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Course, academic year 2023/2024
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Plant interactions - MB120P159
Title: Rostlinné interakce
Czech title: Rostlinné interakce
Guaranteed by: Department of Botany (31-120)
Faculty: Faculty of Science
Actual: from 2023
Semester: summer
E-Credits: 3
Examination process: summer s.:combined
Hours per week, examination: summer s.:2/0, Ex [HT]
Capacity: unlimited
Min. number of students: 5
4EU+: no
Virtual mobility / capacity: no
State of the course: taught
Language: Czech
Additional information:
Note: enabled for web enrollment
Guarantor: Mgr. Tomáš Koubek, Ph.D.
Teacher(s): RNDr. Jiří Hadrava, Ph.D.
Mgr. Eva Horčičková, Ph.D.
Mgr. Tomáš Koubek, Ph.D.
Mgr. Jakub Štenc
Is co-requisite for: MB120C22, MB120C21
Annotation -
Last update: RNDr. Zdeněk Janovský, Ph.D. (06.01.2022)
The lecture deals with the main ecological interactions of plants with exception of competition and mycorrhiza, namely herbivory, pollination and pathogens. Emphasis is placed on the introduction of basic ecological relationships, their influence on biological fitness and evolution of plants, both at the level of individual plant species and at the lavel of their communities.
The lecture is given by a team of lecturers from the Department of Botany consisting of Zdeněk Janovský (55% - pollination, herbivory of invertebrates), Eva Horčičková (20% - herbivory of vertebrates) and Tomáš Koubek (25% - fungal pathogens of plants, interactions with ants).
Literature -
Last update: Mgr. Tomáš Koubek, Ph.D. (25.01.2024)


Dafni, A, Kevan, PG, Husband, BC (2005): Practical pollination biology, Enviroquest, Cambridge, Canada, ISBN 9780968012307

Herrera, CM, Pellmyr, O (2002): Plant Animal Interactions: An Evolutionary Approach, Wiley Blackwell, London, United Kingdom, ISBN 978-0-632-05267-7

Waser, NM, Ollerton, J (2000): Plant-Pollinator Interactions: From Specialization to GeneralizationUniversity of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA, ISBN 978-0226874005


Crawley, MJ (2013): Plant ecology, Wiley Blackwell, London, United Kingdom, ISBN 978-8126542093

Herrera et Pellmyr (2002): Plant-Animal Interactions: An Evolutionary Approach

Danell, Duncan, Bergström, Pastor et al. (2006): Large herbivore ecology, ecosystem dynamics, and conservation

Vera (2000): Grazing Ecology and Forest History

Gordon et Prins (2008): The Ecology of Browsing and Grazing


Burdon J.J., Laine A. – L. Evolutionary dynamics of plant-pathogen interactions (2019)
Agrios G.N. – Plant pathology (2005) - only to skim through, mostly agricultural pathogens
Gilbert, G and Parker, I (2023) The Evolutionary Ecology of Plant Disease, Oxford University Press, Oxford, Germany - nice recent textbook


Historie interakcí


Labandeira, C. C. (2000). The Paleobiology of Pollination and its Precursors. The Paleontological Society Papers, 6, 233–270.

Labandeira, C. C., & Prevec, R. (2014). Plant paleopathology and the roles of pathogens and insects. International Journal of Paleopathology, 4(1), 1–16.

Requirements to the exam -
Last update: RNDr. Zdeněk Janovský, Ph.D. (06.01.2022)
The exam consists of an essay and review of a fellow student's essay. Requirements for the essay and the review are listed at Moodle webpage of the course. Should the student's essay be judged by the teachers as unacceptable, the student has to take na oral exam. The student at the substitute exam shall receive questions from all three areas of the lecture (pollination, herbivory, pathogens). To pass the exam, it is necessary to demonstrate satisfactory knowledge of all three areas (i.e. the exam cannot be obtained in the case of catastrophic ignorance of e.g. pollination, although the student has demonstrated excellent knowledge of the remaining two areas). The oral exam will be held in presence or distance form depending on the current epidemiological situation.
Syllabus -
Last update: RNDr. Zdeněk Janovský, Ph.D. (06.01.2022)
Prerequisites for successful completion of the lecture

We do not have any strict requirements on what you should know before writing our lecture, but we think it is appropriate to have some previous knowledge of general ecology and evolutionary biology (ideally if you have taken e.g. Introduction to Evolutionary Biology - MB170P55) and Ecology - MB170P75, but it is more about orientation in concepts and issues than some specific knowledge).

Syllabus and program of lectures
  Explanatory notes - ZJ - Zdeněk Janovský; EH - Eva Horčičková; TK - Tomas Koubek


1) General introduction (ZJ, TK, EH)

The types of interactions differentiated and which the plants enter. The types of interactions covered in the talk and those which are taught in separate lectures (mycorrhiza) or are covered in other ecological sourses (competitions, facilitation, epiphytism, symbiotic bacteria - Plant ecology, partly also parsitism and mycorrhiza; soil biota - Population biology of plants). Evolution of plant interactions (no longer limited to pollination, herbivoria and pathogen relationships) in the context of global ecosystem development. Selected uncommon interactions not covered by separate lectures - plant relationships with ants (myrmecochoria, domatia, non-fungal tritrophic plant interactions), nematodes and soil biota (brief introduction, more in Plant Population Biology).



2) Introduction to pollination - who are the actors, how they look and where they occur (ZJ)

Types of pollination in plants (evolutionary benefits and other consequences of pollination by abiotic vectors), overview of pollinator groups, their spread across biomes, pollination syndromes (flower characteristics leading to attraction of individual groups).


3) Pollination and small spatial scales - pollinators (ZJ)

Pollinator senses and memory (resolution - reflectance and guide UV patterns, sequence of visits and constants), pollen carryover capacity (detected and effective), rewards (types, behavioral effects, circadian changes), different reward collection strategies and their evolutionary biological rationale , the influence of spatial arrangement of plants on pollination on a range of meters - the role of flowering neighbors


4) Pollination and small spatial scales - plants (ZJ)

Flower morphology and preferences of pollinator groups, position of reproductive structures within flowers, phenology of inflorescence and its relation to plant reproductive system and life strategy, pollen (grain size and abundance, pollen grain / egg ratio, pollen viability) and its relation plant reproductive system and other aspects of life strategy, theft of rewards and morphology, pollinator manipulation by plants (flower mimicry, blooming flowers). Influence of other plant properties on the success of pollination.


5) Pollination and large spatial scales

Pollinator mobility and its impact on plant population structure, landscape structure and management effects on pollinator community composition, phenology and intergenerational interactions on pollinator community composition, geographical gradients, pollination networks tool for description and analysis of pollinator communities - network properties and their importance, differences between networks based on visits to the amount of pollen transferred and deposition; generalization within pollinator communities



6) Herbivory - general introduction (ZJ, EH)

What all the components of the plant biological herbivory impact (herbivory × plant predation), types of herbivory in terms of action (leaves, seeds - pre- and post-dispersion predation, roots, infestation of phloem and xylem, seedlings, frugivorie). Other effects of herbivores (pedaling, seed dispersion). Impacts of various types of herbivory damage on plants - herbivory of generative × vegetative parts, roots and stems × leaves, ontogenetic stages of organs (herbivory of young × old leaves). Methods of plant defense against herbivores - avoidance × tolerance, possibilities of regeneration, escape from herbivores in time and space, constitutive × induced defense, mechanical × chemical defense, specificity of herbivory defense. Some minor but interesting / important types of herbivory - root herbivory, bast and wood-eating (bark beetles, saproxylic insects etc.).


7) Herbivory of invertebrates and plant life cycle (ZJ)

Tolerance vs. avoiding herbivorisms (and pre- and post-dispersal seed predation and seedlings predation) implications for plants and their life cycle, impacts of individual herbivor functional groups on the plant life cycle, and possible evolutionary consequences. Methods of plant defense against herbivoria (types of secondary metabolites, mechanical defense, escape in time and space, induced defense) and their distribution across plant life strategies. Impacts of different timing of attack of herbivores due to phenology. Specialization vs. generalization of invertebrate herbivores, relation to specificity of defense. Completion of the topic in the following lecture.


8) Herbivory of invertebrates and effects of external conditions

Latitudinal Gradients of Form and Intensity of Invertebrate Herbivory (Dom
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