Polar Ecology Group

Overall description of research:

The topic of the team is the study of deglaciated areas in Antarctica - so called Antarctic oasis. The uncovering of the earth surface as a result of ice cover decline represent very significant and generally environment change for the ground surface of rock ice base. Rock material is suddenly exposed to the influence of new energy conditions, atmosphere and streaming water. All this factors arouse very intensive weathering and periglacial geomorphological processes shape thanks to weathering, erosion, transportation and sedimentation of effloresced material the earth surface morphology. Physical and chemical weathering are attended by structural and chemical changes of debris. So are arising new matters allowed the colonization of this material by primitive living organisms (soil biota). Thanks their activity arise soils - the environment for another nonvascular and vascular plants. All organisms living in this environment exist often on the bounds of the nutrients and energy life possibility. They have therefore related by the evolution various survive systems whose understanding can among others approach the life strategy outside the Earth.

The ecosystems of deglaciated oasis are rather simple and they are as well very sensitive to the change of environmental factors. Study of their time stability or of time changes can therefore serve as a indicator of anthropogenic influence on polar regions. Outgoing of the described topic the investigation of antarctic oasis are very convenient ecological theme for a complex study and for a team work of several geosciences (geology, chemistry and geochemistry, geomorphology, pedology, climatology, hydrology) and biological sciences (microbiology, soil biology, algology, ecophysiology, stress physiology, etc.).

Thank the participation and experiences acquired on two previous Antarctic projects (realized on south Shetlands and on Argentine Archipelago) arised on the Faculty of Science MU a group of team members subsistented to the Institute of Geography and to the departments of analytical chemistry, plant physiology and zoology and ecology started in south summer 2004/05 successively the investigations on the deglaciated area of James Ross Island - the site of finished project of Czech Antarctic station.

The Czech Antarctic Station of Johann Gregor Mendel  [PDF]

Team members

Institute of Geography

Pavel Prošek, Ondřej Marvánek, Viktorie Šťastná, Zdeněk Máčka, Kamil Láska

Other Departments

Dagmar Gajdošová, Josef Havel, Marie Budíková, Jan Gloser, Miloš Barták, Josef Hájek, Klára Novotná

Outside the faculty

Czech Geological Survey

Zdeněk Venera, Petr Mixa, Bedřich Mlčoch, Daniel Nývlt

Institute of Botany, Czech Academy of Science

Josef Elster, Klára Kaštovská, Jana Kvíderová, Linda Nedbalová

Institute of Soil Biology, Czech Academy of Science

Alena Lukešová, Vladimír Šustr

Faculty of Biology, South Bohemian University České Budějovice

Jiří Komárek, Ondřej Komárek, Jan Kaštovský


Achievements during the period 2000-2004

  • detailed study of energy balance of the Antarctic ground surfaces and of their soil climate and microclimate,
  • analysis of UV-radiation regime and of the atmospheric factors effects its spatiotemporal variability in the region of Antarctic Peninsula,
  • analysis of the influence of atmospheric circulation on the temperature and humidity conditions of Antarctic Peninsula,
  • analysis of warming trends in temperature time series in the area of Antarctic Peninsula,
  • daily courses of photosysthetic characteristics (PS II yield, Pn) in Antarctic mosses and lichens,
  • estimation of respiration activity of organic substrates and standing death,
  • in situ lichen photosynthesis under excess light and partial dehydration,
  • determination of quantity and quality of humic acids in Antarctic soil organic matter by MALDI TOF mass spectrometry,
  • classification of mass spectra of Antarctic samples by ANN and Kohonen; comparison with other continents

Most important publications since 2000

Barták, M., Hájek, J., Gloser, J. (2000): Heterogenity of chlorophyll fluorescence over thalli of several foliose macrolichens exposed to adverse environmental facors: Interspecific differences as related to thallus hydration and high irrdadiance. Photosynthetica, 38: p. 531 - 537

Prošek, P., Láska, K., Janouch, M. (2001): Ultraviolet Radiation Intensity at the H. Arctowski Base (South Shetlands, King George Island) during the Period from December 1994 - December 1996. In: Prošek, P., Láska K. (eds.) Folia Fac. Sci. Natur. Univ. Masarykianae Brunensis, Geographia 25, Ecology of Antarctic Coastal Oasis, Proceedings, p. 35 - 48

Gajdošová D., Pokorná, L., Prošek, P., Láska, K., Havel, J. (2001): Are there humid acids in Antarctica? In: Ghabbour, E.,A., Davies, G. (eds.): Humic Substances: Structures, Models and Functions, RS.C, Special Publication No. 273, Cambridge, 122 – 131. ISBN 0-85404-811-1

Gloser, J. (2001): Ecophysiological study of Antarctic lichens and mosses. Report of the ANTAR XII Peruvian Antarctic Epedition. Instituto National Antártico Peru, 31 pp.

Barták, M., Hájek, J., Gloser, J. (2001): Application of fluorometric methods to measurements of lichen photosynthetic responses to changing temperature and thallus hydration. In: P. Prošek, K. Láska (eds): Folia Fac. Sci. Natur. Univ. Masarykianae Brunensis, Geographia 25, Ecology of Antarctic Coastal Oasis. Proceediíngs, p. 73 - 82

Gajdošová, D., Novotná, K., Prošek, P., Havel, J. (2003): Separation and characterization of humic acids from Antarctica by capillary electrophoresis and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry Inclusion complexes of humic acids with cyclodextrins. Journal of Chromatography A, 1014 (2003) 117 – 127

Barták, M., Vráblíková, H., Hájek, J. (2003): Sensitivity of photosystem 2 of Antarctic lichens to high irradiance stress: A fluorometric study of fruticose (Usnea antarctica) and foliose (Umbrilicartia decussata) species. Photosynthetica, 41, p. 497 - 504

Barták, M., Hájek, J., Vráblíková, H., Dubová, J. (2004): High-Light stress and Photoprotection in Umbliricaria antarctica Monitored by Chlorophyll Fluorescence Imaging and Changes in Zeaxanthin and Glutathione. Plant Biology, 6: p. 333 - 341

Prošek, P., Láska, K., Budíková, M., Milinovsky Genady (2004): The regime of Total and Biological effective Ultraviolet Radiation at Vernadsky Station (Argentine Islands, Antarctica) and the Impact of Ozone and Cloudiness in 2002 and 2003. Olomouc: Czech Geographical Society, Palacky University olomouc, 2004, 428 S Czech Geography at the Dawn of |Milenium. ISBN 80-244-0858-9.

Láska K., Prošek, P., Milinovsky, G. (2004): Surface energy balance of the vegetation osasis at Vernadsky Station, Galindéz Island, Argentine Islands. In Terra Nostra, Schriften der Alfred-Wegener-Stiftung. Bremerhaven: Alfred-Wegener-Stiftung, 2004, s. 366-367, ISBN 0946-8978.

Overall description of technology in use

  • complete automatic sets for measurement of all radiation energy and heat fluxes of the ground surgface,
  • complet sets for measurements of global and reflected Sun radiation, PHAR, UVA, UVB, UVB biolog. active, UV-total,
  • automatic meteorological stations - 6 sets,
  • several specialized data logers gathering microclimatic information in moss and lichens cushions,
  • application of chlorophyll fluorescence imaging technique in the field (first in Antarctica),
  • routine measurements of chlorophyl fluorescence using modulated fluorometers,
  • laboratory-based analysis of specific compounds using HPLC and spectrophotometers,
  • measurements of spectral reflectance and vegetation indices using spectral device,
  • Maldi TOF mass spectrometry with high resolution and Capilary zone electrophoresis instrumentation,
  • High resolution spectrofuorimeter