Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic

Mělník, Czech Republic

Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic

Mělník, Czech Republic
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PubMed | Armenian National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research, Royal Botanic Gardens, Ukrainian Academy of Sciences and 67 more.
Type: | Journal: Biodiversity data journal | Year: 2015

Reliable taxonomy underpins communication in all of biology, not least nature conservation and sustainable use of ecosystem resources. The flexibility of taxonomic interpretations, however, presents a serious challenge for end-users of taxonomic concepts. Users need standardised and continuously harmonised taxonomic reference systems, as well as high-quality and complete taxonomic data sets, but these are generally lacking for non-specialists. The solution is in dynamic, expertly curated web-based taxonomic tools. The Pan-European Species-directories Infrastructure (PESI) worked to solve this key issue by providing a taxonomic e-infrastructure for Europe. It strengthened the relevant social (expertise) and information (standards, data and technical) capacities of five major community networks on taxonomic indexing in Europe, which is essential for proper biodiversity assessment and monitoring activities. The key objectives of PESI were: 1) standardisation in taxonomic reference systems, 2) enhancement of the quality and completeness of taxonomic data sets and 3) creation of integrated access to taxonomic information.This paper describes the results of PESI and its future prospects, including the involvement in major European biodiversity informatics initiatives and programs.


PubMed | Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic, Prague Zoological Garden, University of Economics in Prague, Czech University of Life Sciences and 2 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Zoo biology | Year: 2016

The European ground squirrel (Spermophilus citellus) emits alarm calls that warn conspecifics of potential danger. Although it has been observed that inexperienced juveniles of this species emit alarm calls that sound similar to those of adults, studies focusing on juvenile alarm calls are lacking. We analyzed the acoustic structure of alarm calls emitted by six permanently marked European ground squirrels living in a semi-natural enclosure when they were juveniles and after 1 year as adults. We found that the acoustic structure of the juvenile alarm calls was significantly different from those of adults and that the alarm calls underwent nearly the same changes in all studied individuals. All juveniles emitted alarm calls consisting of one element with almost constant frequency, but their alarm calls included a second frequency-modulated element after their first hibernation as adults. Our data show that the duration of the first element is significantly shorter in adults than in juveniles. Additionally, the frequency of the first element is significantly higher in adults than in juveniles. Similar to previous findings in other Palearctic ground squirrel species, our data are inconsistent with the assumption that juvenile mammals emit vocalizations with higher fundamental frequencies than adults. However, our results do not support the previously suggested hypothesis that juvenile ground squirrels conceal information regarding their age in their alarm calls because we found significant differences in alarm calls of juveniles and adults.


Cervinka J.,University of South Bohemia | Cervinka J.,Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic | Drahnikova L.,University of South Bohemia | Kreisinger J.,Charles University | And 3 more authors.
Urban Ecosystems | Year: 2014

Although urbanization is generally considered a major threat to local and global biodiversity, some recent studies have shown that urban environments provide suitable habitat for some wildlife species, including carnivores, yet little is known about the factors that determinate their occurrence and habitat preferences. The main aim of this study was to examine the relative importance of habitat characteristics in relation to carnivore occurrence along an urban–rural gradient in the Central Europe. Carnivore occurrence was monitored using scent stations (summer period) and snow tracking (winter period) in the regional city which was divided into the network of 154 quadrates (25 ha/quadrate) for the purposes of this study. From a total of six recorded native carnivore species, the stone marten Martes foina and the least weasel Mustela nivalis were the most dominant and widespread species in both study periods. PCA analysis revealed the existence of two informative axes corresponding to (A) urban vs. non-urban habitat and (B) residential vs. industrial areas. Surprisingly, the only species exhibiting marked habitat selectivity and avoidance of highly urbanized areas was the red fox (i.e. negative correlation with the first PCA axis). The stone marten tends to avoid industrial areas and prefers residential areas; however its presence/absence was not associated with the first PCA axis. On the other hand, the ermine stoat and the least weasel were relatively unselective according to our results. In conclusion, our results demonstrate high adaptability of various species of carnivore mesopredators to urban environment; however their response to the level of urbanization and habitat characteristics exhibits interspecific variation. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


Vackar D.,Charles University | Vackar D.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Chobot K.,Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic | Orlitova E.,GISAT
Landscape Ecology | Year: 2012

We test a hypothesis about the spatial coincidence of human population density and species richness, and analyze effects of land conversion and ecosystem use on species richness and landscape diversity in human dominated Central European country, the Czech Republic. We calculated fraction of aboveground net primary productivity appropriated by humans and compared it to the species richness of vertebrate, invertebrate and plant groups and to landscape diversity index in 560 mapping grid squares with grid size approximately 130 km 2. Spatial correlations and regressions were established between human population density, appropriation of net primary production, land cover and biodiversity. We found positive spatial coincidence between human population density and species richness. Although the amount of net primary production was not related to species richness in general, we found significant negative spatial relationship between ecosystem use intensity and landscape diversity. As the area of the Czech Republic exhibits relatively high land use intensities, spatial patterns of human impacts have important implications for land management and biodiversity conservation in a cultural landscape. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Kovarik P.,Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic | Kutal M.,Mendel University in Brno | Machar I.,Palacky University
Journal for Nature Conservation | Year: 2014

Extensive sheep grazing in the West Carpathians is a very important management tool for the protection of the traditional landscape character of the Central European countryside, as well as providing biologically valuable habitats of pastures and meadows. In this paper we describe the main characteristics of sheep farming in the Beskydy region and test the hypothesis that large carnivores are a limiting factor for sheep grazing management of landscapes in this region, the only area of the Czech Republic where all three species of large European carnivores - the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), grey wolf (Canis lupus) and brown bear (Ursus arctos) - occur. Data obtained from the monitoring of large carnivores and a questionnaire-based survey of the perspective of sheep farmers in the Beskydy region were analysed. Although the lynx is the most abundant large predator within the study area, the highest number of attacks on sheep was attributed to wolves. However, the annual frequency of attacks was very low and, moreover, an important number of the attacks could have been committed by dogs rather than wolves. From the perspective of sheep breeders, the major economic factor is a low consumer demand for sheep products, and not the presence of large carnivores. However farmers expressed a view that some level of safeguarding was needed and this should come in the form of financial compensation for damage resulting from attacks on sheep by large predators and a modification of the current system of agricultural subsidies. Subsidies for sheep breeders should respect the regional specifics including the risk arising from the presence of large carnivores and provide support for active measures to protect the livestock against them. Regarding the protection of populations of large carnivores in the Beskydy Mountains, it will be necessary to continue to monitor their presence. © 2014 Elsevier GmbH.


Abraham V.,Charles University | Abraham V.,University of South Bohemia | Ouskova V.,Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic | Kunes P.,Charles University | Kunes P.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

The REVEALS model is a tool for recalculating pollen data into vegetation abundances on a regional scale. We explored the general effect of selected parameters by performing simulations and ascertained the best model setting for the Czech Republic using the shallowest samples from 120 fossil sites and data on actual regional vegetation (60 km radius). Vegetation proportions of 17 taxa were obtained by combining the CORINE Land Cover map with forest inventories, agricultural statistics and habitat mapping data. Our simulation shows that changing the site radius for all taxa substantially affects REVEALS estimates of taxa with heavy or light pollen grains. Decreasing the site radius has a similar effect as increasing the wind speed parameter. However, adjusting the site radius to 1 m for local taxa only (even taxa with light pollen) yields lower, more correct estimates despite their high pollen signal. Increasing the background radius does not affect the estimates significantly. Our comparison of estimates with actual vegetation in seven regions shows that the most accurate relative pollen productivity estimates (PPEs) come from Central Europe and Southern Sweden. The initial simulation and pollen data yielded unrealistic estimates for Abies under the default setting of the wind speed parameter (3 m/s). We therefore propose the setting of 4 m/s, which corresponds to the spring average in most regions of the Czech Republic studied. Ad hoc adjustment of PPEs with this setting improves the match 3-4-fold. We consider these values (apart from four exceptions) to be appropriate, because they are within the ranges of standard errors, so they are related to original PPEs. Setting a 1 m radius for local taxa (Alnus, Salix, Poaceae) significantly improves the match between estimates and actual vegetation. However, further adjustments to PPEs exceed the ranges of original values, so their relevance is uncertain. © 2014 Abraham et al.


PubMed | Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic, Slovenian Museum of Natural History, RAS Severtsov Institute of Ecology, University of Salford and 4 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2016

The common vole (Microtus arvalis) has been a model species of small mammal for studying end-glacial colonization history. In the present study we expanded the sampling from central and eastern Europe, analyzing contemporary genetic structure to identify the role of a potential northern glacial refugium, i.e. a refugium at a higher latitude than the traditional Mediterranean refugia. Altogether we analyzed 786 cytochrome b (cytb) sequences (representing mitochondrial DNA; mtDNA) from the whole of Europe, adding 177 new sequences from central and eastern Europe, and we conducted analyses on eight microsatellite loci for 499 individuals (representing nuclear DNA) from central and eastern Europe, adding data on 311 new specimens. Our new data fill gaps in the vicinity of the Carpathian Mountains, the potential northern refugium, such that there is now dense sampling from the Balkans to the Baltic Sea. Here we present evidence that the Eastern mtDNA lineage of the common vole was present in the vicinity of this Carpathian refugium during the Last Glacial Maximum and the Younger Dryas. The Eastern lineage expanded from this refugium to the Baltic and shows low cytb nucleotide diversity in those most northerly parts of the distribution. Analyses of microsatellites revealed a similar pattern but also showed little differentiation between all of the populations sampled in central and eastern Europe.


Zukal J.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Zukal J.,Masaryk University | Bandouchova H.,University of Veterinary And Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno | Bartonicka T.,Masaryk University | And 13 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Host traits and phylogeny can determine infection risk by driving pathogen transmission and its ability to infect new hosts. Predicting such risks is critical when designing disease mitigation strategies, and especially as regards wildlife, where intensive management is often advocated or prevented by economic and/or practical reasons. We investigated Pseudogymnoascus [Geomyces] destructans infection, the cause of white-nose syndrome (WNS), in relation to chiropteran ecology, behaviour and phylogenetics. While this fungus has caused devastating declines in North American bat populations, there have been no apparent population changes attributable to the disease in Europe. We screened 276 bats of 15 species from hibernacula in the Czech Republic over 2012 and 2013, and provided histopathological evidence for 11 European species positive for WNS. With the exception of Myotis myotis, the other ten species are all new reports for WNS in Europe. Of these, M. emarginatus, Eptesicus nilssonii, Rhinolophus hipposideros, Barbastella barbastellus and Plecotus auritus are new to the list of P. destructans-infected bat species. While the infected species are all statistically phylogenetically related, WNS affects bats from two suborders. These are ecologically diverse and adopt a wide range of hibernating strategies. Occurrence of WNS in distantly related bat species with diverse ecology suggests that the pathogen may be a generalist and that all bats hibernating within the distribution range of P. destructans may be at risk of infection.


This paper presents the results of probably the first rather detailed survey of aquatic molluscs of Rab Island. This island belongs among those Croatian islands situated in the northern Adriatic Sea. Altogether 11 species of aquatic non-marine molluscs (9 gastropods, 2 bivalves) were found at 49 sites in 2012-2015. Two species recorded, Ecrobia ventrosa and Myosotella myosotis, inhabit brackish waters while the other species belong among freshwater molluscs and were found in springs, wells, ditches, rivulets and small brooks. Kerkia kareli, a species described in 2014 from Pag Island which inhabits phreatic waters, was found at one site. The non-native Physella acuta was recorded from many sites and this find is probably the first known occurrence of a non-native aquatic mollusc at least from the northern Croatian islands. The results of this research were compared with aquatic molluscan assemblages of other Croatian islands. © 2015, Croatian Natural History Museum. All rights reserved.


Rimalova K.r.,Czech University of Life Sciences | Douda K.,Czech University of Life Sciences | Stambergova M.,Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic
Biodiversity and Conservation | Year: 2014

The degradation of aquatic habitats has increasingly become one of the most important factors influencing the distribution of freshwater species worldwide. We analysed the occurrence of three crayfish species, Astacus astacus, Austropotamobius torrentium and Orconectes limosus, in relation to habitat degradation status (based on Directive 2000/60/ES), stream morphology, geographical characteristics and land cover. In total, we analysed 6,768 sites within the Czech Republic (Central Europe), of which 6,187 sites lacked crayfish; among the remainder, A. astacus was present in 507 sites, O. limosus occurred in 44 sites and A. torrentium was present in only 30 sites. The analysis revealed that A. astacus preferred streams of better water quality that were not surrounded by agricultural land or settlements. This species also preferentially occurred in smaller streams with stony bottom substrata that were located at higher altitudes. Austropotamobius torrentium occurrence was associated with the natural character of the water body and the presence of protected areas at higher altitudes. Conversely, the non-native crayfish species O. limosus was typically recorded at lower altitudes in downstream reaches surrounded by agricultural land and with deteriorated water quality. The degree of environmental (human) pressure besides differences in habitat characteristics at sites with ICS and NICS may be of general importance for conservation strategies aimed at central European native crayfish species, primarily because the habitat-driven co-occurrence pattern (and its possible changes in the future) may strongly influence interspecific relationships, such as direct competition and the spread of infectious diseases between crayfish species. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

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