RNDr. Ondřej Komárek, PhD., Jihočeská univerzita v Českých Budějovicích

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2009-2013

The phytoplankton composition in European lakes and reservoirs has been investigated for decades. Dense populations of cyanobacteria often dominate phytoplankton. They can build water blooms in summer and autumn, and produce harmful toxins. Therefore, they present potential hazards to public and animal health worldwide, both via blooming of water reservoirs leading to toxin release in drinking water as well as to hypertrophy with consequent oxygen depletion in the natural environments. For these reasons it is necessary to reveal the details in biology of water blooms. The proposed project is focused on the study of competition among dominating species of water bloom. How the co-existence of the species can influence their ecophysiological and biochemical characteristics? How the changes in these characteristics can increase their successfulness to become dominant species of water bloom? Project will be unique in the interface of results from biochemical and physiological point of view.


Predator avoidance strategies in early life stages of percid fishes

Project No.: 09/P266

Principal Investigator: Martin Čech

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2009-2011

The project is focused on predator avoidance strategies of early life stages of percid fishes – European perch Perca fluviatilis L., zander Sander lucioperca (L.), ruffe Gymnocephalus cernuus (L.) - in stratified canyon-shaped reservoir, non-stratified shallow reservoir and opencast mine lake. It follows up the recent finding that percid fry are able to create sympatric ecological groups with different behaviour (Čech et al. 2005). This is supposed to be an excellent strategy of the species to avoid predation pressure, which would be of different level in different main habitats and in different water bodies. A special attention will be paid to the newly discovered community of bathypelagic percid fry in stratified canyon-shaped reservoir (Čech et al. 2005, Čech & Kubečka 2006, Čech et al. 2007a, b, Kratochvíl et al. 2008), which most probably changes to bottom-dwelling community in case of non-stratified shallow reservoir and to dense deep water vegetation-dwelling community in opencast mine lake. The effectiveness of individual strategies will be evaluated using various new approaches including scientific sonars (SIMRAD), acoustic (DIDSON) and underwater camera for monitoring of behaviour of both prey and predator and SCUBA divers for quantitative fry sampling in dense vegetation.


Horizontal acoustic surveys and fish behaviour in the open water

Project No.: 07/1392

Principal Investigator: Jan Kubečka

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2007-2010

Most fish of the open water of large reservoirs of Czech Republic (also applies to many lakes and reservoirs worldwide) inhabit surface layers where they can be studied quantitatively preferably by horizotal acoustic surveys. The aim is to solve main persistent problems of horizontal surveying like undefined behaviour of ultrasonic field, uncertainty of fish size estimates, microdistribution, discrimination between small fish and bubbles, influences of swimming behaviour and diurnal changes of behaviour. The emphasis is on improvement of quality of mobile surveys with large spatial coverage. The problems will be solved by the combination of (i) klassical split-beam echosounder, (ii) newest commercially available high frequency multibeam sonar Didson, which has theoretically a number of advantages (iii) direct fishing and optical approaches. Project should significantly improve horizontal detection of fish, interpretation of records and elucidate a number of patterns of pelagic behavoir of fish which is insufficiently known in fresh waters.


Patterns and reasons of different pelagic behaviour of perch fry: novel insight into the declared ecological plasticity of a species

Project No.: 06/1371

Principal Investigator: Martin Čech

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2006-2008

The project follows up the recent finding that juvenile perch Perca spp. are able to create sympatric ecological groups with different behaviour. The epipelagic fry (EPF) spent the whole 24 hours in the epilimnion whereas the bathypelagic fry (BPF) performed diel vertical migrations (DVMs), being in the epilimnion during the night and migrating into the cold hypolimnion during the day. The project aims on better definition of newly discovered groups, temporal and spatial patterns of their separation, reasons of sympatric existence of EPF and BPF, profitability and fate of individual strategies, cues of DVMs, predation pressure on pelagic perch fry, gradients in perch fry abundance, age and size
distribution as well as perch egg strands deposition on the longitudinal profile of the reservoir. New approaches including more quantitative and extensive acoustic and net sampling, SCUBA diving, molecular genetics, histology and parasitology will be used. Grouping behaviour of juveniles of close relative, zander, Sander and ruffe, Gymnocephalus will be also investigated and the project is likely to bring new understanding into early behaviour of perciform fish.


Competition relationships among dominant species of phytoplankton in the reservoirs.

Project No.: 06/0462

Principal Investigator: RNDr. Klára Kaštovská, PhD, Hydrobiologický ústav AV ČR

Co-principal Investigator:

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2006-2008

Suitable light and temperature conditions coupled with high nutrient concentrations in water lead to a mass development of cyanobacterial bloom in our reservoirs. Cyanobacterial blooms cause serious problems and their presences markedly impair water quality, produce broad range of toxins, which pose a relevant health risk in recreational and drinking water reservoirs. Although high attention is paid to this problem recently, the decisive mechanisms affected species compositions of particular bloom remain still unclear. Our knowledge about the competition and competitiveness of cyanobacterial and algal dominants is still unsatisfactory. The proposed project is focused on the study of ecological demands of water bloom dominants and their growth optima, on competition mechanisms among single dominant species of phytoplankton in the reservoirs and particular factors which favor the development of certain species in summer phytoplankton blooms in the laboratory and natural conditions.


Seasonal dynamics of food consumption, growth and production of 0+ fish and their impact on zooplankton in a reservoir with trophic gradient

Project No.: /06/P418

Principal Investigator: Mojmír Vašek

Financial support: Czech Science Foundation

Duration: 2006-2008

Deep-valley reservoirs are unique aquatic ecosystems characterized by a high degree of spatial and temporal variability. This project aimed to analyse how variable environmental conditions within a model reservoir influence seasonal dynamics of age-0 fish abundance, food consumption, growth and production. Dynamics of age-0 fish was studied in the Římov Reservoir during two subsequent years, 2006 and 2007, that differed markedly in hydrological and weather regimes. A few generalist species from two families, Percidae and Cyprinidae, dominated age-0 fish assemblages. At the start of growing season, percids were abundant in pelagic habitat, but later on they shifted to littoral zone. An opposite trend in habitat use was recorded for age-0 cyprinids. Flooded shoreline vegetation enhanced survival of age-0 fish in 2006, while increased spring temperatures in 2007 accelerated ontogenetic development of age-0 fish. Underyearling fish in the Římov Reservoir were largely planktivorous throughout the whole growing season of both years. In the pelagic zone of the reservoir, impact of age-0 fish on zooplankton of the genus Daphnia was quantified using bioenergetics modelling. The estimated consumption rates of age-0 fish assemblages were found too low to be responsible for the midsummer decline of Daphnia population. In summary, extensive data on abundance, distribution, growth, production and food consumption of age-0 fish were collated during this project. The data provided valuable information on the structure and functioning of a reservoir ecosystem and, in practice, they can be beneficial for management of fisheries and water resources.

 


Grant Agency of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic

Effect of food quantity and quality on the reverse in competitive success between 0+ perch and roach

Project No.: 00960810

Principal Investigator: Jiří Peterka

Financial support: Grant Agency of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic

Duration: 2008-2010

Young-of-the-year perch and roach dominate the 0+ fish communities of meso- to eutrophic temperate water bodies across Europe. General succession from dominance of perch to roach with increasing ecosystem productivity has been documented for lakes of different trophic status and when comparing fish community structure within reservoirs with pronounced longitudinal gradients. Better competitive abilities of juvenile roach for crustaceoplankton have been suggested as responsible for these changes. But recently, the higher efficiency of roach for copepod or cladoceran prey was doubted. This project aims to clarify the effect of intra- and interspecific foraging competition of juvenile roach on perch in manipulative enclosure experiments with larvae and juveniles of both species, and particularly, focuses on the effect of food quantity and quality (prey taxa, prey size, timing of diet shifts etc.) on the changes in competitive success (evaluated as realized growth) between both species.


The Czech Academy of Sciences

Strategy AV21 - Diversity of life and ecosystem health - Activity: Monitoring of cryptic species having indicative value using harmless sampling methods

Project No.: 00/991100

Principal Investigator: Petr Blabolil

Financial support: The Czech Academy of Sciences

Duration: 2015-2016

Monitoring changes of biota composition and abundances is important to evaluate changes in the environment. These environmetal shifts on scales from local catchment management to global changes are especially evident in water ecosystems. One of the most sensitive elements are fish integrating all lower parts of the trophic food-web. However, most of the current research is dedicated to dominant fish species, that can be easily captured using common sampling equipment. Cryptic species, sensitive to environmental changes, are often neglected. The aim of the project is to develop and verify new monitoring scheme using harmless sampling methods (electrofishing, fyke-nets, SCUBA diving) in reservoirs.  Model species are burbot (Lota lota) and stone loach (Cobitis elongatoides). Both endangered species and good ecological quality elements. 

CONTACT

Biology Centre CAS
Institute of Hydrobiology
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370 05 České Budějovice

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