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The list of national projects SAS

Plant Science and Biodiversity Center SAS
How environmental DNA (eDNA) reflects life in alpine lakes and their catchments: DNA metabarcoding in the Tatra lakes research
Ako environmentálna DNA (eDNA) odráža život v alpínskych jazerách a ich povodiach: DNA metabarkóding vo výskume tatranských plies
Program: VEGA
Project leader: RNDr. Čiamporová-Zaťovičová Zuzana PhD.
Annotation:Alpine lakes are globally unique aquatic habitats contributing significantly to the regional biodiversity and preserving ecosystem services. However, many of them are at risk, in particular from human activity and climate change. Their protection is therefore crucial, but must be based on accurate and up-to-date data. The project, following previous research of Tatra lakes, will for the first time use innovative molecular methods in the assessment of the alpine lakes biodiversity: metabarcoding, analysis of environmental DNA, NGS. They have great potential to describe the current state of biodiversity of lakes and their catchments in detail, detect rare/non-native species, determine the impact of environmental factors on aquatic biota and assess the species genetic variability. The project also includes the generation of reference molecular data (DNA barcoding) of the Tatra aquatic fauna, which is essential for the correct interpretation of metabarcoding data and will enable their use in modern monitoring.
Duration: 1.1.2021 - 31.12.2024
Biosystematics, fylogeny and distribution of ascomycetes of the order Leotiales in the Carpathians
Biosystematika, fylogenetické vzťahy a distribúcia vreckatých húb z radu Leotiales v Karpatoch
Program: VEGA
Project leader: Mgr. Kučera Viktor PhD.
Annotation:Most members of the order Leotiales are quite rare and are endangered almost in all countries of their occurrence. The order includes two families, Geoglossaceae (8 genera) and Leotiaceae (3 genera). They occur in some forest areas but predominantly they are associated with specific non-forest habitats, such as peat bogs, meadows, pastures and also sand dunes. Recently numerous new taxa are being described but no determination manual for their identification is available. Latest estimate includes about 25 taxa of the order in the Carpathians but delimitation of most of them is vague. We have identified serious taxonomical problems in genera Geoglossum, Microglossum and Thuemenidium that have to be solved. Taxonomical data will support consequent phylogenetic analyses and discussion on paraphyletic origin of genera. Field collections from the Carpathians, type and other material held in fungaria also published records will allow us to summarize ecology, construct distribution maps and propose threat status.
Duration: 1.1.2019 - 31.12.2022
Determination, spreading pattern and impact of invasive plants on native ecosystems: case studies on Centaurea, Fallopia and Solidago
Determinácia, šírenie a vplyv inváznych rastlín na prirodzené ekosystémy: príkladové štúdie na rodoch Centaurea, Fallopia a Solidago
Program: VEGA
Project leader: RNDr. Skokanová Katarína PhD.
Annotation:The project aims to study taxonomically problematic and hardly distinguishable invasive taxa and cytotypes of Centaurea stoebe agg., Fallopia japonica agg. and Solidago canadensis agg. occurring in central Europe. By combination of biosystematic approaches (morphometrics, flow cytometry, chromosome counting) we will determine particular taxa and cytotypes. Thanks to extensive field survey and revision of herbarium specimens we will contribute to the knowledge on current and past distribution of F. japonica agg. and S. canadensis agg. in central Europe and cytotypes of C. stoebe agg. in mixed-ploidy populations. Further, we will analyse ecological demands of particular taxa and cytotypes and model their future potential spreading within the studied area. To reveal and to compare impact of invasive taxa of F. japonica agg. and S. canadensis agg. on natural biotopes we will use a combined approach including analyses of soil properties, seed bank, diversity of plants, fungi and molluscs in invaded biotopes.
Duration: 1.1.2019 - 31.12.2022
Diversity and distribution of species and communities in changing environment
Diverzita a distribúcia druhov a spoločenstiev v meniacom sa prostredí
Program: VEGA
Project leader: Mgr. Šibíková Mária PhD.
Annotation:Spatio-temporal changes translate to changes in diversity and distribution of populations and communities across all organizational levels, influencing many aspects of biota. Shifts in distribution of plant communities and species including invasions by alien species gained significance in past decades when this phenomenon became more evident. Now it is obvious that the main drivers and causes of changes in diversity and distribution include 1) land use and management; 2) climate change; 3) spreading of alien species and 4) natural disturbances. Combinations of these factors influence vegetation, agroecosystems and forestry either in negative or positive way. Identifying general pattern at local scales, in various habitats, and differentiation of effects caused by each driver will help us to understand the impact of observed changes and their role in ecosystems. To reach our goals we focus on habitats from the basins to the alpine belt – floodplains, montane forests, grassland and alpine communities.
Duration: 1.1.2019 - 31.12.2022
Diversity of urban biota in the Carpathian-Pannonian region
Diverzita bioty miest v karpatsko-panónskej oblasti
Program: VEGA
Project leader: RNDr. Májeková Jana PhD.
Annotation:The project deals with the research of biodiversity in the urban environment in the territory of two important Central European bioregions – Pannonian and Carpathian. After multiple stratification, 30 Slovak cities were selected, representatively distributed on the basis of geographical location and demography. Within each city, the research will be carried out through two model, ecologically significantly linked groups (vascular plants and terrestrial snails) and on seven habitats typical of the urban environment. The aim of the submitted project is to find out: 1) How environmental and anthropogenic factors affect the diversity of native species in different types of urban environment and the penetration of non-native species into cities, 2) if there is a difference in the diversity structure of model groups of organisms in the Carpathian and Pannonian biogeographical regions, and 3) which of the urban habitats is the most important in terms of biodiversity and can potentially serve as an indicator habitat.
Duration: 1.1.2021 - 31.12.2024
Diversity of grassland habitats in Slovakia after two decades in the EU
Diverzita lúčnych a pasienkových biotopov Slovenska po dvoch dekádach v Európskej únii
Program: VEGA
Project leader: Mgr. Vantarová Katarína PhD.
Annotation:The landuse changes dynamicaly in time and these changes reflect in the vegetation composition and structure. The changes in the agricultural landscape are significantly influenced by the agricultural subsidies received in Slovakia since 2004 when the country joined the European Union. The aim of the project is to asses the changes in the floristic composition and functional traits of the grassland habitats of European and national importance using the resampling of phytosociological relevés. Based on the results we will asses the effectiveness and impact of agricultural subsidies on recent state of the studied habitats. At the same time, we will continue testing the influence of various management techniques in the permanent plots on composition of grassland vegetation. The results of our research may be used by the State Conservancy Agency and will serve as a basis for optimisation of management measures for maintaining the favourable condition of grassland habitats of European and national importance.
Duration: 1.1.2021 - 31.12.2024
Diversity of plant understory of alder forests in the main bioregions of Central Europe
Diverzita rastlín jelšových lesov hlavných bioregiónov strednej Európy
Program: VEGA
Project leader: Ing. Hrivnák Richard PhD.
Annotation:Alder forests with dominance of Alnus glutinosa are ecologically and floristically specific vegetation type. These forests belong to the endangered vegetation and they are under strong human pressure in Central Europe. We focus on the study of plant diversity patterns (alpha, beta and gamma) in the main Central European bioregions (Alpine, Continental and Pannonian) with respect to various plant groups (vascular plants, bryophytes, native and alien species) and two types of these forests, riparian alder forests and alder carrs. In addition, we would like to detect which ecological factors (including human impact) have an impact on alpha diversity of plants and which conditions predeterminate the highest species richness.
Duration: 1.1.2019 - 31.12.2022
Diversity of fungal and algal communities associated to Mediterranean centered lichens at ecological and spacial levels
Diverzita spoločenstiev húb a rias asociovaných v lišajníkoch s centrom rozšírenia v Mediteráne na ekologickej a priestorovej úrovni
Program: VEGA
Project leader: Mgr. Bérešová Anna PhD.
Annotation:Biodiversity plays important roles in the capacity of biological and ecological systems to respond to global environmental changes. Projections of climate change demonstrate increased climatic variation of the regions and biomes with long-term stabile climate in the past, such as Mediterranean ecosystems, which thus represent suitable study systems. Recent phylogenetic and ecological studies show that Solenopsora lichen species can be used as models to explore diversity and ecological adaptation of symbiotic organisms in the Mediterranean region. In this project we aim to to test the hypothesis that the diversity of fungal and algal communities associated to Solenopsora lichen thalli correlate with the evolutionary history, geographical range and the ecology of two selected species – S. candicans with broader range exceeding Mediterranean region; and S. grisea, restricted to the Mediterranean region.
Duration: 1.1.2021 - 31.12.2024
Diversity of fungal and algal communities associated to Mediterranean centered lichens at ecological and spacial levels
Diverzita spoločenstiev húb a rias asociovaných v lišajníkoch s centrom rozšírenia v Mediteráne na ekologickej a priestorovej úrovni
Program: VEGA
Project leader: Mgr. Bérešová Anna PhD.
Annotation:Biodiversity plays important roles in the capacity of biological and ecological systems to respond to global environmental changes. Projections of climate change demonstrate increased climatic variation of the regions and biomes with long-term stabile climate in the past, such as Mediterranean ecosystems. To understand the impact of climatic changes on biodiversity we need to know it on all the levels. Recent phylogenetic and ecological studies show that Solenopsora lichen species can be used as models to explore diversity and ecological adaptation of symbiotic organisms in the Mediterranean region. In this project we aim to to test the hypothesis that the diversity of fungal and algal communities associated to Solenopsora lichen thalli correlate with the evolutionary history, geographical range and the ecology of two selected species – S. candicans with broader range exceeding Mediterranean region; and S. grisea, restricted to the Mediterranean region.
Duration: 1.1.2021 - 31.12.2024
Demand-driven research for the sustainable and innovative food
Dopytovo orientovaný výskum pre udržateľné a inovatívne potraviny
Program:
Project leader: RNDr. Gajdošová Alena CSc.
Duration: 1.9.2020 - 30.6.2023
Flora of Slovakia – Asteraceae family (Part 2): biosystematic study of critical taxa
Flóra Slovenska – čeľaď Asteraceae (2. časť): biosystematické štúdium kritických taxónov
Program: VEGA
Project leader: RNDr. Hodálová Iva CSc.
Annotation:The project is focused on taxonomic and chorological revision of selected representatives of Asteraceae family (tribes Cardueae, Eupatoriae, Heliantheae, Inuleae) in Slovakia or Central Europe, respectively. The main result will be publishing of the next volume of book series Flora of Slovakia, namely Volume VI/2, Part 2. Each taxon (cca 140 species, 55 genera) will be treated in terms of nomenclature, morphology, karyology, ecology, and chorology. Identification keys (in Slovak and English), original drawings of plants and distribution maps will be also included. Results of the study of taxonomically complex groups from genera Centaurea, Colymbada, Cyanus and Helianthus will be published in separate papers. As part of the project we will published also a book with revised Slovak vascular plant names (Slovak Nomenclature of Vascular Plants; cca 25,000 headings) and an extended and supplemented electronic edition of the biographical dictionary Botanical Personalities of Slovakia (cca 630 personalities).
Duration: 1.1.2021 - 31.12.2024
Flora of Slovakia – Asteraceae family (Part 2): biosystematic study of critical taxa
Flóra Slovenska – čeľaď Asteraceae (2. časť): biosystematické štúdium kritických taxónov
Program: VEGA
Project leader: RNDr. Hodálová Iva CSc.
Annotation:The project is focused on taxonomic and chorological revision of selected representatives of Asteraceae family (tribes Cardueae, Eupatoriae, Heliantheae, Inuleae) in Slovakia or Central Europe, respectively. The main result will be publishing of the next volume of book series Flora of Slovakia, namely Volume VI/2 (Part 2). Each taxon (cca 140 species, 55 genera) will be treated in terms of nomenclature, morphology, karyology, ecology, and chorology. Identification keys (in Slovak and English), original drawings of plants and distribution maps will be also included. Results of the study of taxonomically complex groups from genera Centaurea, Colymbada, Cyanus and Helianthus will be published in separate papers. As part of the project we will published also a book with revised Slovak vascular plant names (Slovak Nomenclature of Vascular Plants; cca 25,000 headings) and an extended and supplemented electronic edition of the biographical dictionary Botanical Personalities of Slovakia (cca 630 personalities).
Duration: 1.1.2021 - 31.12.2024
Genetic structure and diversity of putative hybrid swarms of Scots pine and mountain dwarf pine in northern Slovakia
Genetická štruktúra a diverzita predpokladaných hybridných rojov borovice lesnej (Pinus sylvestris L.) a borovice horskej – kosodreviny (P. mugo Turra) na severnom Slovensku
Program:
Project leader: Mgr. Klobučník Miroslav
Annotation:The aim of the present study is to analyze genetic structure and diversity of putative hybrid swarms of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and mountain dwarf pine (P. mugo Turra) in northern Slovakia. The localities of their occurence include peat-bogs in Horná Orava region, namely Medzi Bormi near Zuberec, Tisovnica near Oravská Polhora, and Rudné near Suchá Hora. Hybrid status is also suggested for several individuals on the rocky locality Obšívanka – Sokolie near Terchová (Malá Fatra). To study these populations, the nuclear simple sequence repeats (SSR) will be used. Within-population genetic variation will be evaluated by the concept of genetic structure and diversity, and results will then be used to determine among-population variation (genetic differentiation). Ultimately, this should contribute to specifying the phylogenetic relationships of the respective hybrid swarms with their putative parent taxa.
Duration: 1.1.2020 - 31.12.2021
Genetic structure of hybrid swarms of Scots pine and dwarf mountain pine in Slovakia
Genetická štruktúra hybridných rojov borovice lesnej a borovice horskej na Slovensku
Program: VEGA
Project leader: RNDr. Kormuťák Andrej DrSc.
Annotation:The project aims in description of genetic status of the putative hybrid swarms of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and dwarf mountain pine (Pinus mugo Turra) in northern Slovakia. The attention will be paid to comparison of genetic structure of the putative hybrid swarms Medzi Bormi in Zuberec-Habovka, Tisovnica in Oravska Polhora, Sucha Hora and Obšívanka-Sokolie near Terchova with the structure of selected reference populations of pure species P. mugo and P. sylvestris. As genetic markers, the microsatellites of the nuclear genes and tandem repeated retrotranspozons of nuclear DNA (iPBS) will be used. Obtained experimental data will serve in calculation the basic characteristics of genetic structure in individual populations and subsequent drawing the conclusions about genetic distance between them as the main indication of their resemblance or differentiation.
Duration: 1.1.2020 - 31.12.2022
Fungal hybrid heme peroxidases from primeval forest with application in environmental biotechnologies
Hybridné hémové peroxidázy húb z pralesa s využitím v environmentálnych biotechnológiách
Program: SRDA
Project leader: Mgr. Adamčík Slavomír PhD.
Annotation:Hybrid heme peroxidases (EC 1.11.1.7) are newly discovered specific oxidoreductases capable of cleaving reactive peroxide bonds in inorganic as well as organic compounds. Concomitantly to this cleavage they oxidize mainly organic compounds forming radical products that can enter polymerization reactions. Over 260 complete sequences from various regions of whole genome DNA were discovered. After their RNA splicing and translation in corresponding protein sequences they exhibit a high level of conservation. So far they were discovered solely in the kingdom of fungi. According to their typical essential sequence patterns responsible for heme binding they all belong to the large peroxidase-catalase superfamily couting currently over 41000 representatives from prokaryotes and eukaryotes. With their catalytic activity hybrid peroxidases represent efficient extracellular enzymatic antioxidants with broad application in defence against toxic effects of the oxidative stress. Recently, their expression and function was described in phytopathogenic fungi. The objective of our proposed project is the discovery of complete DNA gene clusters, corresponding mRNA transcripts and translated secreted isozymes of hybrid heme peroxidases among non-pathogenic fungi isolated from unique primeval forest biotopes of Slovakia. Our goal is to obtain a stable level of expression for selected recombinant hybrid peroxidases with highest level of catalytic efficiency typical for this subfamily. We aim to purify sufficient amounts of this unique enzymatic antioxidants to allow the resolution of 3D structure from produced protein crystals. This shall lead to the explanation of their peculiar reactivity on the base of structure-function relationships in the conserved catalytic centre. No such crystal structure for any hybrid peroxidases is known yet so its availability for unique peroxidases from primeval forest biotopes will allow great future applications in green biotechnologies.
Duration: 1.7.2021 - 30.6.2025
Hydrolytic enzymes of carnivorous plants and their potential for application in biotechnology
Hydrolytické enzýmy mäsožravých rastlín a ich potenciál pre biotechnologické využitie
Program: VEGA
Project leader: Ing. Libantová Jana CSc.
Annotation:The genus Drosera L. represents more than 250 species of carnivorous plants with leaves adapted to capture insects, digest them, and absorb the nutrients. The genomes of individual species, including the genes involved in digestion have been poorly explored so far. Chitinases and ß-1,3-glucanases are believed to play important role in developmental processes, responses to stress as well as during the insect prey digestion. Previously we have isolated two genes encoding chitinase and ß-1,3-glucanase from Drosera binata. Here, we focus on the isolation of reference genes from this species and revealing expression profiles for chitinase and ß-1,3-glucanase genes in individual organs, upon stress and during digestion. Purified enzymes will be tested on their ability to inhibit the growth of phytopathogens and to hydrolyse different substrates. Following the enzyme hydrolysis the size of products will be determined. This way potential of these genes for application in biotechnology and pharmacy will be explored.
Duration: 1.1.2020 - 31.12.2023
Chronic ionizing radiation compromises resistance to pests in wild aquatic plants: Discovery and validation of biochemical mechanisms
Chronické ionizujúce žiarenie narúša odolnosť vodných rastlín voči škodcom: Štúdium a validácia biochemických mechanizmov
Program: SRDA
Project leader: Mgr. Danchenko Maksym PhD.
Annotation:Most environmental pollutants, including radionuclides, are persistent; thus, they chronically influence plants. Ionizing radiation is a ubiquitous stress factor with unclear consequences of prolonged exposure to low doses. One plausible mechanism of damage to cellular biomolecules is mediated through reactive oxygen species. Inspired by encouraging preliminary data in legume crop on differentially abundant proteins involved in defense responses and non-systematic field observations of increased infestation of the wild aquatic plant by mites, we propose this original research. The central hypothesis of the project is compromised phytoimmunity through oxidative damage of regulatory proteins in aquatic plants, particularly common reed (Phragmites australis), naturally grown in contaminated lakes of the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Upon initial verification of preliminary field data with laboratory bioassays, we will discover biochemical mechanisms by front-end proteomics. In parallel, we will explore the most common modifications of proteins during oxidative imbalance—carbonylations. Findings from the screening stage will be validated using targeted enzymatic, immunolocalization, and gene expression assays. Essentially, the unbiased approach of this proposal might close the intriguing knowledge gap in fundamental radiobiology and produce relevant practical knowledge for the monitoring or potential use of contaminated lakes. This project will enable the establishing of an independent research group of the Principal Investigator and starting a collaboration between sufficiently equipped academic laboratories with complementary expertise.
Duration: 1.8.2021 - 30.6.2025
The mechanism of positional signalling in plants – understanding of the DEK1 pathway
Mechanizmus pozičnej signalizácie v rastlinách - pochopenie DEK1 dráhy
Program: SRDA
Project leader: doc. RNDr. Jásik Ján DrSc.
Annotation:Positional signalling plays instrumental role during plant growth and development. Positional cues control what type of cell will form (cell fate determination) and how big the cell will grow (cell expansion). Genetic studies identified membrane-anchored calpain protease DEFECTIVE KERNEL 1 (DEK1) as an essential regulator of plant growth and development. Our hypothesis is that DEK1 evolved both sensory and effector functions to control robust morphogenetic outputs such as cell expansion, asymmetric cell division and cell fate determination in response to local positional cues. The exact mechanism of DEK1 activation and signal transmission is unknown. Another crucial missing piece in our understanding of DEK1-mediated signaling is the identity of DEK1 molecular targets. In this project we aim to validate putative DEK1 substrate(s) and interacting partners, functionally characterize the role of phosphorylation in DEK1 activation and continue our efforts to solve the DEK1 3D structure. The project builds on published and recent unpublished work of the principal investigator and his collaborators. Unraveling the mechanism of DEK1 action will shed light on one of the key principles of developmental control in plants with broad implications for biotechnology and agriculture.
Duration: 1.8.2018 - 30.6.2022
The microbial diversity and secondary metabolites in traditional Slovak cheeses
Mikrobiálna diverzita a sekundárne metabolity prítomné v tradičných slovenských syroch
Program: VEGA
Project leader: Mgr. Mikušová Petra PhD.
Annotation:Dairy products play an important role in nutrition and require permanent monitoring of microbial contamination. This is due to toxic metabolites produced mainly by microscopic fungi pose a health risk to the consumer. Actual, routine monitoring of cheeses is focused only on regulated AFM1. The aim of this project is to expand and deepen knowledge about the diversity of microcenosis, as well as the detection of their metabolites present in cheeses. Should we not find out the current situation in Slovakia, also on the basis of scientific works, which informs about new metabolites as well as new species of microscopic fungi in dairy products such as cheese? From this point of view, scientific questions concerning the presence of undesirable secondary metabolites in cheeses, their quantity as well as the precise identification of their potential producers are highly important.
Duration: 1.1.2021 - 31.12.2024
Morpho-physiological, genetic and biochemical response of amaranth (Amaranthus spp.) to heavy metal stress
Morfo-fyziologická, genetická a biochemická odpoveď rastlín láskavca (Amaranthus spp.) na stres vyvolaný ťažkými kovmi
Program: VEGA
Project leader: Ing. Hricová Andrea PhD.
Annotation:Heavy metal accumulation cause in plant tissue serious biochemical, physiological, and morphological abnormalities and may interfere with crop productivity. The project aims at morpho-physiological, genetic, and biochemical responses of the grain amaranth (Amaranthus spp.) to heavy metal exposure, whereby able to deliver a valuable information about their phytoextraction potential and the reference to the impact of metals on bio-organics and nutritional quality. Moreover, gene expression analyses of amaranth genes already known to be responders to different abiotic stress types in response to heavy metal stress will contribute to understanding heavy metals-regulated gene expression and regulatory networks. The possible temporary endophytic bacterial diversity changes subjected to heavy metals will be assessed through metagenomic approach.
Duration: 1.1.2019 - 31.12.2021
NGS data in aquatic animal taxonomy: new approaches to researching the diversity of aquatic beetles in a time of massive global insect decline
NGS dáta v taxonómii vodných živočíchov: nové postupy vo výskume diverzity vodných chrobákov v čaase drastického celosvetového úbytku hmyzu
Program: VEGA
Project leader: RNDr. Čiampor Fedor PhD.
Annotation:According to the latest information, we are possibly facing massive insect extinction, which may have catastrophic consequences for humans. Aquatic insects, inevitable for freshwater ecosystems functioning, are also critically endangered, but we do not know its real diversity and are thus not capable of effective protection. To improve this, we need better data and innovate approaches in the biodiversity research. This project is focused on the world's diversity of water beetles, and will be based on the already stored and newly collected (mainly in tropical regions) material. The main goal is to significantly improve knowledge of the diversity of studied taxa and contribute to their protection by combining standard (morphology, DNA barcoding), and High Throughput Sequencing. The project's innovation is in the use of DNA metabarcoding adjusted for taxonomy purposes. Expected outputs are new taxa, reference barcodes database and estimate of the trends in the evolution of the aquatic beetles diversity.
Duration: 1.1.2020 - 31.12.2023
Barley root responses to heavy metals: defense or toxicity. Chemical biology approach
Odpovede koreňov jačmeňa na ťažké kovy: obrana alebo toxicita. Aplikácia metód chemickej biológie
Program: VEGA
Project leader: Tamás Ladislav
Annotation:Adaptation of plants to the ever-changing environment requires the integration of many endogenous ontogenic and exogenous environmental signals. Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and phytohormones are the central components of this integration process regulating plant development and stress responses. In addition, components of the same as well as the distinct signaling pathways intensively interact among themselves. In order to gain more insight into the role of these signaling pathways in the response of barley root to stress conditions, the aim of the present project is the analysis of function of some specific signaling components in stress responses, using chemical biology, a new and powerful approaches, to unravel mechanisms of plant adaptation processes. Using small synthetic bioactive molecules for blocking the specific components of stress responses could uncover the function of physiological and biochemical processes in the toxicity and defense responses of roots to heavy metals.
Duration: 1.1.2020 - 21.12.2023
Islands of continental saline vegetation in temperate Europe – what they have in common and in what they differ?
Ostrovy vnútrozemskej slanomilnej vegetácie v temperátnej zóne Európy – čo ich spája a čo delí?
Program: VEGA
Project leader: RNDr. Dítě Daniel PhD.
Annotation:The project is aimed to study inland saline vegetation of temperate Europe. We expand our study area into 11 regions where saline vegetation occurs, from central Germany to the Transylvanian Basin and Harghita Mountains in Romania. We focus on the complex study of relevant abiotic (especially climate, soil characteristics, land use) and biotic factors that determine the optimal conditions and surviving potential of halophytes and their plant communities. The groundwork of the analyzes will be a list of obligatory and facultative halophytes recorded in each region and their habitat linkage throughout the individual islands of halophytic vegetation. We also summarize the results of vegetation development of 9 halophytic sites within the Podunajská nížina lowland in Slovakia. 64 permanent plots were established with different sizes and under several forms of management in order to evaluate the success of restoration techniques as topsoil removal and re-introduction of grazing.
Duration: 1.1.2020 - 31.12.2023
Potential of silicon for mitigation of arsenic and antimony toxicity in agricultural crops
Potenciál kremíka na zmiernenie toxicity arzénu a antimónu pri kultúrnych rastlinách
Program: SRDA
Project leader: RNDr. Luxová Miroslava CSc.
Annotation:Contamination by arsenic (As) and antimony (Sb) is not only a serious environmental problem in highly-industrialized countries of the world, however also in Slovakia, mainly due to mining and power industry. The sites contaminated by these elements can be found across the whole Slovakia, from Malé Karpaty Mountains, Horná Nitra region, Liptov region to surrounding of Košice city in east Slovakia. As and Sb belong to toxic and dangerous elements for all living organisms. Despite an intensive research in the last years there is still only limited knowledge about the effect and phytotoxicity of As and Sb, and especially on interaction of toxic (As, Sb) and beneficial (Si) metalloids in plants what is the research aspect of this project. Therefore, the main aim of this project is to obtain a complex characterization of beneficial effects of Si on toxicity of individual elements and their combination on molecular-biological, biochemical, anatomical-morphological and physiological level. As a model object, important agricultural crops will be investigated.
Duration: 1.8.2018 - 30.6.2022
The origin of polyploid complexes: the role of polyploidization, geographical and ecological isolation
Pôvod polyploidných komplexov: úloha polyploidizácie a geografickej a ekologickej izolácie
Program: SRDA
Project leader: prof. RNDr. Marhold Karol DrSc.
Annotation:The main topics of the proposed project are microevolutionary and speciation processes in diploid-polyploid complexes belonging to the Brassicaceae family. Speciation both at the diploid and polyploid levels will be examined, elucidating the role of genome merge and duplication, geographical and ecological separation. The questions addressed have broader relevance, beyond the studied genera, and the answers can help us better understand processes underlying polyploid speciation as such. The methods applied in this project will include both conventional molecular systematics markers, as well as methods based on the Next Generation Sequencing (NGS), namely restriction site associated DNA sequencing (RAD-seq) and combination of target enrichment of low-copy nuclear genes and genome skimming (Hyb-seq). Using the multi-marker approach we expect to gain deeper insights into the studied species complexes and increased robustness of the results. As a complement, flow-cytometric, morphometric, and ecological and climatic niche analyses will be employed. In order to achieve these goals we have chosen four genera from three different tribes of the Brassicaceae family (Alysseae [Alyssum, Odontarrhena], Camelineae [Arabidopsis], Cardamineae [Cardamine]), representing different evolutionary lineages in this family. We will take the advantage of the wealth of methods that are available for and already tested in the closely related genus Arabidopsis, our previous long-term experience with the proposed study genera, and also previously collected plant material.
Duration: 1.8.2018 - 31.7.2022
Towards a sustainable forest management: muLti-taxa and multiscale biOdiveRsIty response to the treE plaNtation
Smerom k udržateľnému manažmentu lesa: odpovede biodiverzity na pestovanie monokultúr naprieč viacerými taxonomickými skupinami a škálami
Program: VEGA
Project leader: RNDr. Šibík Jozef PhD.
Annotation:In almost all European forests their land-use history is deeply embedded with a variety of effects on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. The majority of indicators of sustainable forest management are derived from information traditionally collected for timber production assessment, lacking meaningful biodiversity information. To understand multiple interactions between organisms and their environment, the main goal is to investigate the biodiversity responses to impacts of non-native forest plantations compared to native forest stands. Based on twin plot-method, multiscale relationships between multi-taxa biodiversity, structure and management will be analysed using five groups: plants, mites, spiders, saproxylic fauna and birds, providing an innovative perspective based on structured biodiversity information. This study could fill a critical gap in the understanding of complex biodiversity responses to forest management and may help to overcome sectoral biases on the local, regional or national scale.
Duration: 1.1.2021 - 31.12.2024
Tree and country – influence of trees on diversity of soil microorganisms in agricultural land
Strom a krajina – vplyv drevín na diverzitu pôdnych mikroorganizmov v poľnohospodárskej krajine
Program: SRDA
Project leader: Mgr. Adamčík Slavomír PhD.
Annotation:Solitary tree standing out of continual forest vegetation has well-known positive and negative impacts on grasslands and arable cultures. Close vicinity of tree causes light and wind interception resulting in change of herbal diversity of grasslands or inhibited growth of crop plants in arable agricultures. Positive influences of tree presence are local enhancing of biological diversity associated with improved ecosystem function. Soil fertility, stability of ecosystem and sustainable land management essentially depends on soil quality. Soil microorganisms are very susceptible to changes in soil characteristics and play the fundamental role in nutrient recycling and stability of ecosystem. Changes in microbial communities connected to presence of trees are underexplored but very actual with current effort to improve landscape structure. Trees are associated with specific groups of fungi; among them are highlighted ectomycorrhizal fungi. Soil of semi-natural grasslands is often dominated by probably biothrophic basidiomycetes and ascomycetes known as CHEGD fungi. In arable soils, special importance is attributed to arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and presence of parasitic fungi. This project aims to study representation of fungi with symbiotic, saprophytic, parasitic or other trophic guilds resulted from interaction of tree presence in agricultural land. In addition, we will evaluate selected abiotic and biotic soil characteristics to estimate changes in functional diversity. Project uses advances methods in sequencing of environmental DNA, soil analyses and computer modelling of special influence of ecological factors.
Duration: 1.7.2021 - 30.6.2025
Worlds in a world - from microcosms to ecosystems
Svet vo svete - od mikrokozmov k ekosystémom
Program: VEGA
Project leader: RNDr. Svitková Ivana PhD.
Annotation:A good model system for ecological studies can be distinguished by low spatial variability (high replicabilty) and low stochasticity (high predictability). Aquatic ecosystems in phytotelmata are generally considered as excellent model systems to address various ecological theories (e.g., dynamics of metapopulations and metacommunities, island biogeography, food-web interactions). In temperate Europe, only small number of plant species exhibit morphological structures that would be able to hold water long enough to provide suitable conditions for development of aquatic communities, teasels (Dipsacus fullonum) being one of them. Beside some rather faunistic notes, very little is known about the ecosystem functioning in phytotelmata. Aims of the proposed project are to validate eligibility of phytotelmata as model systems, and to evaluate how the ongoing processes in phytotelmata affect the fitness of the whole teasel plants, what in turn can affect the character of a whole plant community itself.
Duration: 1.1.2020 - 31.12.2023
Systematics and phylogeny of the genus Dermoloma in Europe and North America
Systematika a fylogenéza rodu Dermoloma v Európe a Severnej Amerike
Program: VEGA
Project leader: Mgr. Adamčík Slavomír PhD.
Annotation:Dermoloma is insufficiently known genus of basidiomycetes classified in the order Agaricales (Agaricomycotina). More than 30 species are described worldwide, but only few of them are generally accepted. Opinions about morphological delimitation and number of the species are very variable in the current literature. Traditionally, up to eight species are recognised, although more than 30 European species were described. Our preliminary phylogenetic study suggest existence of more than 25 molecular operation units in Europe that probably represent independent species. Aim of the project is to define European and North American Dermoloma species by means of molecular and morphological methods and to assign them correct names. Fungi of the genus Dermoloma are essential part of grassland ecosystems and accordingly this project will deal with studies of environmental soil samples. We will look for suitable metabarcode for identification of species using next generation sequencing (metagenomics).
Duration: 1.1.2018 - 31.12.2021
Taxonomy of families Elmidae, Protelmidae and Dryopidae (Insecta: Coleoptera)
Taxonómia čeľadí Elmidae, Protelmidae a Dryopidae
Program: VEGA
Project leader: RNDr. Čiampor Fedor PhD.
Annotation:Beetles of the families Elmidae, Protelmidae and Dryopidae are adapted with their morphology and physiology primarily to life in the aquatic environment. Rather exceptionally are some Dryopidae from the wet tropics terrestrial (e.g. Sostea, Geoparnus, Spalacosostea, Monstrosostea).
The biodiversity of these groups and their evolutionary history are still poorly known, despite their almost cosmopolitan distribution and great importance in eco-environmental research. This project deals with taxonomy and reconstruction of phylogeny of studied beetles by a complex molecular-morphological approach. It is focused on the systematic position of the questionable and newly described taxa, and recognition of evolutionary patterns in the phylogeny of Elmidae, Protelmidae and Dryopidae.
Duration: 1.1.2019 - 31.12.2022
Traditional ecological knowledge for grassland conservation and restoration
Tradičné ekologické poznatky pre ochranu a obnovu travinno-bylinných biotopov
Program: VEGA
Project leader: Mgr. Janišová Monika PhD.
Annotation:Recent crisis in biodiversity conservation of high nature value grasslands and failures of the Common Agriculture Policy of the EU ask for new effective solutions. Semi-natural grasslands evolved through a long-lasting low-intensity human land use, thus their biodiversity can be most effectively preserved by simulation of traditional agricultural practices. In the project we focus on a detail analysis of grassland phytodiversity in close relation with its historical development and traditional land use. The regions of the Eastern and Central Europe with well maintained traditional rural culture belong to the key study areas. Obtaining of high-value biological, ecological and ethnological data on the selected sites should guarantee the proper interpretation of the gathered traditional ecological knowledge. This can become a valuable scientific material for future adjustment of socio-political mechanisms in the realm of grassland conservation and restoration and sustainable land use.
Duration: 1.1.2019 - 31.12.2022
The role of silicon in metabolic and biochemical processes of plants exposed to stress induced by toxic and potentially toxic elements
Úloha kremíka v metabolických a biochemických procesoch rastlín vystavených stresu z toxických a potenciálne toxických prvkov
Program: VEGA
Project leader: RNDr. Fialová Ivana PhD.
Annotation:Contamination of soil and water with heavy metals and metalloids is a worldwide problem today. The beneficial effect of silicon for optimal plant performance and agricultural crops exposed to various types of abiotic stress (studied in our previous projects) have been reported by several authors, though the mechanism of its action is still not fully understood. The aim of the project is to study the mechanisms of action of exogenously applied silicon on the defense responses of the selected cultivars of maize (or other crops - wheat and sunflower) exposed to toxic (As, Sb) and potentially toxic (in excess) essential elements (Cu) on metabolic and biochemical levels. We will focus on growth, physiological processes (membrane damage, water intake and release, etc.), changes in nitrogen metabolism and its possible connection with antioxidant mechanisms (glutathione-ascorbate cycle), as well as non-enzymatic and enzymatic components of the antioxidant defense system in individual organs of experimental plants.
Duration: 1.1.2021 - 31.12.2024
Aliens among us: Spatio-temporal dynamics of plant invasions and their adverse impact on ecosystem
Votrelci medzi nami: Časovo-priestorová dynamika rastlinných invázií a ich nepriaznivý dopad na ekosystémy
Program: SRDA
Project leader: Ing. Hrivnák Richard PhD.
Annotation:Plant invasions are an ongoing process threatening biodiversity at the species, habitat and landscape levels. The unique composition of alien flora at a regional level is mainly influenced by climate and cultural factors. The proposed project focuses on the environmental background of plant invasions in Slovakia (covers a substantial part of the Western Carpathians and an adjacent part of the Pannonia) which has been studied in this region only marginally so far. Dynamics of plant invasions will be studied in riparian vegetation along rivers that play a dominant role in the natural spreading of invasive plants. Using time series of vegetation, seed bank, and soil properties, we will reveal spatio-temporal changes in riparian ecosystems which will be further linked with environmental and human factors. Based on field and revised herbarium data, we will reveal the ecological demands of model invasive plant groups (Fallopia japonica agg. and Solidago canadensis agg.) and estimate their potential distribution under current and future climate conditions. An integrative approach will be used to study the impact of plant invasions on semi-natural grasslands which represent the most invaded non-anthropogenic habitats in Slovakia. We will compare multiple-taxa diversity (plants, bryophytes, fungi - by environmental DNA sequencing, molluscs and soil invertebrates) in non-invaded plots and in plots invaded by F. japonica agg. or S. canadensis agg. Further analyses of soil properties, seed bank, microbial activity, and fungal trophic structure will shed light on changes of belowground ecosystem processes at studied plots. We will also conduct a field experiment to study the impact of invasive plants on the decomposition of leaf litter. Such a study with exceptionally broad coverage of taxonomic and methodological approaches will provide a unique look at the plant invasion process and enable us to reveal, besides general trends, also species or group-specific patterns
Duration: 1.7.2020 - 30.6.2024
The impact of hybridisation on diversification and speciation processes in Carpathian members of the genus Soldanella
Vplyv hybridizácie na diverzifikačné a speciačné procesy u Karpatských zástupcov rodu Soldanella
Program: VEGA
Project leader: Mgr. Slovák Marek PhD.
Annotation:The project addresses the impact of hybridization on the diversification and overall demographic structure of mountain-dwelling species of the genus Soldanella. The study design is focused on species occupying the genus diversity centre, specifically mountain regions of the Carpathians and adjacent areas (Bohemian Massif, NE Alps and east Balkan mountain ranges). To resolve proposed questions, we will employ a combination of modern methods and analytical tools including novel genomic approaches such as the RAD sequencing, karyological, cytogenetic, morphological and ecological analyses. Outcomes of the project will enable to uncover frequency and intensity of gene flow among studied taxa and specify factors and processes which have triggered or prevented hybridization (introgression) among pairs of closely and more distantly related species. We should also elucidate whether hybridisation contributed to the accumulation of novel lineages and facilitated speciation events in the genus.
Duration: 1.1.2019 - 31.12.2022
Changes in biodiversity in an urban fragmented landscape
Zmeny biodiverzity v urbánne fragmentovanej krajine
Program: VEGA
Project leader: Ing. Čejka Tomáš PhD.
Annotation:The project deals with changes in biodiversity in an urban environment in two ways: in the space (ecological gradients, fragmentation of habitats) and time (historical data). For study, we chose two ecologically linked model groups: vascular plants and land snails. Based on the research of these model organisms, we will solve five main points: [1] How the urban fragmented woodland fits principles of the island biogeography and what is the impact of the fragmentation and env. variables on the biota structure and variability. [2] Whether and to what extent the genetic diversity of the populations of selected model species varies in long-term continuously forested areas comparing the neorefugia; [3] How the urban environment impacts in time and space on the diversity of indigenous species; [4] On the basis of the theory of refugia verify what is the ecol.l traits structure of biota in the remains of forest vegetation; [5] Whether biotic homogenization occurs and which groups of biota are most affected by biotic homogenisation.
Duration: 1.1.2018 - 31.12.2021

The total number of projects: 35