9. Diversity of Life and Health of Ecosystems
DIVERSITY OF LIFE AND HEALTH OF ECOSYSTEMS
prof. Ing. Miloslav Šimek, CSc.
Biology Centre of the CAS
- To deepen understanding of the processes of biodiversity and the origin of new species
- To extend understanding of the ecosystem structure and dynamics
- To Identify key mechanisms of co-evolution and inter-species relationships
- To clarify the dynamics of dispersal of invasive and introduced species
- To better understand the nature of stress responses that ensure the survival of organismsTo understand the mobility and accumulation of environmentally significant trace elements
- To analyze the current landscape structure and the human interaction with it
Participating CAS Institutes
Institute of Botany
Institute of Geology
Institute of Microbiology
Institute of Sociology
Institute of Vertebrate Biology
Institute of State and Law
Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics
Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic; Biopreparáty, spol. s r. o.; The Charles University Environment Centre; Center for Theoretical Studies; Envisan-GEM, a. s., Rudolfov; Ekovermes, s. r. o.; Eurovia CS, a. s.; The Faculty of Environmental Studies, Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague; Hydro-Kov, s. r. o.; The Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology, Mendel University in Brno; Forests of the Czech Republic, Hradec Králové; Municipality of Olomouc; Municipality of Pilsner; Metrostav, a. s.; Municipality of Tábor; Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic; Palivový kombinát Ústí n. Labem, s. p., Všebořice; Elbe River Basin, Hradec Králové; Morava River Basin, Brno; Odra River Basin, Ostrava; Ohře River Basin, Chomutov; Vltava River Basin, České Budějovice; Pöyry Environment, a. s., Brno; Propher, s. r. o., Březová u Zlína, Slušovice; Faculty of Sciences, Masaryk University in Brno; Faculty of Sciences, University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice; Faculty of Sicences, Charles University; Rybnikářství Pohořelice; Sokolovská uhelná, a. s.; The Krkonoše Mountains National Park; The National Park and protected Landscape Area of Šumava; The Bohemian Switzerland National Park; Podyjí National Park; Vitens Evides International, Netherlands; Vodohospodářský rozvoj a výstavba, a. s.; The Silva Tarouca Research Institute for Landscape and Ornamental Gardening; Czech and foreign universities and other institutes
Conservation of the quality of the environment is one of the major challenges faced by contemporary society. In some areas, the lack or decline in the quality of ecosystems’ major components, such as soil or water, have already manifested themselves very negatively. Nevertheless, only healthy ecosystems can be the basis for the proper functioning of society and they are an essential condition for its development. The disturbance of natural variety of life – biological diversity (biodiversity) – and the weakening of basic ecosystem functions (ecosystem services) strongly increase the risks for the future of human society and its welfare.
The programme topics involve the study of biodiversity at the molecule, gene, species, community, and ecosystem levels as well as research targeted on the understanding of the key biogeochemical cycle mechanisms and flows of substances and energy among the components of the ecosystem. The hierarchical classification of biodiversity offers an extraordinary opportunity for interdisciplinary cooperation. The programme will also involve the study of co-evolution and interrelationships of species, the research of invasive species and their influence on native ecosystems, and the assessment of genetic variation in populations and speciation processes.
Methodologically, the programme combines biological, ecological, geological, and social disciplines with the ambition to bring an original and comprehensive understanding of biodiversity and its importance for human society against the background of abiotic components of the environment as well as knowledge about the structure and functions of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
The results will find their use in proposals of sustainable systems of plant protection and, more broadly, in agriculture, forestry, fishery, and other fields related to the ecosystem services. The output will also include both theoretical and practical approaches to environmental care, modern nature and landscape conservation, and other recommendations following the effective and sustainable use of natural resources by human society, providing a good quality of life as a result. An important part of the programme will be communication with the general public and the education of all target groups.