The Czech Antarctic Station of J.G. Mendel represents a unique research infrastructure not only at the national level. It is the only Czech research facility with long-term multidisciplinary research aimed at the ice-free terrestrial ecosystems and geosystems of Antarctica. The station is located in the northern part of James Ross Island, near Antarctic Peninsula. It has been built in 2006 and owned by the Masaryk University, Brno, Czechia since its construction. The base is operational during the austral summer, i.e. typically from January to March.
The basic concept of the station calls for ecological requirements to be met in a realistic way by using the renewable sources of energy (wind power, solar radiation). Many technical solutions innovative in the context of Antarctic stations. The result is a modern and ecologically sophisticated polar research facility that offers suitable conditions for the stay of a crew of up to 16 members. The station offers high accommodation quality (single/double/triple bedrooms), temperature comfort of the rooms, personal sanitary facilities (hot and cold water, showers, toilets), and provides the basic conditions for scientific work including “dry” and “wet” laboratories with necessary laboratory equipment.
The maintenance and technical rooms for the technical support of the scientific activities are fully equipped with handicraft and manufacturing tools including a welding unit, compressor, mobile diesel-powered electric generators and electrical appliances (grinding machines, drills, saws, soldering lamps, etc.). For coastal transportation within the research territory, there are three Zodiac motorboats available; in case of unsuitable weather conditions for sea navigation there are two all-terrain vehicles to support land operations. Well-trained technical staff at the station is always ready to assist the scientists.
Contact for further references: Dr. Pavel Kapler
The Eco-Nelson station on Nelson Island, in the South Shetlands Archipelago, was the only privately owned research station in the Antarctic, founded by the Czech Jaroslav Pavlíček in 1988. In 2017, the station was donated to the Czech Antarctic Foundation, which has rented the station for 99 years to the CARP with the Masaryk University to operate it. The station has been renamed to Cz*ECO Nelson and reconstruction works have begun to improve the building condition and create the scientific facilities comparable to those at the J.G. Mendel Station to allow research activities on Nelson Island. Currently, the scientific investigations are focused on the fields of climatology, ornithology and plant physiology. The station is located in an ice-free oasis of 4 km2 area on the nothern tip of the island. The ice-free area has rugged relief, but is also amply covered by vegetation, as far as the harsh conditions allow. The climate is warmer and oceanic due to exposition to strong westerly winds and temperate air masses, compared to the leeward position of James Ross Island with more continental climate.
Contact for further references: Dr. Pavel Kapler
The research group Polar-Geo-Lab is focused on the investigation and long-term monitoring of various Antarctic abiotic environments, i.e., glaciers, permafrost, atmosphere and hydrosphere, under changing climate conditions. Polar-Geo-Lab has available basic field and laboratory equipment enabling the research of Antarctic atmospheric, glacier, permafrost and lacustrine geo- and eco-systems and their ongoing and past changes. Polar-Geo-Lab is divided into two main working groups: 1) Climate-Glacier working group, which focuses on meteorology, climatology and glaciology, and 2) Geoscientific working group, concentrating on geomorphological processes, permafrost and periglacial environments, and (palaeo)limnology.
Contact for further references: Assoc. Prof. Daniel Nývlt, PhD
Polar Biology laboratory consists of two units: (1) Extreme Environments Life Laboratory and (2) Czech Collection of Microorganisms. The first one focuses the attention to stress physiology of polar autotrophs such as e.f. mosses, lichens, algae and cyanobacteria. The scope of the second one are heterotrophic microorganisms, such as e.g. bacteria and fungi.
The Extreme Environments Life Laboratory (EEL) is a part of the facilities serving for the research related to Antarctica (mainly localities along the Antarctic peninsula) and Arctics (mainly Svalbard). In general senseGenerally, its mission is to investigate the responses of extremophilic polar organisms, autotrophic lichens, algae and cyanobacteria in particularwith relation to environmental stressors. Main research directions are: (1) stress physiology of extremophilic autotrophs from polar regions, such as cyanobacteria, algae, lichens and mosses. (2) optimization of cultivation techniques of Antarctic autotrophs, (3) responses of polar algae, cyanobacteria, lichens and mosses to ongoing climate changes, atmospheric warming and ozone hole in particular, (4) collection and taxonomy of autotrophs from Antarctica. The EEL laboratory is well equipped for laboratory -based experiments focused on resistance of polar autotrophs to stress factors. In last two decades, advanced biophysical methods have been used in photosynthetic studies of polar autotrophs.
Contact for further references: Prof. Miloš Barták
The Czech Collection of Microorganisms (CCM) is a Biological Resource Centre (BRC) that serves as a depository and distribution facility for bacterial and filamentous fungal cultures intended for research, industrial applications, education and general scientific interest. The CCM cultures are mainly stored as freeze-dried ampoules or in liquid nitrogen, while some fungi are maintained under paraffin oil or in distilled water. Over the last two decades, increasing attention has been paid to Antarctic bacteria and fungi. Currently, CCM has a special collection of Antarctic isolates containing about 10,000 strains of bacteria and rock-inhabiting fungi. Some of these microbial isolates are available to other researchers as they have been included in the Czech Antarctic Microbial Biobank (CAMB). The bacterial strains were isolated from various sources such as water, lake sediments, soil, rock fragments, cryoconite and animals. Research on Antarctic bacterial isolates focuses mainly on the biodiversity and taxonomy of different bacterial groups, e.g. psychrophilic, oligotrophic or heterotrophic or animal-associated bacteria. Special attention is paid to the Gram-positive bacteria that produce antibacterial compounds. Research on microscopic fungi focuses primarily on the study of the species diversity and taxonomy of black microcolonial fungi inhabiting rock surfaces.
Contact for further references: Prof. Ivo Sedláček