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Strengths of species interactions depend on temperature and predator community composition

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Trophic and non-trophic species interactions determine energy flow in ecosystems and their strength underlies the stability of food webs. However, their dependence on environmental conditions is poorly understood, which limits our ability to understand the links between environmental drivers and species interactions. A new study from the Institute of Entomology of the Biology Centre CAS and University of South Bohemia elucidates the impact of temperature and predator diversity on trophic and non-trophic interaction strengths in a model community of predatory aquatic insects and their prey. The authors used a novel combination of laboratory experiments and numerical simulations. Their results show that both trophic and non-trophic interactions change predictably with prey density and temperature but at the same time, species interactions strengths cannot be predicted from feeding experiments alone. The study published in the July issue of Global Change Biology opens new avenues for the quantification of the relative importance of trophic and non-trophic components in species interactions and improves our understanding how environmental factors affect these interactions and the dynamics of ecological communities.

Trophic (red arrows) and non-trophic (blue dashed arrows) interactions in a community of invertebrate predators typified by two species of dragonflies and phantom midge larvae feeding on cladocerans. The study by A. Sentis et al. quantified these interactions and their dependence on temperature and cladoceran density.

A. Sentis, C. Gémard, B. Jaugeon, D. S. Boukal (2017) Predator diversity and environmental change modify the strengths of trophic and non-trophic interactions. Global Change Biology 23: 2629-2640. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.13560/full

The American Science Development Association chose Julius Lukeš among his Fellows

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The American Science Development Association (AAAS), publishing the prestigious Science magazine, chose Professor Julius Lukeš from the Faculty of Science of the USB and the Parasitological Institute of the Biology Center of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic as one of its candidates (Fellows).

In this way, it expresses a lifelong honor to scientists who have achieved outstanding achievements in the development of science.

This year, AAAS has selected 416 laureates, most of whom come from prestigious American universities. Julius Lukeš proposed this award by his American collaborators, who are also Fellows AAAS. The Czech parasitologist was elected within the biological section for a long-term contribution to evolutionary studies in protistology and molecular parasitology with a focus on flagellates and spores.

Photo: Pavlína Jáchimová, AV ČR

The first observation of a new kind of magnetic explosion in the Sun - NASA

Our scientists in cooperation with colleagues from England, India, Belgium and China, first observed and numerically simulated the phenomenon associated with the so-called "forced magnetic reconnection", which is an important phenomenon in connection with solar corona which is not yet satisfactorily explained in solar physics.

NASA also reported on this observation and simulation:




The report also includes a link to an article by our scientists (doc. Petr Jelinek and Dr. Pradeep Kumar Kayshap), published in The Astrophysical Journal:



The Plužina. Historical field systems of the Czech Republic

The Faculty of Environmental Sciences of the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague and the Faculty of Science of the University of South Bohemia have published the book Plužiny. Historical field systems of the Czech Republic. It is a critical catalog for the exhibition of the same name. The Czech and English language versions of the book summarise the results of a five-year project by a team of landscape ecologists, archaeologists, and historical geographers on the topic of historical field systems (Plužinas) in an accessible way for the general public. The preserved remnants of historical agricultural landscapes are valuable historical artefacts and cultural heritage, and at the same time, they provide valuable natural habitats of high aesthetic value. Relics of medieval Plužinasprovide evidence of historical settlements and farming. They are a tangible illustration of the medieval organization of agricultural lands in connection with settlements, and they form the basis from which present-day land tenure systems are derived. In a relatively unchanged form, they have survived several centuries under the influence of various political and economic systems and can be described as one of the most picturesque landscapes in Central Europe. They are a cultural-historical heritage that was created in response to traditional ways of land management.

 The book is available in PDF version on the websites of both university departments. The printed version will be available at the end of October 2022.

Download site

The University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice became a part of ESN

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International student club (ISC), that exists at the University of South Bohemia since 2007, managed to become a part of an international organization Erasmus Student Network (ESN).

The accession to ESN was approved by the absolute majority of representatives of other Czech universities on 7th September 2019. With the new name and design, ESN USB Budweis became the 530th section of this organization and the 19th section in the Czech Republic.

ESN is a non-profit international student organization whose aim is the voluntary help to international students with practical problems of their stay and study. It also tries to improve mutual cultural understanding and enables to learn more about the Czech country, its culture, and history, especially owing to various events, educational and sporting, trips and other projects. 200 students come every year to the University of South Bohemia within the programme Erasmus+, and the members of this association devote their free time to them. Currently, the association includes 15 members, that take care of the organization of activities and run the association and other 55 students that help the foreign students with practical problems by arrival and stay at USB.

The accession to the ESN does not mean only a change of the name (ESN USB Budweis – Erasmus Student Network University of South Bohemia České Budějovice) it brings advantages too, such as the partnership, financial support of projects, possibility to participate in educational and adventure events, sharing of know-how across universities, etc. The association continues in organizing cultural events, flag parade, sporting events, evening of board games, excursions, trips within the Czech Republic and abroad and newly also activities supporting the integration of Erasmus students (such as the project Erasmus in Schools).

Not only foreign students can gain benefits from this. The activities of ESN USB Budweis create an open international space and offers possibilities to practice and improve language skills, get to know a foreign culture and lots of interesting people.

The Wanang Conservation Area received prestigious UNDP Equator Prize for conservation

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The Wanang Conservation Area and the New Guinea Binatang Research Center are long-term research partners of our ecological research team based at the Biological Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences and the University of South Bohemia. These partners are supporting joint research projects in Papua New Guinea that include studies of one of the most detailed rainforest plant-insect food web, a long-term monitoring of insect dynamics, or a 50-ha forest plot following the fates on 280,000 individual trees, as well as hosting students for field courses and other training. 

The Wanang Conservation has been awarded the UNDP Equator Prize 2015 for “outstanding ​local achievement in advancing sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities.” The Wanang conservation is one of 21 awarded projects, from over 1,400 applications submitted world-wide. It has been selected since it “has become a model for community-driven conservation and development in the country and is a powerful example of partnership between a self-governed community, local NGOs, government and research institutes. It is also a model of resistance to commercial logging interests.”

We are looking forward to the Wanang community leader, Mr. Filip Damen, and the New Guinea Binatang Research Center representative, Mr. Pagi Toko (possibly a PhD student at the University of South Bohemia next year) coming to Paris later this year to receive the US $10,000 prize from the UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and actor Alec Baldwin.

More information:



USB celebrates success with MSc. Vedrana Šlipogor, Ph.D. at the 72nd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

We are thrilled to announce that MSc. Vedrana Šlipogor, Ph.D., from the FSC Department of Zoology, has been selected to participate in the prestigious 72nd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Physiology/Medicine on 25–30 June 2023. This remarkable achievement highlights the exceptional talent and dedication of Dr. Šlipogor in her field of expertise.

MSc. Vedrana Šlipogor, Ph.D., is a USB postdoctoral fellow of Dr. Martina Konečná, with research interests centred around evolutionary questions in behavioural ecology, ethology and comparative cognition, and particularly animal personality and its links with learning in primates (common marmosets) and subterranean rodents (naked mole-rats). Dr. Šlipogor conducted her undergraduate studies in Molecular Biology at the University of Zagreb, Croatia, interned in France and Austria, spent two field seasons in Brazil, and completed her doctoral dissertation in Biology and first postdoctoral post at the University of Vienna, before moving to the Czech Republic for her postdoctoral fellowship at USB, where she is involved in research, student supervision and teaching. For her research, Dr. Šlipogor was awarded several very competitive fellowships and grants, including L'ORÉAL-UNESCO Austria Fellowship ‘For Women in Science’.

The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, established in 1951, serve as a globally renowned platform for fostering exchange between Nobel Laureates and young scientists. These meetings have become a symbol of scientific inspiration, nurturing the next generation of researchers, and building enduring networks of young scientists from around the world.

The success of Dr. Šlipogor´s application to participate in this event is a testament to her outstanding contributions and potential as a rising star in the field of Physiology/Medicine. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will allow her to engage with 30–40 Nobel Laureates and join the esteemed gathering of 600 young scientists from across the globe. The Lindau Meetings provide a unique environment where knowledge is shared, perspectives are broadened, and collaborations are forged.

The University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice takes great pride in Dr. Šlipogor's achievement, as it not only showcases her individual excellence but also reflects the University's commitment to fostering a culture of research and innovation. Her participation in this prestigious event will undoubtedly enhance USB’s reputation as a hub of scientific talent and excellence.

We extend our warmest congratulations to MSc. Vedrana Šlipogor, Ph.D., for this exceptional achievement. We are confident that her participation in the 72nd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting will be an invaluable experience, offering her unique opportunities for personal and professional growth. We eagerly anticipate the insights and inspiration she will bring back to USB and its scientific community.

For more information about the 72nd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting and its participants see this link

We have six PhD students of biology from Papua New Guinea at our Faculty

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We have six PhD students of biology from Papua new Guinea at our Faculty. They are studying plant and insect diversity in tropical rainforests of New Guinea, but also the origins of cultural and language diversity on the world's largest tropical island. 

We have had three MSc New Guinean students joining us this semester, forming thus the largest group of post-graduate biology students from Papua New Guinea, not only in the Czech Republic but anywhere in the world. During the last years our university biologists have been training aproximately half of post-graduate biology students from Papua New Guinea. That region is important for biologists as well as anthropologists as it supports 5% of all plant and animal species on the planet, as well as 15% of all live languages.

Photo: Papua New Guinea students and their supervisors (L to R): Hayden Wagia, Jimmy Moses, Vojtech Novotny, Moses Kerry, Heveakore maraia, Katerina Sam, Nagi Sam, Legi Sam, Nigel Baro, Alfred Kik, Tiberius Jimbo, Sentiko Ibalim and Pagi Toko

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