Flora of the Czech Republic, its general features, endemism and modern dynamics: A new synthesis

As a new basis for further research on the flora of the Czech Republic, a comprehensive survey of its current knowledge was elaborated, with focus on the assessment of changes over last decades (1). A complete checklist of vascular plants of the flora of the Czech Republic was compiled for the first time in the modern history of national botanical research; including all new findings and taxonomic novelties, the list contains 3557 taxa in total (2). The distribution of over 250 species and subspecies was mapped as a continuation of previously mapped 967 taxa (8). A critical synthesis of current knowledge resulted in the survey of general features of the Czech flora, including phytogeographic outline and assessment of its historical development. Special attention was paid to endemic species of the Czech flora (3). The proportion of endemics is rather low (2% of the flora), they are relatively young, having originated in the Quaternary. On the other hand, various groups of relic taxa, including arctic, boreal, alpine, and steppe elements, are present in the flora. The European glaciation substantially depauperated the Czech flora but the location of this region as a crossroad of migration pathways resulted in its enrichment, with almost all central-European migration elements now represented (3). About one third of the total plant diversity is accounted for by alien taxa introduced by humans; their long-term dynamics was evaluated in a new analytical checklist. The alien flora of the Czech Republic consists of to 1454 taxa, among which 350 (24%) are archaeophytes (introduced before the end of the Medieval Period), and 1104 (76%) neophytes, the modern invaders introduced after then. Forty-four alien taxa are recorded for the first time. Of the total number of aliens, 985 are classified as casual, 408 as naturalized and 61 as invasive; the distribution of the latter was mapped (4, 5). The synthesis of the flora is completed by a review of the history of botany on the territory of the Czech Republic (6), and also includes an updated checklist of lichenized fungi (7).


1. Pyšek, P. – Chytrý, M. – Kaplan, Z. – Danihelka, J. (eds): Flora and vegetation of the Czech Republic. Preslia. Roč. 84, č. 3 (2012), s. 391– 862.

2. Danihelka, J. – Chrtek, J. Jr. – Kaplan, Z.: Checklist of vascular plants of the Czech Republic. Preslia. Roč. 84, č. 3 (2012), s. 647–811.

3. Kaplan, Z.: Flora and phytogeography of the Czech Republic. Preslia. Roč. 84, č. 3 (2012), s. 505– 573.

4. Pyšek, P. – Danihelka, J. – Sádlo, J. – Chrtek, J. Jr. – Chytrý, M. – Jarošík, V. – Kaplan, Z. – Krahulec, F. – Moravcová, L. – Pergl, J. – Štajerová, K. – Tichý, L.: Catalogue of alien plants of the Czech Republic (2nd edition): checklist update, taxonomic diversity and invasion patterns. Preslia. Roč. 84, č. 2 (2012), s. 155–255.

5. Pyšek, P. – Chytrý, M. – Pergl, J. – Sádlo, J. – Wild, J.: Plant invasions in the Czech Republic: current state, introduction dynamics, invasive species and invaded habitats. Preslia. Roč. 84, č. 3 (2012), s. 576–630.

6. Krahulec, F.: History of the studies on the flora and vegetation in the Czech Republic. Preslia. Roč. 84, č. 3 (2012), s. 397–426.

7. Liška, J.: Lichen flora of the Czech Republic. Preslia. Roč. 84, č. 3 (2012), s. 851–862.

8. Štěpánková, J. (ed.): Phytocartographical syntheses of the Czech Republic 4. Průhonice: Botanický ústav AVČR, v. v. i.; Praha: Academia, Středisko společných činností AVČR, v. v. i., 2012. 162 s.


Global assessment of the impacts of plant invasions on resident species, communities and ecosystems: interaction with invading species’ traits and the biome invaded

Invasive species pose risk to native biodiversity worldwide (9) but it is less recognized that current human activities, namely those related to international trade, create a biodiversity debt which means that their effects on biodiversity will be only fully recognized in the future (11). The impact of biological invasions starts to be increasingly obvious even in scarcely populated pristine areas such as Antarctica where scientific personnel rather than tourists pose the highest risk of introducing alien species on their clothes and equipment (10). To cope with the consequences of plant invasions we need to know which species are likely to cause profound changes in ecosystems of invaded areas. The study of the consequences of invasions, so-called impacts, is rather new topic in invasion ecology and analysis of comprehensive global data has been missing until now. To diminish this gap, we conducted the first global overview of how often and under which circumstances plant invasions cause significant impacts on resident species, communities and ecosystems. The study based on 287 publications that addressed the impact of 167 invasive plant species showed in the first place that there is no universal measure of impact and the outcome depends on what we measure. Invasive plants exert consistent significant impacts on some measured outcomes, whereas for others, such as species richness, diversity and soil resources, the significance of impacts is determined by interactions between species traits and the biome invaded. Invasive plants are far more likely to cause significant impacts on species richness on islands rather than mainland (fig.). Species with certain biological traits, however, cause significant impacts regardless of the type of habitat or geographical region invaded. These results provide means to predict impact of invasive species based on their traits, as managers can focus on those species that are likely, following introduction, to reduce local biodiversity and change functioning of resident ecosystems (9).


9. Pyšek, P., – Jarošík, V. – Hulme, P. E. – Pergl, J. – Hejda, M. – Schaffner, U. – Vilà, M.: A global assessment of invasive plant impacts on resident species, communities and ecosystems: the interaction of impact measures, invading species’ traits and environment. Global Change Biology. Roč. 18, č. 5 (2012), s. 1725–1737.

10. Hulme, P. E. – Pyšek, P. – Winter, M.: Biosecurity on thin ice in Antarctica. Science. Roč. 336, č. 6085 (2012), s. 1101–1102.

11. Essl, F. – Winter, M. – Pyšek, P.: Trade threat could be even more dire. Nature. Roč. 487, č. 7405 (2012), s. 39. 


A unique new type of mycorrhizal symbiosis in the Ericaceae

Mycorrhizal symbioses are mutualistic associations between plant roots and specialized soil fungi present in ca. 90% of vascular plants. These plants greatly vary in dependence on their fungal symbionts, some species are obligate mycorrhizal (i.e., fully dependent on mycorrhizae in nutrient uptake) while others are facultative mycotrophs which may under suitable circumstances complete their life cycle without fungal symbionts. Ericaceae (the heath family) belong to the former group; they comprise about 3000 species distributed almost all over the world. Ericaceous plants posses a distinct type of mycorrhiza (ericoid mycorrhiza) which enables them to survive and often dominate in acidic nutrient poor soils. We investigated fungal symbionts of a common European ericaceous species, bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) in central Norway and found a morphologically unique type of mycorrhiza combining features typical for ectomycorrhizae (multilayered hyphal sheaths around the colonized roots) and endomycorrhizae (dense intracellular hyphal coils). The respective mycobiont belongs to a hitherto undescribed lineage of basidiomycetes with affinities to Trechisporales and Hymenochaetales and degraded a recalcitrant aromatic substrate that was left unaltered by common ericoid mycorrhizal fungi. This suggests that the basidiomycete may confer host adaptations distinct from those provisioned by the so far investigated ericaceous ascomycetes. The discovery of a new mycorrhizal symbiosis is a rare event – the last new type was discovered in 2006 in southern Ecuador by members of an international team who by chance also investigated ericaceous plants.


12. Vohník, M. – Sadowsky, J. J. – Kohout, P. – Lhotáková, Z. – Nestby, R. – Kolařík, M.: Novel root-fungus symbiosis in Ericaceae: sheathed ericoid mycorrhiza formed by a hitherto undescribed basidiomycete with affinities to Trechisporales. PLoS ONE. Roč. 7, č. 6 (2012), e39524, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039524 


Forest diversity and dynamics on Korean peninsula elucidated

Korean Peninsula harbours one of the world’s richest temperate forests, whose plant diversity has been a focus of interest for Czech botanists since the late 1980s (15). Long-term research resulted in an extensive floristic database (>2000 georeferenced plots) throughout Korea (16) and a survey of main forest communities (15), which provides a baseline for the future research. – Forests in southern Korea represent modern analogues of major forest types of the Late Pleistocene-Holocene transition. A comparative study on plant diversity, species traits and environment between late-glacial Abies, early-Holocene Quercus, and mid-Holocene warm-temperate Carpinus forest refugia on Jeju Island (13) showed that late-glacial conifer forests were rich in vascular plants, in particular of heliophilous herbs, whose dramatic decline was caused by the early Holocene invasion of dwarf bamboo into the understory of Quercus forests, followed by mid-Holocene expansion of strongly shading trees such as maple and hornbeam. This diversity loss was partly compensated in the Carpinus forests by an increase in shade-tolerant evergreen trees, shrubs and lianas. However, the pool of these species is much smaller than that of light-demanding herbs, and hence the total species richness is lower, both locally and in the whole area of the Carpinus and Quercus forests. – High forest diversity of Korean peninsula is being linked to high frequency of typhoons that open up the forest canopy and enable survival of light-demanding forbs. What is the spatiotemporal pattern of forest disturbance was the aim of study based on analyses of growth releases of dominant oaks indicating tree-stand disturbance and improved light conditions for surviving trees. Our results show that the releases were associated with typhoons and also indicate the differential impact of typhoons on the forests during the past two centuries and along a latitudinal gradient of decreasing typhoon activity (14).


13. Doležal, J. – Altman, J. – Kopecký, M. – Černý, T. – Janeček, Š. – Bartoš, M. – Petřík, P. – Šrůtek, M. – Lepš, J. – Song, J.S.: Plant Diversity Changes during the Postglacial in East Asia: Insights from Forest Refugia on Halla Volcano, Jeju Island. Plos ONE. Roč. 7, č. 1 (2012),  e33065. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033065

14. Altman, J. – Doležal, J. – Černý, T. – Song, J.S.: Forest response to increasing typhoon activity on the Korean peninsula: evidence from oak tree-rings. Global Change Biology. (2012), s. 1-10. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12067

15. Černý, T. – Šrůtek, M. – Petřík, P. – Song, J.-S. – Valachovič, M.: Korean forest database. Biodiversity and Ecology. Roč. 4, – (2012), s. 300-301.

16. Kolbek, J. – Jarolímek, I.: Forests of the Northern Korean peninsula. Bosques del mundo, cambio climático & Amazonía, Cátedra Unesco-EHU de Desarrollo Sostenible y Educación Ambiental (Zamudio, H. B.; Sierra, C. H.; Olalde, M. O.;Vega T.A.G) s. 125-140.


A remarkable intra-population ploidy variation and its ecological and evolutionary consequences 

The whole genome duplication has been widely acknowledged as a major force in plant evolution, leading to phenotypic, ecological and/or reproductive differentiation. Our understanding of ploidy variation in situ has been reshaped by the routine use of cytometric techniques. Detailed screening revealed that the level of ploidy heterogeneity experienced by most plant species/populations is currently underestimated. Minority cytotypes often substantially increase intraspecific and intrapopulation ploidy diversity estimates (17). The knowledge of ploidy variation can have important conservation consequences, serving as a criterion for the selection of high-priority populations. Modern patterns of cytotype distribution have been shaped by many evolutionary and ecological mechanisms; a combination of cytometric and molecular tools is necessary to address the role of these drivers. Recent evidence suggests that survival of arctic-alpine organisms in peripheral or interior glacial refugia are not mutually exclusive and may both be involved in shaping an organism’s Pleistocene history, yet potentially at different time levels (19). Isolated serpentine outcrops are among important evolutionary capacitors, preserving distinct karyological and genetic diversity. The serpentine lineages, however, may not represent evolutionary ‘dead-ends’ but rather dynamic systems with a potential to further influence the surrounding populations (18). The value of flow cytometry for cytotyping of samples from geographically remote areas can be compromised by the need for fresh tissue. This limitation was overcome by the fixation of isolated nuclei in ice-cold glycerol (20).


17. Trávníček, P. – Jersáková, J. – Kubátová, B. – Krejčíková, J. – Bateman, R. M. – Lučanová, M. -Krajníková, E. – Těšitelová, T. – Štípková, Z. – Amardeilh, J.-P. – Brzosko, E. – Jermakowicz, E. – Cabanne, O. – Durka, W. – Efimov, P. – Hedrén, M. – Hermosilla, C. E. – Kreutz, C. A. J. – Kull, T. – Tali, K. – Marchand, O. – Rey, M. – Schiestl, F. P. – Čurn, V. – Suda, J.: Minority cytotypes in European populations of the Gymnadenia conopsea complex (Orchidaceae) greatly increase intraspecific and intrapopulation diversity. Annals of Botany. Roč. 110, č. 5 (2012), s. 977–986.

18. Kolář, F. – Fér, T. – Štech, M. – Trávníček, P. – Dušková, E. – Schönswetter, P. – Suda, J.: Bringing together evolution on serpentine and polyploidy: spatiotemporal history of the ecologically differentiated diploid-tetraploid complex of Knautia arvensis (Dipsacaceae). PLoS ONE. Roč. 7, č. 7 (2012a), s. 1–13. (e39988) 

19. García, P. E. – Winkler, M. – Flatscher, R. – Sonnleitner, M. – Krejčíková, J. – Suda, J. – Hülber, K. – Schneeweiss, G. M. – Schönswetter, P.: Extensive range persistence in peripheral and interior refugia characterizes Pleistocene range dynamics in a widespread Alpine plant species (Senecio carniolicus –Asteraceae). Molecular Ecology. Roč. 21, č. 5 (2012), s. 1255–1270.

20. Kolář, F. – Lučanová, M. – Těšitel, J. – Loureiro, J. – Suda, J.: Glycerol-treated nuclear suspensions – an efficient preservation method for flow cytometric analysis of plant samples. Chromosome Research. Roč. 20, č. 2 (2012b), s. 303–315. 


Prevention and mitigation of cyanobacterial water blooms – new knowledge and technologies 

As an outcome of our effort to find effective and ecologically-feasible methods suitable for prevention and mitigation of cyanobacterial mass proliferations in water reservoirs, we published a detailed review summarizing currently available chemical methods applicable for management of cyanobacterial water  blooms, discussing pros and cons of use of individual chemicals, especially with the respect to their toxic effects on non-target organisms and their long-term impacts on ecosystem (21). We also demonstrated that cationic polyacrylamide-based organic flocculants are able to effectively remove cyanobacterial biomass from water column without causing a cell damage and lysis (22). Zerovalent iron nanoparticles were shown to effectively and selectively destroy cyanobacterial cells while being 20-100 times less toxic for other aquatic organisms, such as green algae, macrophytes, crustaceans or fish. Moreover, nanoparticles also reduced fraction of biologically available phosphorus and immobilized cyanobacterial toxins microcystins (23) and thus represent very promising material for cyanobacterial bloom management. Another perspective candidate group for control of cyanobacteria growth is represented by phthalocyanines, more specifically by those phthalocyanine derivatives displaying high toxicity for cyanobacteria and low toxicity for duckweed Lemna (24). In the case of hydrogen peroxide, which is well-known for its selective toxicity towards cyanobacteria, we observed that increasing photoperiod enhanced peroxide decomposition in the medium and thus resulted in a decrease of peroxide-toxicity for cyanobacteria (25). Application of polyaluminium chlorid quickly eliminates of phyplankton biomass from water column, however, these effects have only short-term duration and do not lead to any fundamental long-term changes in phytoplankton communities and improvement of environmental quality parameters of water reservoirs (26). Strategies for prevention of cyanobacteria mass proliferation include also reduction of available nutrient levels in aquatic ecosystems, for example by the use of membrane bioreactors in waste water treatment process. We published data from long-term monitoring of small waste water treatment plant, with a  full-scale membrane bioreactor, where also concentrations of extracellular polymers, which represent a major cause of membrane fouling, were monitored besides basic processing and qualitative parameters. This study showed that the treatment plant was highly efficient and the correlation between activated sludge quality and concentration of extracellular polymers was observed, as well as a considerable increase in the amounts DNA and carbohydrates occuring in the case of an insufficient amount of organic substrate (27-30).


21. Jančula, D. – Maršálek, B.: Critical review of actually available chemical compounds for prevention and management of cyanobacterial blooms. Chemosphere. Roč. 85, č. 9 (2011), s. 1415–1422.

22. Jančula, D. – Maršálková, E. – Maršálek, B.: Organic flocculants for the removal of phytoplankton biomass. Aquaculture International. Roč. 19, č. 6 (2011), s. 1207–1216.

23. Maršálek, B. – Jančula, D. – Maršálková, E. – Mashlan, M. – Šafářová, K. – Tuček, J. – Zbořil, R.: Multimodal action and selective toxicity of zerovalent iron nanoparticles against Cyanobacteria. Environmental Science and Technology. Roč. 46, č. 4 (2012), s. 2316–2323.

24. Jančula, D. – Maršálek, B.: The toxicity of phthalocyanines to the aquatic plant Lemna minor (duckweed) – Testing of 31 compounds. Chemosphere. Roč. 88, č. 8 (2012a), s. 962–965.

25. Mikula, P. – Zezulka, Š. – Jančula, D. – Maršálek, B.: Metabolic activity and membrane integrity changes in Microcystis aeruginosa – new findings on hydrogen peroxide toxicity in cyanobacteria. European Journal of Phycology. Roč. 47, č. 3 (2012), s. 195–206.

26. Jančula, D. – Maršálek, B.: Seven years from the first application of polyaluminium chloride in the Czech Republic – effects on phytoplankton communities in three water bodies. Chemistry and Ecology. Roč. 28, č. 6 (2012b), s. 535–544.

27. Holba, M. – Plotěný, K. – Dvořák, L. – Gómez, M. – Růžičková, I.: Full-scale applications of membrane filtration in municipal wastewater treatment plants. CLEAN – Soil, Air, Water. Roč. 40, č. 5 (2012), s. 479–486.

28. Gómez, M. – Dvořák, L. – Růžičková, I. – Holba, M. – Wanner, J.: Operational experience with a seasonally operated full-scale membrane bioreactor plant. Bioresource Technology. Roč. 121 (2012), s. 241–247.

29. Gómez, M. – Dvořák, L. – Růžičková, I. – Wannera, J. – Holba, M.: Influence of phosphorus precipitation on permeability and soluble microbial product concentration in a membrane bioreaktor. Bioresource Technology. Elsevier – v tisku.

30. Škorvan, O. – Holba, M. – Bodík, I. – Mikulášek, P.: Comparison of PES Membrane Chemical Cleaning Efficiency Using Different Protocols. Procedia Engineering, Roč. 44 (2012), s. 1860– 1863.