Biodiversity research trend is focused on the complex study of biological diversity, i.e. on both taxonomic and morphological description of biological diversity of organisms, their interrelations and evolution, and phylogenesis reconstruction. The subject of the study is mainly population characteristics of model taxa (population structure, distribution, interspecies interactions, biogeographic parameters), trophic networks with the objective to clarify the relation between biological diversity and nutritive specialisation, patterns of biological diversity in environmental gradients (altitude, latitude, succession, anthropogenic disturbances) and processes of speciation, adaptive radiation and reproduction isolations that represent the basis in the understanding of the mechanisms of evolution.
The research is also concentrated on the biodiversity of anthropogenic ecosystems with an emphasis on ecology (post-) industrial biotopes and applications in biotope management and practical protection. The research direction can be divided into 6 partial research areas. The team is currently composed of 12 researchers and 28 Ph.D. students. The team members have so far described a total of 200 new taxa (species and genera), while the number of newly described taxa is continuously increasing thanks to the use of modern molecular methods enabling the study of cryptic diversity. The partial research areas comprise:
- biosystematics, phylogenesis and evolution of selected organism groups (Crustacea; Insecta: Diptera, Orthoptera, Dermaptera, Odonata, Mecoptera; Osteichthyes; Amphibia; Mammalia; Bryophyta)
- herbivore–plant–parasite food webs
- trophic and host specialisation of bryophytes and mycophagous insect
- evolution of asexual reproduction
- modeling and quantitative data analysis in ecology and evolutionary biology
- bioindication and biomonitoring of anthropogenic effects using model organisms
The genomic biology research direction is focused on:
- comparative genomics of eukaryotes, evolution of eukaryotic cells and their functional systems
- phylogenomics and evolutionary genomics
- diversity and taxonomy of microbial eukaryotes
- functional genomics and molecular biology of human pathogens
- genomics of human populations and ethnic groups (palaeogenomics).
One of the main impulses in the development of biology of the last twenty years is the development of DNA sequencing methods and genomic data growing at an exponential pace. The character of biological research has been changed completely by the availability of genomic sequences from a rapidly growing number of organisms and contemporary possibilities of genome and transcriptome sequencing in laboratories outside big genome centres. Bioinformatics analyses of genome and transcriptome data make it possible to study the gene repertoire of organisms and its evolutionary history in an unprecedented way. At the same time, they represent the starting point for the downstream research in the area of the functioning of living organisms at the level of individual genes, molecular modules, cells and entire organisms. Genomic approaches are also critical for modern medical and biotechnological research. These are the basis for a broader research programme connecting three individual yet cooperating laboratories falling within the Life Science Research Centre (Department of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Science, University of Ostrava).
Updated: 08. 11. 2017