The Main Research Topics

Ecology and algal biodiversity in wetland and terrestrial ecosystems

We investigate the spatial and temporal dynamics of algal biodiversity and its relation to abiotic ecological factors. In this context, we study the spatial heterogeneity of phytobentos in peat bog ecosystems, small streams and aero-terrestrial habitats. As a traditional part of our research for last 20 years, we investigate the silica-scaled chrysophytes – their taxonomy, seasonal dynamics, world-wide biogeography, ecology and bioindication potential in freshwater ecosystems.

Phylogenetics and evolutionary history of algae

We are looking for new or little known evolutionary lineages in aero-terrestrial biotopes of Central and Southern Europe and South-East Asia. Moreover, we examine the cryptic diversity within traditional morphospecies of desmids, chrysophytes, and diatoms. For the phylogenetic reconstructions and their interpretation, we use the combination of molecular methods and both traditional and modern morphological methods (confocal microscopy, geometric morphometrics).

Experimental morphology of algae

Our research is concentrated on the investigation of shape variation in natural or experimental populations of selected algal genera (Micrasterias, Scenedesmus, Pediastrum, Mallomonas, Pseudococcomyxa). We investigate the potential of geometric morphometric methods in algal systematics, ecology and biomonitoring as well as the influence of stress factors on algal morphology and phenotypic plasticity. The another part of our research involves the confocal-microscopic investigation and 3-D reconstructions of algal chloroplasts in different taxonomic or phylogenetic studies.