University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice (Czech Republic), Faculty of Science, Department of Ecosystem Biology
The main research areas include the ecology of aquatic and soil organisms, microbial ecology and studies of processes in aquatic, wetland and soil ecosystems under anthropogenic stress. The department also takes part in studies and conservation of some rare and endangered plant and animal species.
In soil biology, the focus lies especially on nutrient fluxes and transformation in relation to microbial activity, microbial community composition and biogeochemical properties of soil. Specifically, cycling of carbon and nitrogen has been studied in different ecosystems such as wet meadows, peatlands, mountain forests, arctic soils, etc. using different tools (field measurements, field manipulations, mesocosm studies, laboratory experiments, comparison of natural and anthropogenically affected ecosystems, molecular approach – DNA sequencing,....). In population ecology, the department studies different factors influencing population dynamic of animals (especially aquatic invertebrates, fishes) and plants in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
Current research projects are focused on:
- Acidity and nutrient constraints on organic matter balance and nitrogen saturation in forest soils
- The effect of natural dieback of mountain spruce forest on microclimate, chemistry, and biodiversity of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems
- The effect of hydrological restoration of long-term drained peatlands on functional diversity of soil microorganisms in relation to organic matter quality
- Functional diversity of soil microorganisms in spruce swamp forests and their effect on dissolved organic matter (DOM) in soil
- Disentangling the effects of changing environmental chemistry and climate on biogeochemistry and biodiversity of natural alpine soils and waters
- Monitoring and large-scale survey of the presence and distribution of the endangered diving beetles Graphoderus bilineatus and Dytiscus latissimus in the Czech Republic
- Long-term research of zooplankton in dams in relation to anthropogenic effect and climate change
- Untangling factors underlying distribution of forest mycoheterotrophic species: combining theoretical and experimental approaches
Within the frame of these research projects, it would be possible to specify some narrower topics for research projects / theses.
Below you can find a list of possible topics for research projects / theses:
In the field of soil biology, soil and plant interactions:
- The effect of water drawdown on the physiology and source-sink relationships in Eriophorum vaginatum (cottongrass)
- Temperature effect on mineralization of stable versus available soil organic matter
- Gross and net nitrogen transformations as affected by carbon availability
- Factors affecting soil dissolved organic matter biodegradability
- Soil dissolved organic matter as affected by dominant plant species
- Interactions of microbial community and dissolved organic matter in soil environment
In the field of population ecology:
- Mapping of aquatic insect population with application in environmental conservation (field research)
- Development of aquatic invertebrate populations in restored sandpits (field research, laboratory experiments)
- Predator-prey interactions and impact of selected functional traits and environmental factors on these interactions (experiments, meta-analysis)
- Modelling of population dynamic in aquatic ecosystems (simulation modelling)
More details about aquatic ecology and the offered topics can be found here.
- Dr. Zuzana Urbanová
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