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  Biology under varying conditions of freshwater ecosystems  

VP4

Head of the research program: Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Pavel Kozák, PhD.
 
The research team of the RP 4 consists of selected employees of 5 scientific laboratories of the FFPW USB, specifically the Laboratory of Ethology of Fish and Crayfish (LEFCR), the Laboratory of Signal and Image Processing (LSIP), the Laboratory of Aquatic Toxicology and Ichtyopathology (LATI), the Laboratory of Applied Hydrobiology (LAH) and the Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry and Biochemistry (LECB).

 

Introduction

The basis of the RP is to develop research of freshwater ecosystems by using multidisciplinary approaches for a broad spectrum of key aquatic organisms in the aquatic environment within a context of factors (biotic and abiotic) which significantly influence these ecosystems. Freshwater ecosystems as such occupy less than 1% of Earth’s surface, however, they represent the living environment for approximately one tenth of known species of organisms and one third of all vertebrates. Freshwater ecosystems are indispensable for human population. However, the ever-growing demands for freshwater resources together with a varying face of these resources (climate changes, anthropogenic changes, biological invasions) have constantly deepened the crisis both from a human population point of view and aquatic organisms as well as other organisms dependent on the aquatic environment. With regard to recently emerged and ground-breaking scientific works, we have still been obtaining more and more evidence of the fact that freshwater taxa are exposed to greater risks of extinction than those occupying terrestrial or sea ecosystems. Importance of suitable freshwater resources of water for an ever-growing human population in the context of climate changes has also been entirely obvious. This fact has made comprehensive studies of freshwater ecosystems a priority field from a scientific and research point of view.
 
Vision
 
A vision of the Biology under varying conditions of freshwater ecosystems research programme is to apply a multidisciplinary approach to the issue which is based both on previous scientific and research directions applied at the Center workplaces and integration of new approaches enabling acquisition of a significantly broader spectrum of information with a high information value. Specifically, it will apply to the development of existing ecological, ethological, physiological, ichtyopathological and ecotoxicological approaches, their improvement by means of so far routinely non-applied approaches and development of new methods.
 
Objective of the RP
 
The objective is to understand recently occurring and predicted processes taking place in freshwater ecosystems (changes in species composition of freshwater biota, climatic and anthropogenic effects, growing influence of biological invasions) and assessment of their whole-society importance. Next, it is the development and application of biomonitoring methods observing the water quality using physiological, ethological and ecological reactions of organisms, e.g. for the water supply or aquaculture purposes. It will be essential to obtain materials for freshwater management with the emphasis put on management of invasions and changes in the environment. We will be able to predict ecological and economical impacts of biological invasions. We will understand the effect of climate, anthropogenic and biological changes on functioning of ecosystems – a future prospect. We will find specific markers for qPCR reflecting physiological status of organisms of interest. We will develop contactless systems for monitoring of physiological reactions of organisms on external stimuli and their applications (safety of strategic water resources). We will manage a mathematical description of a shoal behaviour and modelling of behaviour of fish groups under different conditions. We will establish a mathematical model of behaviour of crustaceans and fish applicable for prediction of behaviour under specific conditions – early detection of water pollution, early detection of diseases.
 
Results
 
The results of the experiments and studies achieved by the research team have been regularly published mainly in scientific journals registered in WoS with emphasis put on application of the results in prestigious journals within particular domains. Since 2011, members of the research team have contributed to publication of more than 80 (83) articles in impacted journals, 4 scientific monographs, 1 textbook, 9 certified methodologies and technologies and they have registered 4 utility models, 4 patents and 15 software tools. Quality and quantity of publications have had an increasing tendency during this period. The research team is also active in generating commercial activities involving biomonitoring, application of biomonitoring systems, consultancy in the sphere of aquaculture and scientific consultancy in conservation of aquatic environment and populations of protected aquatic species.
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