Vegetation Science Group

Department of Botany and Zoology | Faculty of Science | Masaryk University

PLADIAS: Plant Diversity Analysis and Synthesis Centre

Centre of Excellence funded by the Czech Science Foundation
(2014–2018, project no. 14-36079G)


Central Europe belongs to areas with the best available botanical data globally, which makes it an ideal model region to study evolution of temperate plant diversity and community assembly. However, this potential is often unexplored and many facets of temperate plant diversity are thus poorly understood due to limited integration of existing data. PLADIAS Centre of Excellence is a unique project, which will, for the first time, use ecoinformatics approaches to integrate all available data on flora and vegetation for a national territory in a single database, update them and link them with newly collected data. The resulting database will be interfaced with international databases, and made available to a broader scientific community and the public in an online portal. For the PLADIAS team this will open novel ways of addressing fundamental questions of plant community ecology and macroecology, related in particular to:

  • Trade-offs in life histories of temperate plants as a determinant of trait spectra in large species sets
  • Community assembly from the available species pools
  • Species-based and habitat-based determinants of plant invasions


  • Department of Botany and Zoology, Masaryk University, Brno (institutional coordinator and the coordinator of the the whole project: Milan Chytrý)
  • Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (institutional coordinator: Petr Pyšek)
  • Department of Botany, University of South Bohemia, České Budějovice (institutional coordinator: Jan Lepš)

Work Packages

Scheme of the work flow between individual work packages (WP) and deliverables. Thick two-directional arrows within WP boxes indicate stronger integration between particular tasks, thin one-directional arrows indicate support from one task for another. Large black arrows indicate work and data flow between work packages, and large empty arrows denote deliverables.

Work Package 1: Infrastructure building on the national level (WP leader: Zdeněk Kaplan)

General task: Integration of currently isolated or partially integrated databases and other information sources on all levels of vascular plant diversity from populations through communities to regional flora into a single information platform at the national level. At the same time critical revision of all data sources will be done. This will create an internationally unique infrastructure, a necessary background for the main aims of the project, i.e. synthetic ecological and biogeographical studies.

  • Specific tasks:
  • Establishment of a bibliographic database for the Czech flora
  • Compilation of a national electronic database of plant distribution records for scientific purposes
  • Continuous updating of the Czech National Phytosociological Database
  • Critical revision of plant distribution records available in the existing databases, addition of new data from other sources, and publication of grid maps of plant distribution
  • Critical revision of the taxonomic diversity of vascular plants in the Czech Republic and publication of the New Key to the flora of the Czech Republic
  • Construction of the phylogenetic tree of the Czech flora
  • Update of the database of traits of alien species of the Czech flora
  • Update of CLO-PLA – a database of clonal growth architecture of central-European plants
  • Update and integration of so far isolated databases of plant traits – CzechFlor
  • PLADIAS database – Integration of plant-trait, plant distribution and vegetation-plot data into a single platform

Data flow from individual databases to the PLADIAS database and to the Flora-CZ online portal of botanical data. White boxes indicate databases managed and owned by the project team, grey boxes databases of other parties available for the PLADIAS project.

Work Package 2: International integration of database infrastructure (WP leader: Milan Chytrý)

General task: Multifaceted international cooperation towards extending or linking parts of the infrastructure developed at the national level to central European and European scale.

  • Specific tasks
  • Standardizing and formalizing vegetation classification on the European scale in cooperation within the European Vegetation Survey working group
  • Interfacing data on Czech flora with similar data sources in central European countries, in particular with the DAISIE database
  • Data contributions to international initiatives

Work Package 3: Plant diversity and function at a large scale: analysis of patterns and drivers (WP leaders: Jan Lepš and Petr Pyšek)

General task: Testing general macroecological hypotheses on phylogenetic and biogeographical structure of current floras, its trait spectra and life history trade-offs, functional diversity of vegetation, underlying historical and evolutionary processes, assemblage of communities from the available species pools, plant diversity response to global change and patterns, causes and effects of plant invasions.

  • Specific tasks
  • Identification of major trade-offs in life history strategies, namely in vegetative propagation and seed reproduction traits in central European flora
  • Identification of the key evolutionary contingencies in the current trait structure at the level of species, and separating them from trade-offs that are under recent selection and hence phylogenetically independent
  • Examination of the cell-level correlates of major trade-offs in plant trait spectra, with a focus on major environmental limitations
  • Comparison of functional diversity of reproductive traits in communities and patterns of functional diversity of growth traits
  • Analysis of the patterns of functional diversity of plant communities, its correlation with the patterns of species diversity and underlying processes
  • Quantification of the relationships between species pools and alpha diversity with a focus on causes and effects
  • Assessment of the effect of environment, vegetation types and functional traits on species beta niche
  • Analysis of nestedness in plant communities across large gradients
  • Identification of central European hotspots of fine-scale richness of native and alien plant species and searching for regional (species pool) and local factors responsible for their development
  • Exploring phylogenetic structure of central European plant communities and interactions between phylogenetic relatedness and invasion patterns
  • Disentangling relative contributions of biological and environmental determinants to plant invasions on a regional scale
  • Identifying specific plant traits that affect species invasiveness in different habitats
  • Assessing factors that affect species naturalization
  • Assessing the effects of species pools in source areas on habitat invasibility

Work Package 4: Applications and outreach (WP leader: Jiří Danihelka)

General task: Providing online access to basic data on plant diversity to national and international scientific community and to broader public.

  • Specific tasks
  • Launching a www portal integrating basic information on plant diversity of the Czech Republic, with data resources both for scientific community and the public
  • Producing English-language books summarizing information collected within a project