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Department of Biological Risks

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Research area

Invasive pathogens of woody plants – invasive fungi – diversity – Phytophthora – Hymenoscyphus fraxineus – Melampsora larici-populina – Gemmamyces piceae – collection of oomycetes – distribution – epidemiology – landscape pathology – ecology – importance – management – resistance –trees protection

The mission of the Department of Biological Risks is research on invading pathogens of non-forest trees that pose significant risks to the environment of the Czech Republic and the development of useful measurements aimed at limiting their impact. This mission is realized through four related and linked activities: identification and research of biological risks, research of landscape pathology, research of resistance of non-forest trees and development of protection measurements.

Research topics:

Biological risks

Within the topic the diversity of alien invasive pathogens of woody plants in the Czech Republic is explored and importance of particular organisms is studied.  The species potentially harmful to the natural environment of the Czech Republic are identified and qualified as “biological risks”. There is conducted research of their distribution, significance to the environment and damages they caused. Ecology of these pathogens and epidemiology of diseases they cause is also studied. The greatest attention is paid to the so called “transformers”, which are organisms capable to cause massive damage of the populations of their hosts. These transformers cause permanent changes in the diversity and structure of invaded forest stands and communities. These organisms include for example some oomycetous pathogens and The Department of Biological Risks is the only workplace in the Czech Republic specialized in them.

Landscape pathology

The invading pathogens are studied within the landscape pathology at the landscape level. Spatial analysis of host-pathogen relationships are performed on the basis of extensive datasets from the field. The developed models describe the distribution of pathogens and the extent of caused damages. The sets of environmental factors influencing them are identified. The geostatistical modelling of the distribution of pathogens and damages i performed and based on the knowledge of these factors. Predictive models are developed for various geographic areas through the Czech Republic.

Resistance of woody plant species

The resistance of native woody plant species against major invading pathogens is carried out. The research is realized with the help of in vitro infectious tests, field experiments and monitoring. The resistant genotypes of autochthonous species populations are selected and preserved. The research findings are used in the subsequent resistant breeding programme. Currently, the resistance of black alder against Phytophthora ×alni, common ash against Hymenoscyphus fraxineus and black poplar against Melampsora larici-populina are studied.

Development of protection measurements

The research of invasive pathogens is topped off with the development of methods for their management and the acquired knowledge is summarized and put into the context. The research of effectiveness of biological and chemical preparations against invasive pathogens is also conducted. The final outputs – methods of integrated protection of woody plants against invading pathogens are destined for the practice.

 

Cooperating institutions

Povodí Vltavy, s. p.;Lesy České republiky;Ústav pro hospodářskou úpravu lesů;Vojenské lesy a statky;LESOŠKOLKY s. r. o.;Výzkumný a šlechtitelský ústav ovocnářský Holovousy s. r. o.;Sdružení lesních školkařů ČR, z. s.;Ústav experimentální botaniky AVČR v. v. i.;Mendelova univerzita v Brně;Univerzita Karlova v Praze;Výzkumný ústav lesního hospodářství a myslivosti, v. v. i.;Povodí Labe, s. p.;Symbiom s. r. o.;Agentura ochrany přírody a krajiny ČR;EVERNIA, s. r. o.;Centrum dopravního výzkumu, v. v. i.

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