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Course, academic year 2019/2020
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Biological Invasions - MB162P24
Title in English: Biological Invasions
Czech title: Biologické invaze
Guaranteed by: Department of Ecology (31-162)
Faculty: Faculty of Science
Actual: from 2018
Semester: winter
E-Credits: 3
Examination process: winter s.:
Hours per week, examination: winter s.:2/0 Ex [hours/week]
Capacity: unlimited
Min. number of students: unlimited
State of the course: taught
Language: English
Guarantor: prof. RNDr. Adam Petrusek, Ph.D.
Teacher(s): prof. RNDr. Adam Petrusek, Ph.D.
Annotation -
Last update: prof. RNDr. Adam Petrusek, Ph.D. (12.12.2018)
This course is designed to introduce the student to the ecologically and economically important phenomenon of biological invasions, and to the related biological discipline that underwent a major boom in recent years. The course will provide information about processes facilitating invasions, invasion pathways, impacts, and possible mitigation strategies. Examples will be shown of globally important animal and plant invasive species, as well of those of importance in Central European context. The lectures will particularly focus on invasions as an ecological phenomenon, and on conservational implications (i.e., while pests and pathogens important in agriculture are considered when relevant, they won’t be main focus of the course).
The course assumes basic knowledge of ecological principles. It is suitable for wide range of audience, from advanced undergraduate students with interest in ecology, biodiversity and environmental issues, to doctoral students.
Literature -
Last update: prof. RNDr. Adam Petrusek, Ph.D. (28.05.2019)

The main study material are the presentations, provided in the PDF format to the students enrolled in the course. 

There are numerous websites dedicated to biological invasions, we can recommend in particular those od the project DAISIE:

Any recent book on invasion ecology may be also used for extended reading.

Requirements to the exam -
Last update: prof. RNDr. Adam Petrusek, Ph.D. (28.05.2019)

The course ends by oral exam (in English, Czech or Slovak). It starts with a presentation the student prepares on an invasive species of his/her choice. The presentation should introduce the species, its origin, introduction pathways, present distribution, impacts, and any other facts of biological or socioeconomical significance. Subsequently, the exam continues with discussion on selected topics from the course. To succeed, it is more important to understand the concepts and interpret them than to know lists of names or numbers.

Syllabus -
Last update: RNDr. Jana Rubešová, Ph.D. (14.09.2019)

1. Biological invasions: introduction
- phenomenon of biological invasions
- invasion biology as a young scientific field vs. biological invasions as an old phenomenon
- how species become invasive
- modes of ecological and economical impacts
- main functional and taxonomic groups of invasive species

2. Invasion process and pathways
- stages of invasion process
- barriers to invasions
- hypotheses explaining success of invasive species
- pathways of introduction (human-mediated vs. natural)
- evolutionary processes involved in biological invasions
- genetics of invasions

3. Animal and plant invasions in terrestrial environments
4. Invasions in freshwater and marine environments
(both above-mentioned lectures should have similar structure):
- main pathways of invasions specific for plants, vertebrates and invertebrates in the respective environments
- environment-specific modes of impact
- specific examples of important invasive species (taken from the lists of 100 worst invaders of the world and in Europe, respectively) demonstrating various aspects of invasions; these will always include:
o region of origin
o primary and secondary invasion pathway(s)
o history and dynamics of spread
o interaction with native species and communities
o other impacts

5. Emerging invasive diseases
- examples of emerging, important invader pathogens of wildlife (crayfish plague, chytridiomycosis of amphibians, white nose disease of bats, etc.)
- origin, impact and detection of the pathogens
- methodological approaches for detecting invasive pathogens

6. Conclusions: Impact and mitigation of biological invasions
- available procedures to prevent or stop invasions
- economic impacts and how to estimate them
- examples of successes and failures
- EU legislation on invasive alien species

The course is taught with the support of the project reg. number CZ.02.2.69/0.0/0.0/16_015/0002362
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