Zoology and parasitology

I. Ornithology:

  1. Nesting ecology of Arctic tern
    Arctic terns (Sterna paradisaea) are well known for their aggressive behaviour against any intruders (including people) in the nesting colony. Our aim is to determine the behaviour of terns when disturbed from the nests by human in locations with and without human presence. The result of this project could help to provide solutions for protecting nests in Longyearbyen and to adjust the utilization of tourist sites close to nests of terns.
    The nesting success of the Arctic Tern is highly variable, depending on the location of the colony and annually changing conditions (predation, climate variations, etc.). Comparison of the colonies in natural habitats and the colony in Longyearbyen offers the opportunity to study the impact of both natural factors (predation, climate) and the impact of human activity near the nests on the nesting ecology of Arctic terns.
    Team members: Václav Pavel, Tereza Hromádková, Michaela Syrová

II. Parasitology and Infection Biology

1. The study of life cycle of trematodes from the family Opecoelidae occurring in gastropods Buccinium spp.and family Gymnophalidae from bivalves Mya truncata and Hiatella arctica.

2. Study of other helminths found in fish and selected invertebrate hosts.

3. Examination of tissues and organs if selected vertebrate and invertebrate hosts with the aim of the histological studies of parasites from the groups Apicomplexa, Myxozoa, Microsporidia, Ciliata and the isolation of amphizoic amoebas.

4. Mapping of biodiversity of littoral biocenoses

5. Intestinal parasites of mammals and birds
Examination of feces using classical coprological methods and molecular analyses. Special attention is paid to parasites of Polar Fox (Vulpes lagopus) and Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus), as well as to parasites of introduced mammals (vole Microtus levis and dog).

6. Searching for arboviruses and influenza viruses
Using molecular analyses, the mosquitoes Aedes nigripes (larvae and adult females) and ticks Ixodes uriae are examined for arboviruses. Oropharyngeal and cloacal swabs as well as droppings of selected species birds are screened for influenza viruses. Antibodies against bird influenza have been already recorded in serum samples of Black-legged kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla).

Team members: Oleg Ditrich, Eva Myšková, Marek Brož

III. Ecology of Terrestrial and Freshwater Invertebrates

1. Development of soil communities on ecological gradients
In Arctic environment, soils are mostly in initial stages of development and soil invertebrates are composed mainly of hydrobiont microfauna and mesofauna. We focus on community analysis with emphasis to detailed taxonomical composition of various groups and functional connections inside and outside of soil environment.

2. Freshwater lakes and food webs
Arctic lakes hosts typically simplified food web of producers, herbivores and carnivores, which allows relatively simple analysis of their relative importance and studies of detailed ecological questions. Differences in shape, chemistry, age and physical conditions, allows comparison of different community response, as well as analysis of populations under various types of stress.

3. Ecophysiology and functional adaptations of soil organisms
Strong arctic conditions allow development of physiological and ecological adaptations on survival of soil fauna in confrontation with low temperature and droughts. We study such adaptations on soil meso- and microfauna mainly, using advanced methods quantitative field sampling.

Contact: Miloslav Devetter