Insect Communities

The group meeting in Krizanky

Last week, we organised a meeting of our group in Křižánky in the Železné hory Mts. Besides general discussions on our projects, presentations of some nearly submitted theses, and progress of various topics we have optimised the sampling of flower visitors for our fieldwork in the coming July. We thank our guests Štěpán Janeček and Zuzka Sejfová for attending the meeting.

The Insect Community Ecology Group at their meeting in Křižánky.

The Insect Community Ecology Group during their meeting in Křižánky. © G. Wofková

Filip has defended his master thesis

Last week, Filip Tichanek has successfully defended his thesis entitled Ecology of endangered damselfly Coenagrion ornatum in post-mining streams in relation to their restoration and has thus received a Mgr. diploma (the Czech alternative of M.Sc.). Except that the manuscript is submitted to a journal. The thesis is available on the web of the University of South Bohemia. Filip is thus the first successful student in our group since its recent establishment. Congratulations and good luck in the next doctoral studies of neurobiology!

Filip Tichánek během diskuze při obhajobě diplomové práce.

Filip Tichánek during a discussion on his master thesis. © David Boukal

Moth dedicated to Gerald Durrell

From the material collected during our reasearch of lepidopteran communities of Mt. Cameroon, Roman Yakovlev and our close collaborator Szabolcs Sáfián have described a new species of carpenter moth (Cossidae). They decided to name it Geraldocossus durrelli after the amazing conservationist and naturalist Gerrald Durrell who wrote two books about his stays in Cameroon. Such a great idea! Durrell’s books (not only from Cameroon) have surely influenced many young biologists and thus contributed to research and conservation in many areas in the world.

Yakovlev R., Sáfián Sz. (2016) Geraldocossus gen. nov. (Lepidoptera, Cossidae) from Mount Cameroon (West Africa). Zootaxa 4114: 595-599.


Geraldocossus durrelli Yakovlev & Sáfián, 2016 ©Zootaxa

Water insects of lignite spoil heaps

This week we continue with sampling of water insects in North Bohemian spoil heaps where many highly threatened species (such as Cybister lateralimarginalis and Coenagrion ornatum) found their secondary refuges. Robert and Filip helped our close collaborator Vojtěch Kolář with setting minnow traps into a few dozen freshwater pools. Besides a survey of unknown biodiversity of several insect groups, the project also aims to evaluate different approaches to the post-mining freshwater habitats.

Robert Tropek and Vojtěch Kolář during setting of minnow in a spontaneous pool in the Radovesická spoil heap. F. Tichánek

Robert Tropek and Vojtěch Kolář during setting of minnow traps in a pool at the Radovesická spoil heap. © F. Tichánek

Field season in Zelezne hory has started

Since this year we are collaborating on a project studying changes of pollination networks under habitat fragmentation led by Dr. Michael Bartoš from the Institute of Botany in Třeboň. For the next three seasons we will spend a quite some time on wet meadows in the Zelezne hory mountains studying various parts of the pollination systems from traits of individual plant species to changes of communities of their visitors. The last week the field season has started and we have spent a few days by torturing the first flowers and spying the first pollinator.

PS: Are you a student interested in pollination biology and looking for diplomma thesis or Erasmus project? Do not hesitate to contact us!

One of our study sites with camera systems running.

One of our study sites with camera systems running. © Michael Bartoš

Vincent’s stay in Munich

Dr. Axel Hausmann and Vincent Maicher in front of the Munich's collection.

Dr. Axel Hausmann and Vincent Maicher in front of the Munich’s collection.

Vincent is currently visiting the huge Lepidoptera section of the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology in Munich. He is working on identification of moths collected by an intensive bait trapping during our fieldwork in Mt. Cameroon. Because of our long-term collaboration with Dr. Axel Hausmann, a leader of the section, on processing of all Geometrid moths from our Cameroonian collections, Vincent is trying to help also with processing of this material.

Conference grant for Filip

Filip Tichanek

Filip Tichanek marking damselflies in the Radovesická lignite spoil heap.

Filip Tichánek, a finishing master student in our group, was awarded by the “Twelve fo SER” stipend. He is among twelve selected students whose active participation at the 10th European Conference on Ecological Restoration will be covered by the Society for Ecological Restoration‘s grant. Filip will contribute by a talk summarising results of his bachelor and master theses, as well as some side projects.

Our research eaten by a porcupine!

As a part of our last fieldwork in Cameroon we surveyed a pollination system of Uvariopsis dioica (Annonaceae). One morning we realised all the filmed flowers had disappeared. The Brush-tailed porcupine (Atherurus africanus) visited it and skilfully selected all open flowers and ate all its petals, leaving the reproductive organs intact(?). Enjoy a sped-up video of the picky guy! © Insect Community Ecology Group

Two student grants for our group!

When being in the field, we have received good news. Both University of South Bohemia and Charles University in Prague have decided to finance research of our PhD students. Vincent Maicher thanks the University of South Bohemia for an opportunity to study influence of elephants on structure of moth communities. Jan Mertens is grateful to the Charles University in Prague for funding the metabarcoding of pollen loads directly sampled from butterflies, moths and sunbirds.

Influence of extensive natural disturbance by elephants on rainforests of Mt. Cameroon. Jan Mertens

Influence of extensive natural disturbance by elephants on rainforests of Mt. Cameroon. © Jan Mertens


Back from Cameroon

Together with our colleagues and Cameroonian students we have spent five weeks in the forests of Mt. Cameroon. Besides finishing the sample of butterflies and moths in lower elevations, we have started with surveying of pollination networks in different altitudes. Pretty funny, pretty interesting…

Because of the high dry season we have been facing lack of water and have needed to carry it from Bakingili village pretty soon (the third wettest place in the world is quite dry in February). Fortunatelly, beer weighs equally to water 😉

Our international team of researchers, students and assisstants just before leaving the camp on the last day.

Our international team of researchers, students and assisstants just before leaving the Drinking Gary camp. © Štěpán Janeček