Research Institute of fish Culture and Hydrobiology /RIFCH/

The Research Institute was established in Prague in 1921. In 1953 it was moved to the town of Vodňany in South Bohemia. Since 1996 it has been part of the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice.

About Laboratory of Freshwater Ecosystems

Motto: “When we keep on looking for something and not finding it, we should look for something else, because then we might find something that we weren’t looking for, which might be just what we were looking for, really”.

inspired by A.A. Milne, The house at Pooh corner, 1928.

Research focus of the laboratory:
  • research of biology in crayfish and other freshwater invertebrates
  • research of biology in fish species
  • research of biological invasions
  • research of the effect of environmental changes on freshwater organisms
  • research of stream and pond ecosystems
  • applied hydrobiology
  • research into the phylogenetic relationships of crayfish and other crustaceans
  • the laboratory works on the research programme RP4 Biology under varying conditions of freshwater ecosystems
  • The main aim of the laboratory is the complex research of freshwater ecosystems using multidisciplinary approaches.
  • Apart from fish and crayfish we use other aquatic organisms for studying effects of main biotic and abiotic factors recently influencing freshwater ecosystems.
  • The factors tested are climatic changes, anthropogenic changes (different types of habitat disturbance) and biological invasions.
  • Biological invasion are one of the most studied problem being worldwide relevant and actual.
  • Among others, techniques and approaches used are:
    • ethological surveys of intra- and inter-specific interactions,
    • chemical communication and social behaviour,
    • analyses of predator-prey relationships,
    • stable isotopes analyses,
    • proteomic analysis,
    • molecular, genetic analysis,
    • physiological survey dealing with reproduction and regeneration,
    • and heart rate monitoring, and
    • the use of above mentioned in eco-toxicological studies.
  • The key organisms used in our laboratory are crayfish in both, basic and applied research.
  • We also consider the roles of other invertebrates and fish and their interactions in different aquatic ecosystems.
  • Laboratory targets on basic biological patterns as well as on the transposition of results on natural processes in natural conditions and their subsequent application.
  • The laboratory activities also touch on the problematics of sustainable aquaculture (including intensive fish culture as well as pond aquaculture), reproduction and culture of rheophilic fish species.
  • Last but not least, the laboratory is also active in increasing of public awareness, organizing educational sessions for public, bio-monitoring and rescue transfers of bivalves, crayfish and fish.
  • Bio-monitoring of natural localities and rescue transfers are beside their basic aim also used as a tool for communication with public. We hope that these activities may help to involve public more in nature conservation tasks.

Laboratory is well equipped by devices, laboratories, tanks and material for both, laboratory and field studies. The equipment involves among others:

  • Danio Vision system® enabling observation of physiological, morphological and behavioural responses of small aquatic organism or their developmental stages including eggs,
  • EthoVision XT® systems for almost automatic detection and analysis of animal behavioural patterns,
  • basic laboratory equipment enabling work with chemicals, analytical or experimental work,
  • monitoring system based on non-invasive observation of motional activity and heart rate in crayfish,
  • equipment for field studies for sampling of wide animal spectre (fish, crayfish, zoobenthos, zooplankton) living in freshwater ecosystems including e.g. equipment for diving,
  • three flow simulator units for mimicking of stream conditions,
  • laboratory incubators enabling set-up of variable experimental temperatures,
  • aquarium room for crayfish experimental culture, and
  • equipment for indoor and outdoor culture and maintenance of freshwater organisms (trays, tanks, aquaria, special boxes etc.),
  • Basic equipment for molecular analyzes in pre-, post-PCR and ELFO laboratories.


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Zátiší 728/II, 389 25 Vodňany Tel. +420 387 774 601 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Branišovská 1645/31a, 370 05 České BudějoviceTel. +420 387 774 601 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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