Course: Polar Ecology (life science) - field exercise

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Course title Polar Ecology (life science) - field exercise
Course code KBE/265
Organizational form of instruction Lesson
Level of course Master
Year of study not specified
Semester Winter
Number of ECTS credits 5
Language of instruction Czech
Status of course unspecified
Form of instruction Face-to-face
Work placements This is not an internship
Recommended optional programme components None
  • Kvíderová Jana, RNDr. Ph.D.
  • Elster Josef, doc. Ing. CSc.
  • Ditrich Oleg, doc. RNDr. CSc.
  • Pavel Václav, RNDr. Ph.D.
  • Macek Petr, RNDr. Ph.D.
  • Šabacká Marie, Mgr. Ph.D.
Course content
Content of lectures Content of practicals Life science 1. Microbiology and phycology (J. Elster, J. Kvíderová, O. Strunecký) The aim: Obtaining of fundamental knowledge in diversity, ecology and ecophysiology of cyanobacteria and microalgae of particular area. Content: 1. Sampling and determination of cyanobacteria and microalgae in sea littoral and all types of terrestrial and freshwater habitats. . 2. Quantification of cyanobacteria and algae (standing crop - analyses of photosynthetic pigments, wet biomass, biovolume, etc.) 3. Ecological parameters measurements (diurnal values of temperature, irradiation, pH, oxygen, conductivity and water content, etc.). 4. Estimation of ecophysiological features of selected cyanobacteria and microalgae communities. 2. Botany and Plant physiology (J. Klimešová, T. Hájek, A. Bernardová) The aim: Introduction to study methods of vegetation development (vascular plants) in the Arctic from fossil analysis up to plant functional traits. During the field course, we emphasize ecological adaptations of plants. Three organization levels will be studied: community, species, and individual. Content: 1. Community. Composition, diversity, and productivity of plant communities in Petuniabukta bay. Main environmental factors: age of the substratum, its stability, nutrients and water availability, snow cover duration, human impact. Methods: vegetation mapping, measuring environmental factors, paleoecological record. 2. Species. Species distribution with respect to environmental conditions and the reasons of their rareness/commonness. Methods: mapping of species frequency around the bay, measurements of functional traits (growth form, specific leaf area, production and dispersion of diaspores, recent pollen deposition). 3. Individual. Growth of selected species in their ambient environmental condition. Methods: herb-chronology, morphometric analysis, ecophysiological measurements (photosynthetic activity). 3.Zoology a parasitology (O. Ditrich, K. Janko, M. Devetter, T. Tyml, V. Pavel) The aim: To provide an introduction to Arctic animals, and their adaptations to the extreme environment, to trophic chains and pyramids. Content: 1. Littoral fauna of hard bottom with benthic algae and conspicuous benthic animal species of this ecosystem. 2. Littoral fauna of bottom with sediments and conspicuous benthic animal species of this ecosystem. 3. Psammon in soft bottom sediments. Biomass quantification in localities with various distances from glacier. 4. Littoral macroplankton and microplankton. 5. Interspecific interactions, namely host. parasite relations in marine littoral. Dissections of fish, molluscs and crustatians, observation of their parasites. Isolation of amphizoic amoebae from marine and freshwater animals and environment. 6. Changes of terrestrial mesofauna on sea-glacier transect (Rotifera, Tardigrada, Acari, Collembola). Changes of bentic fauna on longitudinal gradient of four streams in relation to substrate. 7. Fauna of patchy vegetation in relation to plant composition. Molecular ecology of terrestrial rotifers (Rotifera, Bdelloidea) (extraction of rotifers from substrate, species determination, izolation of DNA, PCR of selected genes, construction of phylogenetic tree. Barcoding, determination of species according to DNA. 8. Arctic avifauna. Nesting strategies in polar region,. Animal communities in periodic water bodies. Effect of water birds on invertebrates and the environment.

Learning activities and teaching methods
  • unspecified - 160 hours per semester
Learning outcomes
Field exercise in life science includes ten days measurements in microbiology, phycology, botany, plant physiology, zoology and parasitology. Exercise is organised in Svalbard (Norwegian Arctic Archipelago Svalbard, Research station of the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice). Polar Ecology - field exercise and the course of Polar Ecology is finished during final seminar where students introduce their field results and pass the writing test.
Students have to be alble to work in field for two weeks with their colleagues and instructiors. They have to have previous field research experiences.
The basic experiences with field research. Course is organised mainly for MSc and PhD students.

Assessment methods and criteria
Combined exam

Polar Ecology (life science) - field exercise is obligatory connected with lecture Polar Ecology. Students applying for the course have to finish both parts. In case they will not finish it they have to cover expenses related with Svalbard field part of course.
Recommended literature
  • Aleksandrova VD (1988) The Arctic and Antarctic: their division into geobotanical areas. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge..
  • Avila-Jimenez ML et al. (2010) Overwintering of terrestrial Arctic arthropods: the fauna of Svalbard now and in the future. Polar Research 29: 127-137..
  • Beyer L. and Boelter M. (eds.) (2002) GeoEcology of Terrestrial Oases Ecological Studies, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg..
  • Callaghan TV et al. (2005) Arctic Tundra and Polar Desert Ecosystems 243 - 353. Arctic Climate Impact Assessment. Cambridge University Press pp. 1039..
  • Campbell B, Claridge GGC (1987) Antarctica: soils, weathering processes and environment. Cambridge..
  • Crawford RMM (1989) Plant studies to survival. Blackwell Scientific Publications..
  • Crawford RMM (2008) Plants at the margins. Ecological limits and climatic change. Cambridge University press..
  • Davie T (2008) Fundamentals of hydrology. London : Routledge, 200 s..
  • DeWalle DR and Rango A (2008) Principles of Snow Hydrology, Cambridge University Press; 420 s..
  • Elias SA (Ed.) (2006) Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science..
  • Elverland E. (2008) The Arctic System. Norvegian Polar Institute, 203 pp..
  • Evans DJA and Benn DI (2004) A Practical Guide to the Study of Glacial Sediments. 266 p.,.
  • Fogg GE (1998) The biology of polar habitats. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • French HM (2007) The Periglacial Environment. Third Edition. 478 p., Wiley, Chichester.
  • Friedmann EI (ed.) (1993) Antarctic microbiology. Wiley-Liss, NewYork.
  • Fuller B, Lane N. and Benson EE (eds.) (2004) Life In The Frozen State. Taylor and Francis, London, pp. 111- 149..
  • Gale SJ, Hoare PG (1991) Quaternary Sediments. Petrographic Methods for the Study of Unlithified Rocks. 323 p., Belhaven, London.
  • Gulliksen B. and Svensen E. (2004) Svalbard and Life in the Polar Oceans. Norvegian Polar Institute, 65 pp..
  • Hubbard B. and Glasser N. (2005) Field Techniques in Glaciology and Glacial geomorphology. 400 p., Wiley, ISBN 0-9544060-2-8, 608 pp.
  • Chapin, S.F. Jefferies, R.L. Raynolds J. Shaver, G.R and Svoboda J. (1992) Climatic Change and Arctic Ecosystem Response. The role of Ecophysiology. Academic Press 469 pp..
  • Kovac KM and Lydersen C. (2006) Birds and Mammals of Svalbard. Norvegian Polar Institute, 203 pp.
  • Last WM et al. (2001) Tracking Environmental Change Using Lake Sediments. Volume 3: Terrestrial, Algal, and Siliceous Indicators..
  • Last WM. Et al. (2001) Tracking Environmental Change Using Lake Sediments. Volume 4: Zoological Indicators..
  • Moen FM. and Svensen E. (2004) Marine Fish & Invertebrates of Northern Europe KOM Forlag, 608 pp.
  • Netopil R. (1984) Fyzická geografie. I., Hydrologie, limnologie, oceánografie. Praha : Státní pedagogické nakladatelství, n.p., 258 s..
  • Pielou EC (1992) After the Ice Age: The Return of Life to Glaciated North America. The University of Chicago Press (Google books).
  • Pielou EC (1994) Naturalists guide to the Arctic. The University of Chicago Press (Google books).
  • Singh P. (2001) Snow and Glacier Hydrology, Springer, 756 s..
  • Svoboda, J. and Freedman, B. (1994) Ecology of a polar oasis, Alexandra Fiord..
  • Tedrow JCF (1977) Soils of the polar landscapes. Rutgers University Press, New.
  • Tucker ME (2003) Sedimentary Rocks in the Field. Third Edition. 234 p., Wiley, Chichester.
  • Vincent WF, Laybourn-Parry J. (eds.) (2008) Polar Lakes and Rivers: Limnology of Arctic and Antarctic Aquatic Ecosystems. Oxford University Press..
  • Vincent WF (1988) Microbial ecosystem of Antarctica. Cambridge University Press,.

Study plans that include the course
Faculty Study plan (Version) Branch of study Category Recommended year of study Recommended semester