Czech Union for Nature Conservation

Vlašim, Czech Republic

Czech Union for Nature Conservation

Vlašim, Czech Republic
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Bonari G.,University of Siena | Bonari G.,Masaryk University | Fajmon K.,Czech Union for Nature Conservation | Fajmon K.,Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic | And 10 more authors.
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment | Year: 2017

Biodiversity of semi-natural grasslands depends on the management practices used. However, management systems suitable for one taxon, such as plants, can be detrimental to other taxa, such as insects, and vice versa. This study attempts to support conservation management planning by clarifying the effects of different grassland management practices on species richness and species composition of vascular plants, butterflies, moths, orthopterans and ground beetles, also taking into account the effects of climate and the landscape context. The study was performed in the White Carpathians Protected Landcape Area and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve (Czech Republic), which is famous for its grasslands with the globally highest fine-scale plant species richness. Different management practices (mowing, grazing, abandonment and mixed management; the latter including the previous three) were applied for at least five consecutive years at 34 sites, where plants and different insect groups were subsequently sampled. Effects of management on species richness of different taxonomic groups were assessed using generalised linear models, whereas the effects on species composition were assessed using redundancy analysis. Management influenced plant, butterfly and moth species richness, but the effects of particular management practices on all species and species of regional conservation importance differed between these taxonomic groups. Plant and moth species richness increased with mowing, but moth species richness decreased with grazing. Mixed management favoured plant and butterfly richness. Plant species composition was infuenced by mowing, grazing and mixed management while that of moths by mowing and grazing. Orthopterans and ground beetles did not respond significantly to management. Our results indicate that conservation management should comprise the traditional practices that have historically contributed to the formation of the biological diversity of the semi-natural grasslands in the study area. In particular, grazing may not be optimal for traditional hay-meadows and mowing should be carried out similarly as in pre-intensive farmland, creating spatio-temporal heterogeneity rather than uniformly cutting large grassland areas during a short period. In general, the optimal management should be heterogeneous, applying different practices in a mosaic or at different times during the season. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.


Cech M.,Charles University | Cech P.,Czech Union for Nature Conservation
Ardea | Year: 2017

We measured food provisioning to broods of Common Kingfishers Alcedo atthis. We collected regurgitated undigested fish remains from artificial nests. Using artificial nests ensured that fish remains originated from the current nesting period and were not a result of multiple use of a nest within one breeding season or between seasons. In total, 4722 specimens of 24 fish species were identified in six nests; the remains were used to estimate the mass of individual fish prey. Chicks were fed with fish weighing between 0.01 and 16.2 g (average: 3.0 g, median: 2.6 g). Provisioning rate significantly increased with increasing brood size from 1498 g (505 fishes for four nestlings) to 2968 g (894 fishes for eight nestlings). During the fledging period each chick consumed on average 334 g of fish, which resulted in an estimated daily food intake of 37% of the chick's body mass (average over the entire nestling period). The average daily energy intake was 73.5 kJ per chick, which was lower than expected for birds of equivalent size. It seems that the relatively low energy requirement of chicks, in conjunction with selecting for large and energy-rich prey, are the key factors enabling Common Kingfishers to have large and multiple broods during one breeding season. In the temperate zone of continental Europe, this reproductive strategy enables the species to compensate for the mortality caused by periodically severe winters.


Cech M.,Charles University | Cech P.,Czech Union for Nature Conservation
Hydrobiologia | Year: 2013

Floods accompanied by high flow and high water turbidity are usually believed to cause problems to fish-eating birds and mammals searching visually for their prey. In the present study the diets of breeding kingfishers were studied during the normal river situation and during a long-lasting flood event with respect to diet composition, size of fish prey and food diversity index. During the normal situation (flow 1.75 m3 s-1, Secchi disc depth 0.5-1 m), the diet of a kingfisher was dominated by benthic fish species (52.9% by numbers, 63.9% by weight), the average size of fish taken was 6.5 cm L T and 3.0 g and the food diversity index reached its lowest value (1.57). In contrast, during the long-lasting flood event (flow 5-28 m3 s-1, Secchi disc depth 0.03-0.4 m) the diet of the kingfisher was dominated by sub-surface fish species (72.4% by numbers, 76.1% by weight) and both the average size of fish taken (7.4 cm LT and 3.7 g) and the food diversity index (1.83) increased significantly. The birds provided their nestlings with lower numbers of fish of larger sizes, which resulted in very similar weights of the young birds prior to fledging when the flood and normal situations were compared. This study provides evidence that in different foraging conditions the kingfishers adopt different foraging strategies to maintain their high breeding success. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


Chytry M.,Masaryk University | Drazil T.,Administration of the Slovensky Raj | Hajek M.,Masaryk University | Kalnikova V.,Masaryk University | And 32 more authors.
Preslia | Year: 2015

We provide an inventory of the sites and vegetation types in the Czech Republic and Slovakia that contain the highest numbers of vascular plant species in small areas of up to 625 m2. The highest numbers of species were recorded in semi-natural grasslands, in which we report four new world records for fine-scale species richness: 17 species of vascular plants in 0.0044 m2 in a mountain meadow in the Krkonoše Mts, 52 and 63 species in 0.25 and 0.5 m2, respectively, in the Kopanecké lúky meadows in the Slovak Paradise (Slovenský raj), and 109 species in 16 m2 in the Porážky meadows in the White Carpathians (Bílé Karpaty). The previous world record of 43 species in 0.1 m2 was equalled in the Čertoryje meadows in the White Carpathians, however, the previous record referred to shoot presence while the new record considers only the species rooted in the plot. We interpreted and corrected the data from the Czech Republic that Wilson et al. (2012) used to compile a list of world records and provide an updated list. The updated list contains five world records from the Czech Republic and two from Slovakia. The most species-rich grasslands and forests in the Czech Republic and Slovakia are concentrated in regions with base-rich soils in the Western Carpathians, especially in the flysch zone in SE Moravia and the Czech-Slovak borderland, and in limestone and volcanic areas in central Slovakia. The richest types of non-forest vegetation include semi-dry base-rich meadows (Bromion erecti and Cirsio-Brachypodion pinnati), base-rich pastures and mesic meadows (Cynosurion cristati and Arrhenatherion elatioris), Nardus stricta grasslands (Violion caninae and Nardo strictae-Agrostion tenuis) and some wet meadows and natural subalpine grasslands. A special type of species-rich herbaceous to open woodland vegetation develops as successional stages on gravel accumulations in Carpathian rivers after severe flooding. The maximum counts of vascular plant species in non-forest vegetation in the Czech Republic and Slovakia are 7 species/0.0009 m2, 11/0.0011 m2, 12/0.004 m2, 17/0.0044 m2, 23/0.01 m2, 37/0.04 m2, 43/0.1 m2, 52/0.25 m2, 63/0.5 m2, 82/1 m2, 88/4 m2, 109/16 m2, 116/25 m2, 131/49 m2 and 133/100 m2. While the maximum counts for plots smaller than 0.5 m2 are from various regions and probably mainly depend on appropriate management, the maximum counts for plots larger than 0.5 m2 are for two areas only, the south-eastern part of the White Carpathians and Kopanecké lúky meadows, suggesting the importance of regionally specific landscape processes for high species richness at such scales. Czech and Slovak forest vegetation is much poorer than grasslands, reaching maxima of 100, 109 and 118 species in plots of 100, 400 and 500 m2, which are considerably smaller than global maxima for temperate forests. Most of the species-rich sites occur on base-rich soils, in habitats with intermediate values of environmental factors, are subject to low-intensity management or natural disturbance, occur in landscapes with large areas of natural and semi-natural vegetation and probably have a long historical continuity.


Piasecna K.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Poncova A.,Czech Union for Nature Conservation | Tejedo M.,CSIC - Doñana Biological Station | Gvozdik L.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
Journal of Thermal Biology | Year: 2015

Many ectotherms employ diverse behavioral adjustments to effectively buffer the spatio-temporal variation in environmental temperatures, whereas others remain passive to thermal heterogeneity. Thermoregulatory studies are frequently performed on species living in thermally benign habitats, which complicate understanding of the thermoregulation-thermoconformity continuum. The need for new empirical data from ectotherms exposed to thermally challenging conditions requires the evaluation of available methods for quantifying thermoregulatory strategies. We evaluated the applicability of various thermoregulatory indices using fire salamander larvae, Salamandra salamandra, in two aquatic habitats, a forest pool and well, as examples of disparate thermally-constrained environments. Water temperatures in the well were lower and less variable than in the pool. Thermal conditions prevented larvae from reaching their preferred body temperature range in both water bodies. In contrast to their thermoregulatory abilities examined in a laboratory thermal gradient, field body temperatures only matched the mean and range of operative temperatures, showing thermal passivity of larvae in both habitats. Despite apparent thermoconformity, thermoregulatory indices indicated various strategies from active thermoregulation, to thermoconformity, and even thermal evasion, which revealed their limited applicability under thermally-constrained conditions. Salamander larvae abandoned behavioral thermoregulation despite varying opportunities to increase their body temperature above average water temperatures. Thermoconformity represents a favored strategy in these ectotherms living in more thermally-constrained environments than those examined in previous thermoregulatory studies. To understand thermal ecology and its impact on population dynamics, the quantification of thermoregulatory strategies of ectotherms in thermally-constrained habitats requires the careful choice of an appropriate method to avoid misleading results. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


PubMed | CSIC - Doñana Biological Station, Czech Union for Nature Conservation and Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
Type: | Journal: Journal of thermal biology | Year: 2015

Many ectotherms employ diverse behavioral adjustments to effectively buffer the spatio-temporal variation in environmental temperatures, whereas others remain passive to thermal heterogeneity. Thermoregulatory studies are frequently performed on species living in thermally benign habitats, which complicate understanding of the thermoregulation-thermoconformity continuum. The need for new empirical data from ectotherms exposed to thermally challenging conditions requires the evaluation of available methods for quantifying thermoregulatory strategies. We evaluated the applicability of various thermoregulatory indices using fire salamander larvae, Salamandra salamandra, in two aquatic habitats, a forest pool and well, as examples of disparate thermally-constrained environments. Water temperatures in the well were lower and less variable than in the pool. Thermal conditions prevented larvae from reaching their preferred body temperature range in both water bodies. In contrast to their thermoregulatory abilities examined in a laboratory thermal gradient, field body temperatures only matched the mean and range of operative temperatures, showing thermal passivity of larvae in both habitats. Despite apparent thermoconformity, thermoregulatory indices indicated various strategies from active thermoregulation, to thermoconformity, and even thermal evasion, which revealed their limited applicability under thermally-constrained conditions. Salamander larvae abandoned behavioral thermoregulation despite varying opportunities to increase their body temperature above average water temperatures. Thermoconformity represents a favored strategy in these ectotherms living in more thermally-constrained environments than those examined in previous thermoregulatory studies. To understand thermal ecology and its impact on population dynamics, the quantification of thermoregulatory strategies of ectotherms in thermally-constrained habitats requires the careful choice of an appropriate method to avoid misleading results.


Cech M.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Cech P.,Czech Union for Nature Conservation
Bird Study | Year: 2015

Capsule Non-fish prey constitutes an important component of the diet of many fish-eating birds.Aims In the present study, the role of non-fish prey in the diet of the Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis was evaluated.Methods The species and size spectrum of prey in the diet was studied at 15 nest sites on 6 trout streams, 1 river and 1 reservoir in the Czech Republic, using the analysis of the nest sediment.Results 16 933 individual prey items were identified (99.93% fish and 0.07% non-fish prey). European Perch Perca fluviatilis, Roach Rutilus rutilus and Bleak Alburnus alburnus dominated the diets on the reservoir; Gudgeon Gobio gobio, European Chub Squalius cephalus and Roach those on the river; and Gudgeon, European Chub, Bullhead Cottus gobio, Roach, Bleak and Brown Trout Salmo trutta m. fario those in the trout streams. The sizes of their fish prey ranged from 16 to 134mm in total length (LT) with an average size of 66mm. The remains of non-fish prey were detected in only 5 of 30 nest sediments. The non-fish prey were mostly composed of large aquatic insect larvae: dragonflies Anax sp. and Aeshna sp., Common Club-tail Gomphus vulgatissimus and Great Diving Beetle Dytiscus marginalis. Kingfishers also took Spiny-cheek Crayfish Orconectes limosus, Newt Triturus sp. and a Lizard Lacerta sp. The estimated sizes of the non-fish prey ranged from 30 to 90mm.Conclusion The catch of non-fish prey appears to be accidental, and is more likely a result of target misinterpretation (fish-like body and fish-like movement) than a Kingfisher regularly switching to prey other than fish. The unique finding of a Lizard is the first record of an amniotic vertebrate in the diet of Common Kingfisher. © 2015 British Trust for Ornithology.

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