Mastomys natalensis

The Vertebrate Research Group aims at the study of evolution, ecology and behaviour of small mammals, bats in particular.

We organize university lectures and courses about various aspects of vertebrate life and supervise BSc, MSc and PhD theses as part of zoology studies.

Our interests concern the morphology, ecology, behavioural ecology, phylogenetics and systematics of vertebrates, mainly bats, shrews and rodents. The multidisciplinary research is based on interconnection of classical ecological (composition and diversity of mammalian assemblages), genetic (phylogenetics and phylogeography) and behavioural approaches. A particular attention is given to their ecto- and endoparasites, focusing on co-evolution and co-adaptation with their hosts. Long-term changes of species diversity and population abundance are also monitored, with respect to human and environmental impact.

The study of bats has been established in 1969, when Jiří Gaisler, one of the two founders of modern Czech chiropterology, moved from the Academy of Sciences to the Masaryk University. Since that time the vertebrate research has been carried out in close cooperation with the Institute of Vertebrate Biology, AS CR.

News & highlights


February: The national zoological conference “Zoological days” (Zoologické dny) was hold in Brno with a plenary talk (Bíl M., Bartonička T.: Zvířata na silnicích, aneb riskantní počínání na obou stranách – křest nové knihy; a launching ceremony of a new book from Tomáš Bartonička: Animals on roads), 15 talk and seven poster contributions from VRG students or staff members.

Among them, (1) our bachelor student Karel Kotoul was awarded by the Czech Entomological Society for the best talk on an entomological topic (Kotoul K., Konečný A., Bartonička T.: Jak motýli unikají před netopýry: interakce mezi predátorem a kořistí; on anti-predator escaping strategies of moths confronted with bat predators).

(2) our PhD student Kryštof Horák was awarded by the Czech Ornithological Society for the best talk on an ornithological topic (Horák K., de la Hera I., Pérez-Rigueiro J., Javier Rojo F., Tomášek O., Kauzál O., Albrecht T.: Komparační studie mechanických vlastností ručních letek pěvců tropické a temperátní zóny; on comparison of mechanistic traits in feather of tropical versus temperate passerines).


February: Our master student Veronika Chalupová has been successful to obtain a year financial support from the Grant Agency of Masaryk University (“Support for outstanding diploma theses”) for her diploma research project about genetic structure of Apodemus agrarius Central European populations


March: Our master student Mořic Jurečka has been successful to obtain a MU rector’s financial support for his diploma research project about odour repellent effects on wildlife behavior.

February: Elementary school pupils visited the VRG vertebratological collection at the Department of Botany and Zoology and attended talk about Moravian vertebrate species, glinding and active flying in vertebrates (bats specifically); guided by Adam Konečný and Jana Křemenová.


June: Masaryk University celebrates 100 years. During “Den absolventů” event, a lecture on the methods of the bat research has been hold and people could see live bats.

May: During the Campus Day, Jana Křemenová and Tomáš Bartonička entertained students and staff at Masaryk University by counting bats.

March: We regularly raise public awareness of vertebrate biology and conservation by lectures for public or schools. On the 8th of March a lecture on chondrichthyans has been hold for the 2nd clasess (8 years old children) of the elementary school in Hustopeče.

February: Monitoring bat populations has a long tradition in the Czech Republic. A regular winter census has taken place in one of important moravian cave, Ochozská cave, in the Moravian karst. See our team on Czech TV news.