Department of Taxonomy

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Current research covers a broad spectrum of tasks from phylogeny and evolution, genetic variability and microevolution, to protection of genetic resources. Our research is organized into two main topics:

Systematics and taxonomy of vascular plants

Our research activities focus on four main topics:

  • Study of species diversity of the Czech Republic and other selected parts of the World. These activities include collaboration within the framework of major synthetic Floras, Checklists and Atlases of distribution of vascular plants. The Department of Taxonomy is the main coordinator of a large project, the Flora of the Czech Republic. It also plays a role as the national center for various international projects.  
  • Taxonomic monographs including information based on both classical taxonomic and molecular methods. Some plant groups are studied in the worldwide scope (Potamogetonaceae, Juncaceae, Taraxacum, Myosotis), others in the most important diversity centers (Hieracium etc.).  
  • Study of plant evolution and phylogenetic relationships at the species, genus and family level (Juncaceae, Potamogetonaceae, Hieracium, Taraxacum).  
  • Study of genetic variability and microevolution. Some processes of speciation (Juncus, Potamogeton, Tragopogon), and polypoid complexes (Myosotis, Hieracium) have been studied. The Institute represents an important center for the study of agamospermy (Hieracium, Taraxacum)

We participate in the following:

          Species Plantarum – Flora of the World           Flora of China           Flora Nordica           Flora Hellenica           Flora Iberica           Flora of the Ladakh           Flora of Slovakia           Key to the Flora of the Slovakia           Exkursionsflora für Österreich           Exkursionsflora von Deutschland. Band 4, Gefasspflanzen: Kritischer Band

We coordinate:

          Flora of the Czech Republic           Key to the Flora of the Czech Republic

Checklists:

          List of the vascular plants of the Czech Republic           Chromosomal counts of the vascular plants of the Czech and Slovak Republics           Karyological database of ferns and flowering plants of Slovakia           Euro+Med

Atlases:

          Phytocartographical syntheses of the Czech Republic           Atlas of the Rubus of the Czech Republic. (in prep.)           Atlas Florae Europae 1-14

National advisory center for international projects:

          Euro+Med           European Network for Biodiversity Information ENBI           Atlas Florae Europae           Species Plantarum – Flora of the World

Systematics, taxonomy and ecology of lichens and fungi (lichenized and non-lichenized fungi)

Lichenology

  1. Lichen Diversity of the Czech Republic
  • Catalogue of lichens. The catalogue of lichens of the Czech Republic (A. Vězda, J. Liška) ed. Institute of Botany, Průhonice, 1999. 283 pp. The book summarizes over 200 years of lichenology research covering the present territory of the Czech Republic and lists all published records of lichen species, i.e., excerpts of papers dealing with lichen distribution in various regions of the Czech Republic as well as papers by foreign lichenologists reporting lichen specimens from the territory of the Czech Republic. The catalogue contains a complete bibliography (over 800 items), list of species (1534 species in 255 genera) with all synonyms and citations pertaining to each taxon. Order: H. Zbuzková, Library of the Institute of Botany, 252 43 Průhonice. Price: 14 EUR, resp. 15.80 USD (postage not included).
  • Field research of the Czech Republic, central, northern and southeastern Europe.
  • List of types of lichen species described from the Czech Republic (project IAA600050712)
  1. Taxonomy uses a classical approach together with contemporary methods
  • Lepraria, Lecanora, Trapeliopsis
  1. Systematics
  • Molecular study (DNA analysis) covering various taxonomic groups (Omphalina, Trypetheliaceae)
  1. Chorology and ecology
  • Distribution of selected taxa, change in distribution and causation; bioindication studies
  1. Protection of lichens
  • Red Data List of lichens of the Czech Republic (Liška, Palice & Slavíková, 2008) Checklist and Red List of lichens of the Czech Republic. Threatened Czech lichen flora is classified for the first time using international criteria (IUCN version 3.1). The Red List (Liška, Palice & Slavíková, 2008) serves also as a new version of the checklist, with changes to the previously published Catalogue of the Czech lichen flora (Vězda & Liška 1999) indicated. In total, 1497 species are included. More than a third of all species (37.4%) are threatened, almost a quarter of these (8.7% of the total number of species) critically. Almost one-tenth of the total number of species is considered extinct in the Czech Republic, and only about one- eighth are not endangered.
  • Research of protected areas (Šumava Mts, Muráňská planina, Bukovské vrchy Mts., etc.)

Mycology

The mycology group deals with the study of systematics and taxonomy of lignicolous non-stromatic perithecial ascomycetes and their dematiaceous hyphomycetic anamorphs. Phylogenetic approaches based on detailed morpho-taxonomic and cultivation studies are used along with molecular ITS research, core SSU and LSU rDNA and RPB2. Structural phylogenesis and secondary (2D) structure prediction is also used to provide better alignment that enables the integration of phylogenetic signals even from unclearly aligned homologous sequence sections. Ascomycetes are the largest known fungal group that typically has large morphological variability and occurs in various ecosystems and geographic areas.  To solve problems related to biology, ecology, taxonomy and phylogenesis of these microorganisms it is necessary to have detailed knowledge of the teleomorphs and anamorphs, two separate reproduction phases in the life cycle. The research tasks and objectives are therefore formed to solve the systematic and phylogenetic questions of the (1) phylogenetically less-researched groups of perithial ascomycetes, (2) taxonomic integration of anamorphs and teleomorphs in the life-cycle of ascomycetes and (3) the integration of anamorph fungi in the “botanical system”. The main research activities focus on a world monograph of the family Chaetosphaeria and its anamorphs as well as a molecular-taxonomic study of saprophytic fungi from the Ceratostomella complex. Current research also deals with the study of biodiversity of microscopic lignicolous saprophytic fungi in natural vegetation stands.