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Project

Plant Science and Biodiversity Center SAS

International Projects

Tracking the effects of the whole-genome multiplication on clonal reproduction in plants

Aký dopad má celogenómová multiplikácia na klonálne rozmnožovanie rastlín?

Duration: 1. 1. 2021 - 31. 12. 2022
Program: Open Mobility
Project leader: RNDr. Šingliarová Barbora PhD.
Annotation:Polyploidy, the state when organism posses three or more haploid sets of chromosomes, is a widespread phenomenon generating evolutionary innovations in angiosperms. However, initially neopolyploids originating via the whole genome multiplication within one species (autopolyploids) suffer by reduced fitness compared to diploid ancestors due to disturbed meiosis and negative effects of majority-minority cytotype interactions. Enhanced clonal reproduction might increase chances for successful establishment and thus evolution of neopolyploids. It is largely unknown whether polyploidization is a cause or consequence of increased clonal growth, what the underlying factors are and what is the ecological impact of such a shift in reproduction between closely related cytotypes. In this project we use diploid – autopolyploid Pilosella rhodopea occuring in Balkan mountain ranges as a model species and a combination of field, experimental and anatomical approaches to tackle these issues. Our project will help understand effects of autopolyploidization on evolution of new reproductive traits in angiosperms.

FULLRECO4US - Cross-border transfer and development of sustainable resource recovery strategies towards zero waste

Cezhraničný prenos a rozvoj stratégií trvalo udržateľného využívania zdrojov smerom k nulovému odpadu

Duration: 28. 9. 2021 - 27. 9. 2025
Program: COST
Project leader: Ing. Hricová Andrea PhD.
Annotation:Waste is being generated as a result of population growth, industrialization, and improvement of human standard of living. In the absence of efficient waste management systems, waste ends in landfills and in the environment (through informal discharges) leading to pollution and to a linear economy. Due to increasing awareness of the deleterious effects on the environment and human health, policies are being gradually implemented to motivate a mindset shift from linear to circular (bio)economies and decouple economic growth from use of resources. Full waste recycling and valorization will play a crucial role in the establishment of sustainable circular (bio)economies. Although waste recycling and valorization strategies have started to be implemented across borders within Europe, their implementation level is not homogenous and harmonization is needed. FULLRECO4US is an answer to this need and will function as a discussion platform centred on holistic approaches to waste recycling and valorization, and on the development of new cross-border interdisciplinary and intersectoral networks. These networks, in turn, will cooperate in the development of feasible and environmentally-friendly resource recovery approaches that can be translated into, e.g., competitive research funding applications and contribute to building research and innovation capacity within Europe and beyond. FULLRECO4US will include a set of networking activities such as Short-Term Scientific Missions, Workshops, Conference and Symposium attendance, supported by Working Groups focused on genesis of holistic approaches for waste recycling and valorization, engagement of stakeholders, and on dissemination and communication of Action’s results to enhance impact, consensus, and harmonization of newly built strategies.
Project web page:https://www.cost.eu/actions/CA20133/

DiSSCo Prepare - Distributed System of Scientific Collections – Preparatory Phase Project

Distribuovaný systém vedeckých zbierok – prípravná fáza

Duration: 1. 2. 2020 - 31. 1. 2023
Program: Horizont 2020
Project leader: prof. RNDr. Marhold Karol DrSc.
Annotation:The premise of the project of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures ESFRI – DiSSCo is the fact the European natural history collections comprise approx. 1.5 billion biological and geological objects, which represents approx. 55 % of the world collections and documents approx. 80 % of known current and past biological and geological diversity on the Earth. The aim of the project is to prepare pan European distributed system of interconnected natural history collections. The current state of affairs, when collections are fragmented and information about them are mostly not digitized should be changed into integrated data pan European infrastructure. As part of the Slovak participation in this infrastructure, we expect in long term, depending on the extent of national funding provided to this ESFRI project, digitalisation of all botanical, mycological and zoological collections in our country. We expect also digitalisation of existing literature records on the distribution of plants, fungi and animals in Slovakia that are currently mostly available in analogue form only.
Project web page:https://www.dissco.eu/prepare/

Genome editing in plants - a technology with transformative potential

Editovanie genómu rastlín - technológia s transformatívnym potenciálom

Duration: 25. 4. 2019 - 24. 4. 2023
Program: COST
Project leader: Ing. Jopčík Martin PhD.
Annotation:A great challenge of this century is to provide adequate nutrition for an increasing global population while developing a more socially, economically and environmentally sustainable agriculture that counters climate change, biodiversity loss and degradation of arable land. Plant research and breeding are very important in meeting this challenge. Building on scientific progress, a number of genome editing techniques have been developed over the past two decades allowing an unprecedented level of precision in our control over genetic material and its corresponding traits. This COST Action will bring together expertise from a range of disciplines to evaluate plant genome editing techniques and their resulting products from various perspectives. The findings will serve to design a roadmap for directing and facilitating applications of genome editing in plant research and breeding, which in turn will help setting R&D priorities and stimulating further cross-national and cross-disciplinary collaborations.
Project web page:https://www.cost.eu/actions/CA18111/#tabs|Name:overview

EPI-CATCH - EPIgenetic mechanisms of Crop Adaptation To Climate cHange

Epigenetické mechanizmy adaptácie plodín na klimatickú zmenu

Duration: 17. 9. 2020 - 16. 9. 2024
Program: COST
Project leader: Ing. Lancíková Veronika PhD.
Annotation:The ultimate objective of this proposed COST action is to define, develop, generate and share new breaking knowledge and methodologies for the investigation of epigenetic mechanisms modulating plant adaptation to environmental stresses driven by climate change. So far, no international network has been created with the aim of standardizing methodology in plant epigenetics/epigenomics and better integrate these data with other “omic” approaches. EPI-CATCH will create a pan-European framework for networking in this under-investigated research field. This COST Action will use a unique cross-disciplinary approach that brings together industrial developers, molecular geneticists, molecular biologists, crop breeders, agronomists, plant pathologists, and bioinformaticians. EPI-CATCH will explore new frontiers on both innovative and translational research targeting the new challenges in plant epigenetics. Four main specific objectives will be addressed by four working groups : 1) update of the most recent findings in crop epigenomics related to climate change, 2) development of new concepts and approaches in crop epigenetics and epigenomics that can be transferable in other living organisms, 3) establishment of common standardized pipelines, methods and workflows for generation, analysis and interpretation of epigenetic/epigenomic data, 4) an intense output dissemination and training for early-career scientists. The methodologies, concepts and ideas developed by EPI-CATCH will assist stakeholders to develop future innovative technologies to enhance environmental sustainability of agriculture in a rapid climate change scenario.
Project web page:https://www.cost.eu/actions/CA19125/#tabs|Name:overview

COST ETN - The European Aquatic Animal Tracking Network

Európska sieť na sledovanie akvatických živočíchov

Duration: 1. 4. 2019 - 31. 3. 2023
Program: COST
Project leader: Mgr. Pekárik Ladislav PhD.
Annotation:Telemetry is a commonly applied method to investigate the ecology and movement behaviour of aquatic species in relation to their environment. It provides a scientific basis for management and conservation and has significantly improved our understanding of ecosystem functioning and dynamics. More specifically, telemetry provides valuable data that can be used in many policies and directives. As a result, large scale nationally and regionally managed initiatives were implemented around the globe in recent years. Although there is a large and growing number of researchers in Europe using biotelemetry to study aquatic animals and answer management-related questions, there is a stringent lack of in-field telemetry collaborations in Europe. This situation represents a substantial loss of opportunities for: scientific excellence, funding opportunities and competitivity of European SME on the international biotelemetry market. With this COST Action, we want to close this gap and the overarching objective is to ensure a transition from a loosely-coordinated set of existing regional telemetry initiatives to a sustainable, efficient, and integrated pan-European biotelemetry network embedded in the international context of already existing initiatives. This will be achieved through working group meetings, workshops, training courses and scientific missions focused on: 1) Implementing a centralised European database, requirements and policy mapped to the data standards of existing international biotelemetry data systems, 2) improve the usefulness and inter-applicability of currently available technology and foster technological advancements, 3) promoting the establishment of key telemetry infrastructure and research on key species, and 4) provide continuous training opportunities and disseminate knowledge to the stakeholders' community.
Project web page:http://www.lifewatch.be/etn/

COPYTREE - European Network for Innovative Woody Plant Cloning

Európska sieť pre inovatívne klonovanie drevín

Duration: 24. 10. 2022 - 23. 10. 2026
Program: COST
Project leader: Mgr. Perniš Miroslav PhD.
Annotation:In vitro culture of woody plants is leaving the academic laboratories and is now being developed in a range of commercial applications in horticulture and forestry that respond to the challenges of climate change and changing global food and wood consumption habits. It is therefore urgent that the research challenges, public acceptance, risk assessment and commercial application are confronted now in order to establish a well informed scientific community, policy makers and market place. This proposal concerns the following challenges, whose solution will have a significant scientific, social and economic impact: How can we overcome recalcitrance in a lot of woody plants? What are the best tools for diagnosis, sanitation and storing clean stocks? How can the production of elite clones be scaled up at a acceptable price? What are the real risks of this technology and how can the public be informed so that they appreciate and accept the applications ? How can foresters and landowners be persuaded to invest in planting poly-clonal forests? Taking these aspects into account, it seems more than urgent to us to set up a European network to connect the researchers involved from various domains, so that they can share innovations and develop new research strategies, assess the risks of the technology and improve communication with stakeholders and the general public.
Project web page:https://www.cost.eu/actions/CA21157/

ELTtoEFDi - Evolutionary legacy of the Turkish flora and its influence on formation of the European plant diversity: Evidence from genome to ecology

Evolučné dedičstvo tureckej flóry a jej vplyv na formovanie diverzity rastlín v Európe: od genómu až k ekologickým vzťahom

Duration: 1. 7. 2021 - 30. 6. 2024
Program: JRP
Project leader: prof. RNDr. Marhold Karol DrSc.
Annotation:xx

Ex situ conservation of conifer tree species using in vitro cultures and cryopreservation techniques - in the frame of An integrated approach to conservation of threatened plants for the 21st Century

Ex situ konzervácia druhov ihličnatých drevín použitím in vitro kultúr a kryokonzervačných techník - v rámci projektu Integrovaný prístup konzervácie ohrozených rastlín pre 21. storočie

Duration: 15. 10. 2019 - 14. 10. 2023
Program: COST
Project leader: RNDr. Salaj Terézia DrSc.
Annotation:The overarching aim of this Action is to improve plant conservation in Europe through the establishment of a network of scientists and other stakeholders who deal with different aspects of plant conservation, from plant taxonomy, ecology, conservation genetics, conservation physiology and reproductive biology to protected area's managers. The aim of research group at IPGB PSBC SAS is the study of somatic embryogenesis, including initiation of the process, maturation as well as plantlet regeneration in Pinus nigra, Abies alba and Abies hybrids. The study will be focused on physiological, biochemical as well as structural aspects, important for understanding of the mechanism underlying somatic embryogenesis. For cryopreservation of embryogenic tissue the slow-freezing method, suitable for unorganised cell and tissue cultures, will be used.
Project web page:https://www.cost.eu/actions/CA18201

An integrated approach to conservation of threatened plants for the 21st Century

Integrovaný prístup k ochrane ohrozených rastlín v 21. storočí

Duration: 15. 10. 2019 - 14. 10. 2023
Program: COST
Project leader: Mgr. Šibíková Mária PhD.
Project web page:https://www.cost.eu/actions/CA18201

PLANTMETALS - Trace metal metabolism in plants

Metabolizmus kovov v rastlinách

Duration: 8. 10. 2020 - 7. 10. 2024
Program: COST
Project leader: doc. RNDr. Vaculík Marek PhD.
Annotation:Many trace metals (TMs) (e.g. Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, Ni, Zn) are essential for organisms as active centres of enzymes, as about one third of all proteins are metalloproteins. Therefore, TM homeostasis in plants is at the core of many challenges currently facing agriculture and human societies. Low TM bioavailability in many soil types of large world areas causes a reduction in crop production and diminishes nutritional value of food. Some essential TMs (e.g. Cu) have narrow beneficial concentration ranges, while others (e.g. Cd, Hg) are usually only toxic, and in many areas of the world metal toxicity is a severe agricultural and environmental problem. For environmental risk assessment and remediation, as well as improved agriculture (targeted fertilisation and breeding), the mechanisms of TM uptake, distribution, speciation, physiological use, deficiency, toxicity and detoxification need to be better understood. This Action aims at elucidating them by the combined expertise of researchers (physiologists, (bio)physicists, (bio)(geo)chemists, molecular geneticists, ecologists, agronomists and soil scientists). It furthermore aims at making this knowledge applicable to the needs of farmers and consumers, with input from companies for translating laboratory results into applied products. This shall be done by integrated scientific, communication and dissemination activities, pooling together our research efforts. Regular meetings within and between the workgroups of this COST Action, training workshops for young scientists, as well as by technology transfer meetings will be organised in cooperation with the partner companies within the Action, as well as producers and merchants of micronutrient fertilisers.
Project web page:https://www.cost.eu/actions/CA19116/

SOURDOmiCS - SOURDOugh biotechnology network towards novel, healthier and sustainable food and bioprocesses

Network biotechnológie kvasných procesov smerom k novým, zdravším a udržateľným potravinám a bioprocesom

Duration: 10. 4. 2019 - 9. 10. 2023
Program: COST
Project leader: Ing. Hricová Andrea PhD.
Annotation:Traditional sourdough bread resorts to spontaneous fermentations leading to natural selections of microorganisms, mainly yeasts and lactic acid bacteria. Such microorganisms are essentially beneficial to humans and, concomitantly, inhibits propagation of undesirable microbiota. Sourdough fermentation was probably one of the first microbial processes employed by Man for food production and preservation. Sourdough bread stills widely manufactured at farm level across Europe and worldwide and is highly appreciated by consumers for its distinct flavour, texture and healthy attributes. Through a bottom-up approach, this COST Action network brings together a multidisciplinary group of scientists and SMEs/LEs dedicated for many decades to study cereals and sourdough technologies. In upstream, it aims at exploitation autochthonous (pseudo)cereals with good baking, nutritional and healthy attributes, while promoting a sustainable agriculture and preserving genetic diversity. Simultaneously, aims at contributing to develop new business opportunities to local farmers through their engagement into food processing with shared small-scale breadmaking facilities, and the integration into industrial and trade chains. Such features are in agreement with European Agenda for Food and Environment. In downstream, the biotechnological sourdough fermentation exploitation comprises several objectives: design starter cultures with a wide range of biotechnological applications; production of healthy and tasty varieties of bread, thus catalysing changes in consumers' diets and market orientations; production of high-added value metabolites resorting to sourdough microbiota; and valorisation of by-products from cereal production and sourdough technologies.
Project web page:https://www.cost.eu/actions/CA18101/#tabs|Name:overview

Network on water-energy-food Nexus for a low-carbon economy in Europe and beyond

Network voda-energia-potraviny „NEXUS“ pre nízkouhlíkovú ekonomiku v Európe a vo svete

Duration: 25. 5. 2021 - 24. 5. 2025
Program: COST
Project leader: Ing. Lancíková Veronika PhD.
Annotation:An international network of researchers is working with policymakers and the business sector to better understand how the water-energy-food Nexus fosters policy coherence in the domains of water, energy and food, supporting the transition towards a circular and low-carbon economy in Europe. Focus is on job creation, enhancing wellbeing and care for the environment. The Nexus concept is tested at different scales (i.e. local, regional, national, European), while the international dimension is explored through the involvement of international proposers. More Nexus-compliant practices are foreseen through a knowledge sharing hub at European level and beyond. Public-private initiatives pave the path for Nexus compliant practices, building on network members’ advice. NEXUSNET will deliver examples of nexus compliant decision making, and recommendations to best achieve them, to come-up with an overview of Good Nexus Practices in Europe (policy coherence, Nexus-compliant practices and more coherent nexus evaluations). Transdisciplinary approaches are adopted to test Nexus compliant practices with the involvement of relevant stakeholders, while interaction and engagement with current and finished Nexus-related projects will be pursued. Academic Nexus knowledge will be translated into practical and applicable knowledge for the private sector or policy makers. A series of intense knowledge transfer and dissemination actions are planned to ensure that the network will have a significant impact in Europe and beyond.

G-BIKE - Genomic biodiversity knowledge for resilient ecosystems

Poznanie genómovej biodiverzity pre odolné ekosystémy

Duration: 1. 3. 2019 - 31. 3. 2023
Program: COST
Project leader: RNDr. Čiampor Fedor PhD.
Annotation:In a rapidly changing environment the resilience of ecosystems depends ultimately on species adaptability. G-BIKE will enable standard and routine tools for assessing, monitoring and managing the genetic resilience and related adaptive potential of wild and captive populations. Although genetic data can be obtained for most organisms, the standardization of protocols for detecting and monitoring species’ genetic diversity, and their potential for adaptation, is still lacking. G-BIKE will assist scientists and practitioners across the EU and particularly in COST Inclusiveness Target Countries to integrate genetic and evolutionary knowledge into conservation planning policies, and to promote cross-border management and long term monitoring programs of evolutionary potential in order to ensure persistence of populations and species, and ultimately the continued supply of nature-based ecosystem services. Considering the drastic impacts of climate change during the coming decades, G-BIKE is especially urgent. The following aims will be accomplished by involving a balanced representation of scientists and practitioners from a diversity of countries: 1) clearly articulating for managers how genetic diversity can support ecosystems; 2) developing and testing best practice protocols for monitoring genetic diversity in time and space; 3) providing an online forum on emerging tools; 4) connecting all stakeholders through networking and training opportunities; 4) building a network of conservation genetics labs; 5) building a foundation for long term impact.
Project web page:https://www.cost.eu/actions/CA18134

ConservePlants - Biodiversity of temperate forest taxa orienting management sustainability by unifying perspectives

Zjednocujúci pohľad na udržateľný manažment druhovej diverzity lesov mierneho pásma

Duration: 13. 11. 2019 - 12. 11. 2023
Program: COST
Project leader: RNDr. Šibík Jozef PhD.
Annotation:The main aim and objective of the Action is to The Action challenge is to substantially increase the degree of management sustainability of European forest ecosystems in order to maintain their social, environmental and economic values in the long-term. It will be addressed by establishing a knowledge platform able to standardize and apply the existing information on forest biodiversity.
Project web page:https://www.cost.eu/actions/CA18207

National Projects

How environmental DNA (eDNA) reflects life in alpine lakes and their catchments: DNA metabarcoding in the Tatra lakes research

Ako environmentálna DNA (eDNA) odráža žvot v alpínskych jazerách a ich povodiach: DNA metabarkóding vo výskume tatranských plies

Duration: 1. 1. 2021 - 31. 12. 2024
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.

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

Duration: 1. 1. 2019 - 31. 12. 2022
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.

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

Duration: 1. 1. 2019 - 31. 12. 2022
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.

DD ChangE - Diversity and distribution of species and communities in changing environment

Diverzita a distribúcia druhov a spoločenstiev v meniacom sa prostredí

Duration: 1. 1. 2019 - 31. 12. 2022
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.

Diversity of urban biota in the Carpathian-Pannonian region

Diverzita bioty miest v karpatsko-panónskej oblasti

Duration: 1. 1. 2021 - 31. 12. 2024
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.

Diversity of grassland habitats in Slovakia after two decades in the EU

Diverzita lúčnych a pasienkových biotopov Slovenska po dvoch dekádach v Európskej únii

Duration: 1. 1. 2021 - 31. 12. 2024
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.

Diversity of plant understory of alder forests in the main bioregions of Central Europe

Diverzita rastlín jelšových lesov hlavných bioregiónov strednej Európy

Duration: 1. 1. 2019 - 31. 12. 2022
Program: VEGA
Project leader: Ing. Hrivnák Richard DrSc.
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.

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

Duration: 1. 1. 2021 - 31. 12. 2024
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.

Drive4SIFood - Demand-driven research for the sustainable and innovative food

Dopytovo orientovaný výskum pre udržateľné a inovatívne potraviny

Duration: 1. 9. 2020 - 30. 6. 2023
Program: Štrukturálne fondy EÚ Výskum a inovácie
Project leader: RNDr. Gajdošová Alena CSc.

MEADOW - Species-rich Carpathian grasslands: mapping, history, drivers of change and conservation

Druhovo bohaté lúky a pasienky Karpát: mapovanie, história, príčiny zmien a ochrana

Duration: 1. 7. 2022 - 30. 6. 2026
Program: APVV
Project leader: Mgr. Janišová Monika PhD.
Annotation:European agriculture is at a crossroads. Continuing the industrial intensification of agricultural production and the associated abandonment of marginal land equals continuing the direct negative environmental impacts on landscape quality and further loss of biodiversity. The second available option is adopting the quality of the landscape and its sustainability as essential criteria for optimization and management of agricultural production. The main aim of our transdisciplinary project is to support this second option with practical scientific knowledge on environmental and societal potentials regarding sustainable grassland management in the Carpathians using traditional agricultural practices, as well as on which social and institutional features might help embedding such management within the modern Slovak economy. The main objectives of the project are: 1) to identify and map biodiversity-rich grassland areas in the Carpathians and related local environmental and social factors; 2) identify and map areas with high environmental and social potential for successful grassland restoration in Slovakia; and 3) propose a national strategy for state and non-governmental support regarding ecological restoration, conservation and management of the identified grassland areas. We intend to reach such a comprehensive and practical understanding through a collaborative combination of the latest available earth observation data for the Carpathian region, analytical methods and tools, but also pioneering field research; all in parallel on behalf of the scientific fields of botany, ecology, geography, remote sensing and social anthropology. The planned outputs of the project – scientific studies and the proposal of a national strategy to support species-rich grasslands – can, in addition to direct use by contracted domestic recipient organisations (MoE SR and BROZ), also serve as a template for applied research focusing on ecological grassland restoration in Europe and beyond.

Evolutionary dynamics of the (Sub-)Mediterranean flora: uncovering causes of high species diversity in Alyssum and Odontarrhena (Brassicaceae)

Evolučná dynamika (sub)mediteránnej flóry: odhalenie príčin vysokej druhovej diverzity v rodoch Alyssum a Odontarrhena (Brassicaceae)

Duration: 1. 1. 2021 - 31. 12. 2024
Program: VEGA
Project leader: RNDr. Španiel Stanislav PhD.
Annotation:We will study evolution of species complexes from the genera Alyssum and Odontarrhena (tribe Alysseae, family Brassicaceae) focusing on diversity centres in the Mediterranean and adjacent mountain areas. We aim to elucidate evolutionary processes that have driven diversification and speciation of plants in this region, evaluating the roles of polyploidy, hybridization, ecological divergence and past range dynamics. Taxonomy of the studied complexes will also be revised. We will employ ploidy level screening by flow cytometry, DNA sequencing (both Sanger sequencing of target regions and high-throughput sequencing methods HybSeq and RADseq), ecological niche modelling, and morphometrics. We will update an online karyological and nomenclatural database of Alysseae (AlyBase), which is a useful tool for integrating taxonomic knowledge and research of this tribe. The project will contribute to better understanding of plant diversity and evolution in the (Sub-)Mediterannean area and its effective conservation.

Flora of Slovakia – Asteraceae family (Part 2): biosystematic study of critical taxa

Flóra Slovenska – čeľaď Asteraceae (2. časť): biosystematické štúdium kritických taxónov

Duration: 1. 1. 2021 - 31. 12. 2024
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).

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

Duration: 1. 1. 2020 - 31. 12. 2022
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.

FUNPOXHYB - Fungal hybrid heme peroxidases from primeval forest with application in environmental biotechnologies

Hybridné hémové peroxidázy húb z pralesa s využitím v environmentálnych biotechnológiách

Duration: 1. 7. 2021 - 30. 6. 2025
Program: APVV
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.

Hydrolytic enzymes of carnivorous plants and their potential for application in biotechnology

Hydrolytické enzýmy mäsožravých rastlín a ich potenciál pre biotechnologické využitie

Duration: 1. 1. 2020 - 31. 12. 2023
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.

AQUARAD - 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

Duration: 1. 8. 2021 - 30. 6. 2025
Program: APVV
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.

Chronic ionizing radiation affects susceptibility to pests in wild aquatic plants: Discovery and validation of biochemical mechanisms

Chronické ionizujúce žiarenie ovplyvňuje odolnosť divorastúcich vodných rastlín proti škodcom: Objav a potvrdenie biochemických mechanizmov

Duration: 1. 1. 2022 - 31. 12. 2025
Program: VEGA
Project leader: Mgr. Danchenko Maksym PhD.
Annotation:Most environmental pollutants, including radionuclides, are persistent; hence, they chronically influence plants. Ionizing radiation is a ubiquitous stress factor with unclear consequences of prolonged exposure to low doses. Likely mechanism of damage to cellular biomolecules is mediated through reactive oxygen species. The central hypothesis of this project is compromised phytoimmunity in aquatic plants, particularly common reed (Phragmites australis), naturally grown in contaminated lakes of the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Upon initial verification, with laboratory feeding bioassays, we will explore biochemical mechanisms by front-end proteomics, including oxidative stress-related protein carbonylations. These findings will be validated and complemented using targeted enzymatic and immunolocalization assays. Essentially, the unbiased approach of this project will close the intriguing knowledge gap in fundamental radiobiology and produce practical knowledge for the monitoring of contaminated lakes.

Molecular and cellular mechanisms of adventitious root differentiation

Molekulárne a bunkové mechanizmy diferenciácie adventívnych koreňov

Duration: 1. 1. 2021 - 31. 12. 2024
Program: VEGA
Project leader: doc. RNDr. Jásik Ján DrSc.
Annotation:An essential requirement for the clonal propagation of plants using stem cuttings is the establishment of an appropriate adventitious root system. Roots are usually created de novo from specialized cells. Competent cells need to be reprogrammed, and this is accompanied by their remarkable changes at different levels. We wish to understand the factors on which the root formation depends by studying the thin stem discs of the grapevine and the thale cress. We will determine the requirements for root formation, and, after induction, we will study the changes accompanying the activation and redifferentiation of competent cells. To identify key genes participating in the process, we will subject induced and non-induced explants to RNA sequencing using the Illumina platform. After obtaining quantitative data on the expression profile, the expression of some differentially expressed genes will be verified by qRT-PCR. The knowledge can be used in breeding to optimize the rooting of economically important species.

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

Duration: 1. 1. 2020 - 31. 12. 2023
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.

CARBODNA - Aptamer-based analytical platform for in vitro and in situ analyses of complex carbohydrates

Nová analytická platforma pre in situ a in vitro analýzy komplexných sacharidov na báze aptamérov

Duration: 1. 9. 2022 - 31. 8. 2027
Program: Iné projekty
Project leader: Mgr. Mravec Jozef PhD.
Annotation:Complex carbohydrates are some of the most important biopolymers. They provide a sustainable source of materials, and energy and are a major part of human and animal diets. Due to their high molecular weight and high complexity, the determination of the precise amount and structure of these molecules is extremely technically challenging. For instance, one of the currently used methods called Compositional Microarray Polymer Profiling exhibits several serious drawbacks such as the requirement for a high level of expertise, expensive equipment, and is very costly and time-consuming. The CARBODNA project aims to make a leap forward in the area and develop a novel analytical platform based on aptamers sometimes also called synthetic or chemical antibodies. These are fragments of polynucleotides with the ability to bind target molecules with high specificity and avidity comparable to conventional monoclonal antibodies. The initial task of the project is to generate aptamers specific for polysaccharide components of plant cell walls, especially for those still lacking any specific immunological probes as well as novel aptamers for macromolecular 3D structures such as intermolecular interactions forming the intricate cell wall architecture. These new probing tools will be utilized to create a new system for quantification and compositional profiling of samples of different origin utilizing common well-established methods of molecular biology as well as for detailed imaging of the cell wall ultrastructure. Finally, the new technology will be applied to study the dynamics of cell walls during plant somatic embryogenesis and cellular elongation.

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

Duration: 1. 1. 2020 - 21. 12. 2023
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.

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?

Duration: 1. 1. 2020 - 31. 12. 2023
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.

Amaranth plasticity in response to heavy metals: multi-scale analysis from ecophysiological to molecular aspects

Plasticita láskavca v odpovedi na ťažké kovy: viacstupňová analýza od ekofyziologických po molekulárne aspekty

Duration: 1. 1. 2022 - 31. 12. 2025
Program: VEGA
Project leader: Ing. Hricová Andrea PhD.
Annotation:Amaranth (Amaranthus spp.) gained popularity in the recent past due to its agronomic and exceptional nutritional properties. The growth and developmental characteristics make this plant also suitable for remediation of areas contaminated by metal ions. The main goal of the project is investigation of Amaranthus spp. plasticity in response to selected heavy metals (HM) through multiscale analysis of growth, morphology, ecophysiological performance, biochemical status, and ionome profile, primary related to stress. Moreover, identification of HM-regulated amaranth genes will be performed. Since endophytes facilitate adaptation to stressors and improve the effectiveness of phytoremediation of the host plants, metagenomic survey of the biodiversity of endophyte communities in the amaranth plants exposed to tested HM will be implemented. In addition, we assess silicon as a beneficial element in preventing the adverse effects of metal ions on investigated plant characteristics and traits.

RET-EVOL-BRASS - Reticulate or divergent evolution? Resolving processes behind the high species richness and endemism in Brassicaceae genera

Retikulátna alebo divergentná evolúcia? Objasnenie procesov, ktoré stoja za veľkou druhovou bohatosťou a endemizmom v rodoch čeľade Brassicaceae

Duration: 1. 7. 2022 - 30. 6. 2026
Program: APVV
Project leader: prof. RNDr. Marhold Karol DrSc.
Annotation:Reticulate evolution is a challenging research topic, which has gained increased attention in recent years, stimulated by the progress made in genomic research and developments of new scientific techniques and approaches. It is now widely recognized that introgression and hybridization significantly affect plant evolution, but there is still much to discover and understand about these processes and their impact on diversification and speciation. The proposed research focuses on reticulate evolution in four genera of the Brassicaceae family (Alyssum, Cardamine, Erysimum, and Odontarrhena). Here we aim to explore in detail how reticulation events have shaped the evolution of the studied genera, to test whether the high endemism rate reflects multiple independent polyploidization events or increased diversification of polyploid lineages. We will also examine how historical and recent range shifts have stimulated introgression and allopolyploid speciation, and track the mode and rate of allopolyploid genome evolution. We will take an integrative approach that will combine methods of phylogenomics (RADseq and HybSeq techniques of next generation sequencing, complemented by microsatellite markers), cytogenomics, flow cytometry, morphometrics and ecological niche modeling. Bringing together data from diverse sources provides complementary views and different perspectives on the patterns and processes studied. Our studies, focusing on several unrelated species groups, will also include a comparative aspect, go beyond species- or genus-specific patterns, and attempt to infer common and general mechanisms of reticulate evolution in plants.

STRAKA - 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

Duration: 1. 7. 2021 - 30. 6. 2025
Program: APVV
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.

Worlds in a world - from microcosms to ecosystems

Svet vo svete - od mikrokozmov k ekosystémom

Duration: 1. 1. 2020 - 31. 12. 2023
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.

Taxonomy of families Elmidae, Protelmidae and Dryopidae (Insecta: Coleoptera)

Taxonómia čeľadí Elmidae, Protelmidae a Dryopidae

Duration: 1. 1. 2019 - 31. 12. 2022
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.

The effect of chronic ionizing radiation on protein carbonylation in Phragmites australis

The effect of chronic ionizing radiation on protein carbonylation in Phragmites australis

Duration: 1. 1. 2022 - 31. 12. 2022
Program: DoktoGranty
Project leader: MSc. Mishra Shubhi
Annotation: Protein carbonylation is an irreversible posttranslational modification caused by oxidative imbalance. It occurs in plants under environmental stress factors, such as ionizing radiation. Carbonyl groups on certain amino acids marker damaged proteins and route them for degradation. The central goal of this project is to detect and quantify the carbonylated proteins as the direct indicator of oxidative stress in irradiated plants. The first part of the study will be focused on the standardization of the protocol for biotinylation-based affinity chromatography followed by mass spectrometry to discover the carbonylated proteins. During the second stage, these advanced techniques will be used to dissect the influence of radionuclide contamination on protein carbonylation in wild aquatic plant—common reed (Phragmites australis).

Traditional ecological knowledge for grassland conservation and restoration

Tradičné ekologické poznatky pre ochranu a obnovu travinno-bylinných biotopov

Duration: 1. 1. 2019 - 31. 12. 2022
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.

Role of arbuscular mycorrhizae in the alleviation of Sb toxicity in maize

Úloha arbuskulárnej mykorízy pri zmierňovaní toxického vplyvu Sb na kukuricu

Duration: 1. 1. 2020 - 31. 12. 2022
Program: DoktoGranty
Project leader: MSc. Chirappuranthu Sukumaran Nair Vidya
Annotation:XX

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

Duration: 1. 1. 2021 - 31. 12. 2024
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.

POLINES - Bees cannot make it all - DNA metabarcoding analysis of pollinator biodiversity for improving their protection and ecosystem services

Včely všetko nestihnú – DNA metabarkódingová analýza biodiverzity opeľovačov pre zlepšenie ich ochrany a ekosystémových služieb

Duration: 1. 7. 2022 - 30. 6. 2026
Program: APVV
Project leader: RNDr. Čiampor Fedor PhD.
Annotation:According to many sources, we are witnessing a massive loss of biodiversity, with potentially catastrophic consequences for humanity. Pollinators, which are indispensable for agriculture, nutrition, ecosystems functioning and maintenance of their services, are also critically endangered. However, the real diversity of pollinators and the composition of their communities are unknown and without relevant data, their effective conservation is not possible. We therefore need to significantly improve knowledge and innovate biodiversity research practices. Conventional methods are lengthy, costly and error-prone, which reduces the predictive value of the results. DNA (meta)barcoding is now revolutionising our ability to assess biodiversity across a range of habitats. The approach is efficient and easy to implement, making it a 21st century tool for large-scale biodiversity research and monitoring. The project builds on recent advances in DNA metabarcoding of biota and uses DNA data analysis in combination with environmental factors to assess the biodiversity status of pollinators. Environmental DNA (eDNA) from flowers will also be used, which is a unique and innovative approach to biodiversity surveys of this important group of animals so far. The main objectives of the project are (a) DNA metabarcoding analysis of pollinator biodiversity associated with three model crops (oilseed rape, poppy, apple), (b) estimation of the impact of environmental factors on pollinator diversity, (c) estimation of the impact of pollinator biodiversity on crop yields, and (d) significant addition of unique pollinator fauna data to reference DNA barcoding databases. The outputs of the project will improve the general knowledge of biodiversity, enhance the possibilities for routine application of DNA methods in the future and provide a knowledge base for more effective informed decision making in the context of adaptation to climate change and sustainable development.

PLANTin - 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

Duration: 1. 7. 2020 - 30. 6. 2024
Program: APVV
Project leader: Ing. Hrivnák Richard DrSc.
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

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

Duration: 1. 1. 2019 - 31. 12. 2022
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.

Influence of the cell wall proteins on embryogenic capacity of selected of conifers

Vplyv proteínov bunkovej steny na embryogénnu kapacitu pri vybraných druhoch ihličnanov

Duration: 1. 1. 2022 - 31. 12. 2025
Program: VEGA
Project leader: Mgr. Klubicová Katarína PhD.
Annotation:Cell wall (CW) is a complex and dynamic structure of plant cells which controls growth and morphology of plants during development and in response to the environment. Despite being present in low amount in CW, proteins play a key role in various processes and many of them are potentialy useful in biotechnology. Somatic embryogenesis (SE) represents an efficient plant regeneration system for theoretical studies as well as for mass propagation, especially in conifers. Process occuring during SE needs deeper understanding to use the regeneration system for conifer micropropagation more effectively. The aim of the submitted proposal is investigation of a CWPs potentially important during the induction of embryogenic tissue of selected conifers by proteomic approach. Obtained results may serve as a basis for SE markers suggestion and contribute to better understanding of the SE in woody plants.

Projects total: 50