Doctoral Studies

Hydrobiology - Field

Brief description of field

The hydrobiology department in Brno focuses on the ecology of flowing waters including smaller standing floodplain waters. Students focus on research on the natural and anthropic environmental influences on populations, and on changes in the species and trophic structure of communities, their distribution, density, and reproduction. The main research program deals with the biology and ecology of populations of water invertebrates (species traits, life cycle, survival strategies). Control objects for research are populations of species from the orders Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera, and in recent years Cladocera, Copepoda a Ostracoda. Another long-term program is study of environmental parameters (patterns of currrent in watercourses, riverbed geomorphology, sediment, ecosystem types and human influences such as regulation of water flows, engineering works and their operations, pollution, acidification, etc.) on the populations and communities of water organisms. In recent years we have added study of trophic relations including construction of models of trophic networks and energy flows. Model subjects are algaes and slimes and bottom-dwelling invertebrates (micro-, meio-, and macrozoobentos) that fall within the required parameters. The study of biodiversity is an integral part of research. Research is directed toward understanding the importance of environmental changes in the areas under study, the use of these observations for evaluating the condition of the river ecosystem, and managed conservation and use of water courses; revitalization projects; and for ecologically sustainable management of natural ecosystems. Secondary substances and energy inputs into the ecosystem are evaluated with the goal of either limiting them, or strengthening the ecological relations in the system as close as possible to the optimum degree. Observations from research on biodiversity include check lists of water invertebrates in major and minor habitats, accompanied by basic biological and ecological descriptions of species.

Profile of a typical graduate

Graduates are fully schooled in the problems of exology of flowing waters, with basic knowledge of the ecology of standing waters, ecotoxocology of the water environment, production ecology, and related fields. They are specialists in certain taxonomic groups, with expanded knowledge of taxonomy, and identification and biology of water invertebrates and vertebrates. Graduates find employment as specialists and researchers at research institutions of the Ministry of the Environment, the Academy of Sciences CR , and the universities. Because graduates are well-informed on all trends in research on flowing waters, their knowledge is comparable to that of graduates of Vienna University, or other European universities, and they are therefore highly employable abroad.

Requirements for applicants

The applicant for the diploma program in hydrobiology must be a university graduate, with concentration on ecology and hydrobiology, and expanded knowledge of systems and biology of invertebrates and vertebrates, or lower and higher plants, already holding the title of Mgr. (RNDr.), or equivalent title from a school abroad. The applicant must take an entrance examination on the topics of hydrobiology, biology, and invertebrate and vertebrate systems or, with the specialty of algology, biology and lower and higher plant systems. A required part of the entrance examination is demonstration of proficiency in English (part of the test will be held in the English language). At the entrance exam applicants must explain the basic topic of their selected diploma thesis, and present their own opinions on how to solve the problem.

Study requirements and completion of studies

Individual study plan

The advisor together with the doctoral candidate will prepare a general three (four) year plan, and a detailed plan of studies for the first year. The general plan is an outline of stages, and contains clear time frames for field in laboratory work for gathering and processing of data, evaluation, and writing of the dissertation work. Also included in this plan is a date for taking the test in English (if the applicant cannot show an appropriate document to that effect at the application interview), and usually an internship at domestic and foreign departments, or independent participation at academic conferences, seminars, or workshops. A concrete study plan for the 1st year includes the required lectures for all doctoral students (by agreement between the biology department and the doctoral committee in biology). It also includes active participation in seminars and in teaching (max. 2 hours a week). The study plan for the next two years includes required attendance of seminars and individual lectures, and independent study of literature according to the schedule or upon agreement with the advisor (min. 6 – 8 lecture hours), mostly within the first two years.

Range and content of state doctoral exams, required knowledge

At the conclusion of their studies doctoral candidates must take the state exam before a committee of specialists, and exams in the subject of their concentration and fields related to their work. The committee usually consists of five members, and consists of faculty and external specialists named to the committee by the faculty leadership. The oral exam deals with ecology of flowing waters with focus on communities in terms of structure, interrelationships, and bio-production. Questions from related fields usually deal with hydraulic and hydrological parameters, individual substance cycles, bioaccumulation of contaminating substances, etc. The oral part of the state exam should not last longer than 1 hour. By the time the state exam is taken, the doctoral student must show proof proficiency in English, and given an academic lecture or written commentary with discussion in English. To be submitted with the state exam will be a publication written in English on preliminary results, published in a respected domestic or international journal.

Requirements for doctoral work

Dissertation work must be completely new, first results on the given topic, or it can consist of a number of already-published articles accompanied by the doctoral student’s commentary. Dissertation work may be written in Czech with a broad English summary. If a foreign opponent for the work is chosen, the article must be translated into English. A required part of the materials accompanying the state exam is an extensive summary of results in the English language. The summary will also contain a list of the doctoral candidate’s previous publications. The defense of the dissertation work takes place before a commission composed of an advisor, the chairman of the hydrobiology department’s academic council, 2 opponents, and possibly other specialists depending on the topic and conclusions of the opponents. Upon the agreement of the chairman of the academic council, the opponents propose an advisor. Unlike the oral exams, the defense of the dissertation work is public, but should not take longer than two hours.

 

Sample topics of dissertation work:

  • Biodiversity of selected ecosystems focusing on bioindicators and environment  
  • Survival strategies of selected hydrobionts  
  • Macrozoobentos as a bioindicator of factors affecting regulation and hydrologic regime of watercourse  
  • Dynamic processes in ecosystems of watercourses and rivercourse pools.  
  • The trophic chain in ecosystems of watercourses and rivercourse pools

     

Individual study plan

Individual study plan

The advisor together with the doctoral candidate will prepare a general three (four) year plan, and a detailed plan of studies for the first year. The general plan is an outline of stages, and contains clear time frames for field in laboratory work for gathering and processing of data, evaluation, and writing of the dissertation work. Also included in this plan is a date for taking the test in English (if the applicant cannot show an appropriate document to that effect at the application interview), and usually an internship at domestic and foreign departments, or independent participation at academic conferences, seminars, or workshops. A concrete study plan for the 1st year includes the required lectures for all doctoral students (by agreement between the biology department and the doctoral committee in biology). It also includes active participation in seminars and in teaching (max. 2 hours a week). The study plan for the next two years includes required attendance of seminars and individual lectures, and independent study of literature according to the schedule or upon agreement with the advisor (min. 6 – 8 lecture hours), mostly within the first two years.

List of members of doctoral committee

List of supervisors

Commission for state doctoral exams and defenses

List of current doctoral topics

Department pages


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