Research Facility in Studenec is very dynamic part of the Institute that has significantly evolved in last years. There are modern molecular-genetic, physiological and microscopic laboratories, breeding facility for small mammals, birds and amphibians (currently undergoing substantial reconstruction) and facilities allowing experiments in semi-natural conditions.
Empirical data from observations, laboratory analyses and experiments (supplemented by simulation modelling) are used for investigating important questions of evolutionary biology of populations. Research activities have mostly a nature of fundamental research but can be applied in biomedicine, species conservation and epidemiology. Examples of research topics are following (model organisms given in parentheses):
- hybrid zones as barriers against gene flow and their role in speciation (rodents);
- phylogeography, reconstruction of historical colonization and mechanisms of biodiversity evolution (mainly African rodents and amphibians);
- study of factors affecting population structure, conservation genetics (fish, rodents, carnivores);
- mating systems, analysis of reproductive success and factors affecting fitness (passerines);
- immunogenetics – links between adaptive genetic variation and fitness (rodents, passerines);
- host-parasite co-evolution, genetic variation of pathogens and their hosts (rodents, bats, pathogenic fungi, helminths, RNA-viruses);
- mechanisms and evolution of thermal physiology traits in ectotherms (newts);
- functional approaches in studying morphological adaptations (amphibians and reptiles).
The results of basic and applied research are presented to public in the frame of projects supported by the Vysočina Region, Norway Funds and Ministry of Education.