1/ Horizontal gene transfer in grasses
We found that wild barleys harbour surprising amounts of foreign genetic material (DNA), originating from unrelated grasses. The foreign DNA was isolated and characterized, however, the mode of its acquisition by barleys is unknown. Nevertheless, both the nature and amount of the foreign DNA suggests, that its presence in barleys is due to multiple horizontal gene transfers, that is, it was transferred by mechanisms other than reproduction. Such a transfer is uncommon and rare in higher plants.

Hordeum comosum from the Ands belongs to those barley species harbouring surprising amount of foreign genetic material. Photo by Frank Blattner

2/ Flora and vegetation of the Czech Republic: a monograph
A team of leading Czech botanists published the first comprehensive botanical summary about this country. This monograph includes accounts of the history of botanical research, diversity of vascular plants, bryophytes and lichens, vegetation changes from the late Pleistocene to the present, impact of alien species and conservation of threatened plants. This book is an essential reference for any botanist and plant ecologist searching for information on flora and vegetation in Central Europe.

3/ Accumulation of alien species creates global invasion hotspots
International team led by IB authors published the first global flora of naturalized alien plants and, based on distribution of over 13,000 plant species introduced by humans beyond their native range, identified current hotspots of plant invasions. In follow up papers, we compared plant data with invertebrates and vertebrates and showed that coastal areas and islands are at highest risk. The dynamics of introduction over last centuries revealed no signs of saturation, or slowing down.

Hotspot and coldspot regions for alien species richness across eight taxonomic groups (vascular plants, ants, spiders, freshwater fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals). Areas in red are over-represented and in blue under-represented compared to expected richness of naturalized aliens based on region area, taking sampling effort into account. Taken from Dawson et al., Nature Ecology and Evolution 2017, 1: 0186.