Laboratory of Arthropod Ecology and Pest Management

The Laboratory for Arthropod Ecology and Pest Management conducts cutting-edge research in the field of entomology. Our studies encompass the ecological dynamics of arthropods, including mites and insects, within various ecosystems. We explore their interactions with plants, both in natural and agricultural settings. Our work is dedicated to understanding and developing sustainable pest management strategies, with a focus on innovative approaches, such as biological control. Through a multidisciplinary approach, we contribute to the preservation of biodiversity and the sustainable management of arthropod pests, benefiting both ecosystems and agriculture.


News


Call for papers:  Special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907) Biodiversity and Ecology of Organisms Associated with Woody Plants. This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Ecology and Management". This Special Issue aims to present the recent advances in the knowledge on the biodiversity and ecological aspects of beneficial and harmful organisms inhabiting or somehow associated with woody plants. Relevant topics include, but are not limited to, the following: above and belowground communities, micro and macroorganisms, population density, seasonal changes, invasive pests and pathogens, pollinators, natural enemies, mutualistic interactions, competition, the effects of pollution and global warming, methods and modelling. Please contact R. Zemek if you are interested or need more information.

Selected publications:
Palevsky E., Konopická J., Rueda-Ramírez D., Zemek R. (2022) A review of prospective biocontrol agents and sustainable soil practices for bulb mite (Acari: Acaridae) management Agronomy 12: 1491.
DOI: 10.3390/agronomy12071491
Konopická J., Zemek R., Tan J., Palevsky E. (2024) Kmen houby Trichoderma harzianum CCM 9213 a použití tohoto kmene v přípravku pro podporu růstu rostlin a pro ochranu rostlin proti houbovým patogenům Patent č. 310080. Úrad pro průmyslové vlastnictví, číslo patentového spisu: PV 2023-28
Konopická J., Bohatá A., Palevsky E., Nermuť J., Půža V., Zemek R. (2022) Survey of entomopathogenic and mycoparasitic fungi in the soil of onion and garlic fields in the Czech Republic and Israel. Journal of Plant Diseases and Protection 129: 271-281.
DOI: 10.1007/s41348-021-00557-5
Kopačka M., Zemek R. (2023) Species composition and seasonal abundance of predatory mites (Acari: Phytoseiidae) inhabiting Aesculus hippocastanum (Sapindaceae) Forests 14(5): 942.
DOI: 10.3390/f1405094
Zemek R., Konopická J., Ul Abdin Z. (2020) Low efficacy of Isaria fumosorosea against box tree moth Cydalima perspectalis: Are host plant phytochemicals involved in herbivore defence against fungal pathogens? Journal of Fungi 6: 342.
DOI: 10.3390/jof6040342

All publications (259)

Research projects

Fungicidal and Insecticidal Additive for Plant Growing Substrate

The subject of this project is to verify the concept of a biological additive to a plant growing substrate based on a combination of a mycoparasitic fungus, an entomopathogenic fungus and an entomopathogenic nematode (“3 in 1 preparation”). The aim of this sub-project will be to select a suitable species and strain of mycoparasitic fungus that will effectively suppress plant pathogens and will be compatible with these entomopathogenic organisms. The aim of the project will be to design and verify the technology of additive production, storage conditions and verify its effects in laboratory and greenhouse experiments on model types of plant diseases and pests. It will include the development of in-vitro nematode cultivation technology, which should significantly reduce the cost of production compared to existing technology using insect hosts. The result should be a preparation which, in addition to pests, will also suppress, for example, the causative agent of a disease called the fall of seedlings (Pythium spp., Fusarium spp., Rhizoctonia spp.).

Funding: Technology Agency of the Czech Republic; Project No. TP01010022 (PI: R. Zemek).

Key outputs:

Konopická J., Zemek R., Tan J., Palevsky E. (2024) Kmen houby Trichoderma harzianum CCM 9213 a použití tohoto kmene v přípravku pro podporu růstu rostlin a pro ochranu rostlin proti houbovým patogenům Patent č. 310080. Úrad pro průmyslové vlastnictví, číslo patentového spisu: PV 2023-28

Zemek R., Nermuť J., Konopická J., Bohatá A. (2022) Insekticídne a akaricídne aditívum do nosného substrátu na pestovanie rastlín Patent č. 288968. Úrad priemyselného vlastníctva Slovenskej republiky.

New Biorational Methods Applied to Control Selected Pests as an Alternative to Chemical Pesticides to Prevent Contamination of Soil and Water Resources

Our joint project with Israel aims to reduce the use of broad range pesticides applied to the soil by developing and evaluating technologies for controlling key pests in garlic and onion cropping systems, important crops in both countries. Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPN), fungi (EPF) and additional bio-rational practices will be applied to control plant parasitic nematodes, pathogenic fungi and pestiferous arthropods which negatively impact the quantity and quality of garlic and onion yields, thereby reducing pesticide use and respective contamination of soil and water resources. Additionally we aim to evaluate the effect of these environmentally sound practices on the biodiversity of the acarine soil fauna.

Funding: Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports; grant No. 8G15006 (PI: Z. Mráček/R. Zemek).

Key outputs:

Konopická J., Bohatá A., Palevsky E., Nermuť J., Půža V., Zemek R. (2022) Survey of entomopathogenic and mycoparasitic fungi in the soil of onion and garlic fields in the Czech Republic and Israel. Journal of Plant Diseases and Protection 129: 271-281.
DOI: 10.1007/s41348-021-00557-5

Konopická J., Bohatá A., Nermuť J., Jozová E., Mráček Z., Palevsky E., Zemek R. (2021) Efficacy of soil isolates of entomopathogenic fungi against the bulb mite, Rhizoglyphus robini (Acari: Acaridae). Systematic and Applied Acarology 26: 1149–1167.

Arthropod Vectors of Raspberry Viruses

This project is part of a bilateral project with Norway „Healthy berries in a changing climate: development of new biotechnological procedures for virus diagnostics, vector studies, elimination and safe preservation of strawberry and raspberry“ which is lead by Dr. Jana Fránová. The aim of the project is to  increase the production potential of berries in a new and challenging climate by using high-quality virus-tested mother plants, improving virus control approaches, well-study of associated vectors, and better safeguarding of valuable plant germplasm and plant health.

Funding: A € 1,450,000 grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants and Technology agency of the Czech Republic within the KAPPA Programme (PI: J. Fránová).

Key outputs:

Tan J., Trandem N., Fránová J., Hamborg Z., Blystad D-R., Zemek R. (2022) Known and potential invertebrate vectors of raspberry viruses. Viruses 14: 571.

Innovation of Integrated Potato Protection Against the Colorado Potato Beetle Based on New Knowledge of Genetic and Biological Characteristics

Colorado potato beetle (CPB) is our main pest in the above-ground mass of potatoes with the potential for crop losses up to 50%. However, protection against it is currently very difficult due to insecticide resistance. In addition to the use of chemical protection and controversial genetic modifications, the development and use of biological protective methods are becoming increasingly promising. Use of entomopathogenic fungi (EPF) and parasitic nematodes (EPN) for protection does not cause a pest resistance. A great advantage is the support in use of mycoinsecticides by sustainable and organic farming programs. Apart from conservation studies, molecular and genetics methods are used wordwide to address the invasive and genetic potential of CPB.

Funding: Ministry of Agriculture; Project NAZV ZEMĚ No. QK1910270 (PI: O. Skoková Habuštová).

Key outputs:

Zemek R., Konopická J., Jozová E., Skoková Habuštová O. (2021) Virulence of Beauveria bassiana strains isolated from cadavers of Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata. Insects 12: article number: 1077.

CONTACT

Biology Centre CAS
Institute of Entomology
Branišovská 1160/31
370 05 České Budějovice

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