Course: Polar Ecology

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Course title Polar Ecology
Course code KBE/263
Organizational form of instruction Lecture
Level of course not specified
Year of study not specified
Frequency of the course In each academic year, in the summer semester.
Semester Summer
Number of ECTS credits 5
Language of instruction Czech
Status of course unspecified
Form of instruction Face-to-face
Work placements This is not an internship
Recommended optional programme components None
  • Kvíderová Jana, RNDr. Ph.D.
  • Bernardová Alexandra, Mgr.
  • Hájek Tomáš, RNDr. Ph.D.
  • Hromádková Tereza, Mgr.
  • Devetter Miloslav, RNDr. Ph.D.
  • Pechar Jan
  • Elster Josef, prof. Ing. CSc.
  • Ditrich Oleg, doc. RNDr. CSc.
  • Macek Petr, RNDr. Ph.D.
  • Pavel Václav, RNDr. Ph.D.
  • Šabacká Marie, Mgr. Ph.D.
Course content
Content of lectures: 1) Origin and evolution of polar regions (broke down of pracontinent Gondwana, continent movement, sea currents, air masses circulation, paleoecological records, isotope analyses) 2) Rotation of glacial and interglacial periods (astronomical and geographical factors, periglacial environment and its development, sedimentology, hydrology cycle) 3) Comparison of Arctic and Antarctic regions (comparison of glaciation in Arctic and Antarctic, energy exchange between polar and temperate regions, life dispersion to polar regions) 4) Climate of polar regions (astronomic, circulations, geographical and anthropogenic factors of polar climate, factors influencing the microclimate and vegetation climate in polar territories, climate change, methods of climatic studies) 5) Marine ecology of polar seas and oceans (marine currents, polynyas, Antarctic divergence and convergence, benthic and pelagic communities, life in sea ice, plants and animals of polar seas, parasites and symbionts of marine animals) 6) Polar soil and freshwater ecosystems (active layer, permafrost, cryoprocesses, polygonal soil, pingo, palsa, thufur, solifluction, limnetic and hydroterrestrial ecosystems, continental ice, life in soil and freshwater ecosystems) 7) Plants and their adaptations to polar environment (tundra, timberline, growth season duration, polar desert, mires, plant communities, vegetation development in postglacial period, phytogeography, morphological and physiological adaptations of plants) 8) Animals and their adaptation to polar environment (radiation, temperature, water, nutrients, survey of terrestrial, freshwater and marine polar animals, metabolic and physiological adaptations, dietary pyramid, autochthonous and alochthonous sources of nutrients, etc.) 9) Sensitivity of polar nature, polar law (Antarctic Treaty, Svalbard Treaty, etc.) 10) History of polar regions exploration (Arctic - Willem Barents 1596 - Svalbard discovery, Vitus Beringg, 1733 - 1742, Antarctica - James Cook, 1772, Oto Norenskjöld - cartography James Ross Island, 1901 - 1903, history of Czech participation in polar science, etc.)

Learning activities and teaching methods
Monologic (reading, lecture, briefing), Dialogic (discussion, interview, brainstorming), Work with text (with textbook, with book), Written action (comprehensive tests, clauses), Demonstration, Individual tutoring
  • Preparation for classes - 240 hours per semester
Learning outcomes
Polar Ecology course brings information about ecological functioning and biodiversity of both polar regions. The course contains the week lectures covering the following topics; microbiology, phycology, botany, plant physiology, zoology and parasitology and in less extend in climatology, glaciology, geology, geomorphology, hydrology, limnology. Students obtain credit at the end of field course in Svalbard. The course consists one week lectures (about 40 hours of lectures) which is followed by two weeks field research in Svalbard (research station Josef Svoboda). Students select which research group they will follow and discuss with supervisor which research they would prefer to do in the field. After arrival to Svalbard they learn about local environment and with help of group leader they start to work on their projects. After return to university they have two - three months to analyse all samples and evaluate collected data. After that there is organised weekend seminar where each student introduce data She/he collected and evaluated. The student's presentations are evaluated by whole group (students and supervisors). After that student write test. On base of presentation evaluation, writing test results students are invited for ral examination.
Polar ecology course, in its theoretical and practical part, helps to understand unstability of ecosystems in time. On base of Arctic ecosystem it brings information how central European ecosystems develop during Halocen. The course also brings information which methods we use in the study of the Arctic terrestrial ecosystem responses to climate changes. All these knowledge also helps to understand changes which occur in central Europe.
Polar ecology course is specialized course, which brings information about ecological functioning and biological diversity of terrestrial polar ecosystems. In addition, it brings information about impacts of climate change on arctic terrestrial ecosystem. The course is dedicated for advanced Master or PhD students. The course brings informations and used methods in all types of ecological and biological studies, which use field data, and data collected in Arctic environments.

Assessment methods and criteria
Written examination, Combined exam, Colloquium

Polar Ecology - the lecture is obligatorily connected with field exercise in Svalbard. I case that student cannot finish both parts it is necessary to cover expenses connected with field part of course.
Recommended literature
  • Aleksandrova VD (1988) The Arctic and Antarctic: their division into geobotanical areas. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge..
  • Avila-Jimenez ML et al. (2010) Overwintering of terrestrial Arctic arthropods: the fauna of Svalbard now and in the future. Polar Research 29: 127-137..
  • Beyer L. and Boelter M. (eds.) (2002) GeoEcology of Terrestrial Oases Ecological Studies, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg..
  • Callaghan TV et al. (2005) Arctic Tundra and Polar Desert Ecosystems 243 - 353. Arctic Climate Impact Assessment. Cambridge University Press pp. 1039..
  • Campbell B, Claridge GGC (1987) Antarctica: soils, weathering processes and environment. Cambridge..
  • Crawford RMM (1989) Plant studies to survival. Blackwell Scientific Publications..
  • Crawford RMM (2008) Plants at the margins. Ecological limits and climatic change. Cambridge University press..
  • Davie T (2008) Fundamentals of hydrology. London : Routledge, 200 s..
  • DeWalle DR and Rango A (2008) Principles of Snow Hydrology, Cambridge University Press; 420 s..
  • Elias SA (Ed.) (2006) Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science..
  • Elverland E. (2008) The Arctic System. Norvegian Polar Institute, 203 pp..
  • Evans DJA and Benn DI (2004) A Practical Guide to the Study of Glacial Sediments. 266 p.,.
  • Fogg GE (1998) The biology of polar habitats. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • French HM (2007) The Periglacial Environment. Third Edition. 478 p., Wiley, Chichester.
  • Friedmann EI (ed.) (1993) Antarctic microbiology. Wiley-Liss, NewYork.
  • Fuller B, Lane N. and Benson EE (eds.) (2004) Life In The Frozen State. Taylor and Francis, London, pp. 111- 149..
  • Gale SJ, Hoare PG (1991) Quaternary Sediments. Petrographic Methods for the Study of Unlithified Rocks. 323 p., Belhaven, London.
  • Gulliksen B. and Svensen E. (2004) Svalbard and Life in the Polar Oceans. Norvegian Polar Institute, 65 pp..
  • Hubbard B. and Glasser N. (2005) Field Techniques in Glaciology and Glacial geomorphology. 400 p., Wiley, ISBN 0-9544060-2-8, 608 pp.
  • Chapin, S.F. Jefferies, R.L. Raynolds J. Shaver, G.R and Svoboda J. (1992) Climatic Change and Arctic Ecosystem Response. The role of Ecophysiology. Academic Press 469 pp..
  • Kovac KM and Lydersen C. (2006) Birds and Mammals of Svalbard. Norvegian Polar Institute, 203 pp.
  • Last WM et al. (2001) Tracking Environmental Change Using Lake Sediments. Volume 3: Terrestrial, Algal, and Siliceous Indicators..
  • Last WM. Et al. (2001) Tracking Environmental Change Using Lake Sediments. Volume 4: Zoological Indicators..
  • Moen FM. and Svensen E. (2004) Marine Fish & Invertebrates of Northern Europe KOM Forlag, 608 pp.
  • Netopil R. (1984) Fyzická geografie. I., Hydrologie, limnologie, oceánografie. Praha : Státní pedagogické nakladatelství, n.p., 258 s..
  • Pielou EC (1992) After the Ice Age: The Return of Life to Glaciated North America. The University of Chicago Press (Google books).
  • Pielou EC (1994) Naturalists guide to the Arctic. The University of Chicago Press (Google books).
  • Singh P. (2001) Snow and Glacier Hydrology, Springer, 756 s..
  • Svoboda, J. and Freedman, B. (1994) Ecology of a polar oasis, Alexandra Fiord..
  • Tedrow JCF (1977) Soils of the polar landscapes. Rutgers University Press, New.
  • Tucker ME (2003) Sedimentary Rocks in the Field. Third Edition. 234 p., Wiley, Chichester.
  • Vincent WF, Laybourn-Parry J. (eds.) (2008) Polar Lakes and Rivers: Limnology of Arctic and Antarctic Aquatic Ecosystems. Oxford University Press..
  • Vincent WF (1988) Microbial ecosystem of Antarctica. Cambridge University Press,.

Study plans that include the course
Faculty Study plan (Version) Category of Branch/Specialization Recommended year of study Recommended semester