Laboratory of Experimental Ecology
We are interested in ecology and evolution of interactions between insects and their natural enemies, and in processes which govern dynamics of complex natural networks of these interactions.
We use wild Drosophila-parasitoid food webs as a model to experimentally disentangle the role of environmental and biotic factors on food web dynamics. We study how maintenance of genetic variation interacts with maintenance of species diversity in ecological networks. We are also interested in the role which microbial symbionts play in ecological networks.
Main lab website: http://lab.hrcek.net
Current research projects
Connections between maintenance of diversity and variation in nature
How do species coexist in diverse ecological networks despite competition, predation and parasitism? This is the most enigmatic question in community ecology, with an analogy at the population level: How is genetic variation maintained within species despite selection and drift? These twin questions are typically studied separately, yet diversity and variation are likely interdependent, with important consequences for basic understanding and biodiversity conservation.
ERC-CZ grant (2020 - 2025)
Network structure and function
We study how the structure of ecological networks relates to their function - stability and resilience to climate change and biological invasions. Large proportion of research into ecological networks relies on assumption that structure of the networks is decisive factor for their function and resilience, but there are very few direct experimental tests of this question. We are performing these experimental tests and study how temperature and timing of interactions impact the outcome of species interactions and network dynamics.
CSF grants (2017 - 2019, 2020 - 2021)