Research Facility in Studenec is a very dynamic part of the Institute that has significantly evolved in last years. There are modern molecular-genetic/genomic, physiological and microscopic laboratories, breeding facility for small mammals, birds and amphibians (completely reconstructed in 2018) and facilities allowing experiments with birds and amphibians in semi-natural conditions.
Empirical data from field observations, laboratory analyses and experiments are used for investigating important questions of ecological and evolutionary biology of populations. Research activities have mostly a nature of fundamental research but can be applied in biomedicine, conservation of species and whole ecosystems and epidemiology of emerging zoonoses. Examples of research topics are following (main model organisms given in parentheses):
- hybrid zones as barriers of gene flow and their role in speciation (rodents, passerine birds);
- mechanisms and evolution of thermal physiology traits in ectotherms (newts);
- phylogeography, reconstruction of historical colonization, distribution of diversity and evolutionary processes in biodiversity hot-spots (mainly African small mammals and amphibians);
- factors affecting population structure, conservation genetics (galliform birds, rodents, carnivores);
- microbiome evolution in guts (rodents, passerines) and feathers (birds);
- mating systems, analysis of reproductive success and factors affecting fitness (passerine birds);
- 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);
- functional approaches in studying morphological adaptations (amphibians, reptiles, rodents).
The results of basic and applied research are presented to public in the frame of projects supported by the Vysočina Region, Norway Funds, Czech Ministry of Education, and Academy of Sciences (Strategy AV21).