Laboratory of Community Ecology
Lab website: www.insect-communities.cz
Current research projects
Biodiversity and restoration of postindustrial sites
In the impoverished European landscapes, stone quarries, open mines, spoil heaps, sandpits, or fly ash deposits serve as crucial secondary refuges for various species of threatend habitats, such as steppe grasslands, bare sands, and open forests. Very often such post-industrial sites serve harbor many endangered oranisms vanishing from our common landscapes. Recently, we have revealed fly ash deposits as one of the most important habitats for conservation of Central European biodiversity. We have also repeatedly shown that commonly practiced technical reclamations cause local extinctions of majority of such species and thus waste this tremendous conservation potential. We study also effects of various environmental factors on forming of insect communities and their utilisation during the effcient ecological restoration. Currently, we focus mainly on various finely-grained substrates, including fly ashes, and surprisingly overlooked post-industrial freshwater habitats.
Key publications: Tropek et al. 2010 Journal of Applied Ecology; Tropek et al. 2013 Biol. Conserv.; Tichanek & Tropek 2015 J. Insect Conserv.
English book with our contributions: Řehounková a kol. 2011. Near-natural restoration vs. technical reclamation of mining sites in the Czech republic.Calla, České Budějovice. (http://www.postindustrial.eu/en/knihy)
Pollination biology in Afromontane ecosystems
Interactions between flowering plants and their pollinators and other visitors belongs to the keystones of (not only) communty ecology. We focus on biology of pollination in overlooked Afrotropical ecosystems with a large lack of studies. By detailed studying of pollination systems of individual plant species, we have convincingly shown how the results of many current studies can be misleading for understanding of the real relationships in communities due to some current methodological approaches. Recently we have started to focus on studies of general patterns in pollination networks and their changes along environmental gradients. Because of the multi-disciplinarity of pollination biology, we focus on biology of plants and bird pollinators as well.
Key publications: Janeček et al. 2011 Oikos; Padyšáková et al. 2013 PLoS ONE; Bartoš et al. 2015 Arthropod-Plant Interactions
Ecology of butterflies and moths in Afrotropical ecosystems
Butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) belong to the traditionaly most studied groups in community ecology, knowledge of their biodiversity in tropical Africa is, however, still insuficient. We focus mainly on patterns in their species and functional diversity along environmental gradients, currently in the model locality of Mt. Cameroon. Simultaneously we study also other factors, such as impact of forests structure and disturbances on lepidopteran communities with applications into practical conservation of tropical biodiversity. We use lepidopterans also as an important model in our pollination studies. Last but not least, we do not forget to basic knowledge of African Lepidoptera, including taxonomy, phylogeny and natural history.