The beginnings of terrestrial invertebrate research at Masaryk University are connected to the foundation of the Department of Zoology and with its founder Jan Zavřel (1879-1946), who was appointed ordinary professor of zoology and director of the Department of Zoology in 1920. His main interest became the dipteran families Chironomidae and Ceratopogonidae, but due to the predominantly aquatic nature of their larvae he was more involved with freshwater habitats.
Also the first assistant employed at the Department, Vladimír Teyrovský (1898-1980), was an entomologist focusing on insect groups associated with aquatic habitats, namely Gerromorpha (Heteroptera) and Odonata. He was later appointed Professor of Zoology.
Professor Sergej Hrabě (1899-1984), was appointed as the new department head after World War II. His habilitation thesis was on the anatomy of enchytraeids, but he devoted most of his career to aquatic oligochaetous annelids.
Stanislav Obr (1913-2005), a student of Jan Zavřel, was an entomologist specializing in terrestrial Psocoptera as well as in aquatic Trichoptera. He became associated professor in 1954 and full professor in 1966, heading the Department from 1959 to 1971. Thanks to him, individual zoological fields started to differentiate within the Department.
Božena Folkmanová (1903-1960) was a respected specialist in centipedes. She joined the Department of Zoology in 1945, just after the end of World War II. On the basis of her habilitation thesis on Chilopoda, she was appointed associate professor in 1955, one of the first female professors at the Faculty.
Rudolf Rozkošný (*1938) joined the Department as an assistant in 1960 and became a renowned expert in Diptera conducting pioneering work on aquatic dipteran larvae, and on the taxonomy of several families of Brachycera, in particular Sciomyzidae and Stratiomyiidae. He was appointed professor of entomology in 1984. In 1997 he became head of the Department of Zoology and Ecology. In 2010 he became an honorary member of the Czech Entomological Society.
Associate professor Jaromír Vaňhara (*1947), joined the Department in 1996. In 1999 he was appointed full professor. His scientific interest has been the community ecology of Brachycera, but also the ecology and taxonomy of mosquitoes (Culicidae). Having an interest in several brachyceran families, he has devoted the last part of his career to the phylogeny, biosystematics, and ecology of Tachinidae.
In the second half of the 1990s Rudolf Rozkošný and Jaromír Vaňhara compiled a comprehensive inventory of terrestrial invertebrates of the UNESCO Pálava Biosphere Reserve within its enlarged borders (the current Lower Moravia Biosphere Reserve), a major biodiversity hotspot in the country. This involved coordinating a large number of co-authors – specialists on individual taxonomic groups. Both Rudolf Rozkošný and Jaromír Vaňhara have now reached retirement age but continue to pursue taxonomic studies on their groups of interest.
The long tradition of research on Diptera is being continued by Andrea Tóthová (*1979). She was instrumental in setting up a molecular laboratory for the phylogenetic study of invertebrates at the Department and has participated in many studies on various groups of nematoceran and brachyceran dipterans, having a position as a research fellow.
Studies in entomology are further continued by Igor Malenovský (*1978), a specialist in Hemiptera – Auchenorrhyncha and Psylloidea. A graduate of our university, he joined the Department in 2014 after several years of employment at the Moravian Museum in Brno.
Jiří Schlaghamerský (*1964) joined the Department in autumn 1999. He had previously received training in soil biology, specializing on the annelid family Enchytraeidae, and in environmental protection. Thus, in addition to continuing work on the ecology of saproxylic insects, he took over and developed the teaching of soil biology (which had had some, albeit interrupted, tradition at the Department) and has been devoting the greater proportion of his own research time to soil-living annelids. He has also been entrusted with delivering lectures on nature conservation, invertebrate systematics and (for several years) environmental protection. In 2014 he was appointed associate professor.
Stano Pekár (*1970) joined the Department in 2000 and was appointed associate professor in 2003 and full professor in 2012. Since 2015 he has been the head of the research group. Having specialized in the ecology and behaviour of spiders, he established arachnology as a new field of research at our Department. This is also reflected in his teaching, which primarily involves courses on population ecology, arachnology and statistics.