During the autumn conference of the Czech Society for Ecology in České Budějovice, the Vojtěch Jarošík Award for an excellent student publication in ecology was announced for the first time. Thie award will be given out annually by the Department of Ecology, Charles University in Prague and the Czech Society for Ecology, and is acoompanied by monetary prize of 10 thousand CZK. The award should honor the excellent Czech ecologist, Professor Vojtěch Jarošík (1958-2013), who succumbed to severe illness at the peak of his creative powers. As the founder of the Department of Ecology, Charles University, he made a significant contribution to the success of this field of science at Charles University.
13 student first-author scientific papers were submitted to the competition. Although we tried to extend the information about the Award to all relevant academic institutions in the Czech Republic, in the end only students from two universities applied: from Charles University in Prague (10 papers from five different departments) and Masaryk University in Brno (3 paper). The submitted papers nevertheless very well represented the range of topics and methodological approaches that contemporary ecology deals with, from macroecology to behavioral and molecular ecology, invasion biology, metacommunity research, host-pathogen and predator-prey interactions to the structure and function of microbial communities.
It is worth noting the gender imbalance among the authors of the submitted papers – in the ratio of eleven to two, female students dominated! Although this dominance of women among biology students is obvious at a first glance – just look in the auditorium during one of the basic undergraduate lectures – such a significant disparity was unexpected. We will see in the next years whether it was just a random fluctuation.
The submitted papers were assessed by a thirteen-member expert committee composed of representatives of the Czech Society for Ecology and of the Department of Ecology, Charles University. Each member of the commitee had to select three outstanding papers based on their originality and contribution to ecological knowledge. It was not an easy task at all, because in all cases the submitted papers were of a high quality, often having been published in highly prestigious periodicals. Only four of the thirteen entries were not shortlisted by at least one of the commitee members. But of course, there were several publications that scored more often than others.
Veronika Kalusová from the Department of Botany and Zoology, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, clearly won the Vojtěch Jarošík Award for 2013-2014. She was chosen for her work “Alien species pool influences the level of habitat invasion in intercontinental exchange of alien species” published in Global Ecology and Biogeography. The success of the publications of Barbora Černá Bolfíková from the Department of Zoology, Charles Universit, Eva Líznarová from the Faculty of Science, Masaryk University and Jana Voříšková from the Institute of Microbiology of the Czech Academy of Sciences is also worth mentioning. The works of these three authors ended up with an equal number of votes at the shared 2nd to 4th place. However, other papers submitted to the competition also show that many students at our universities are able to turn their research into high-ranking publications.
We firmly hope that the high bar set in the first year of the competition will be maintained (or the newly published articles will move it further up) also in the next years, and that students from additional universities will apply this time as well…
Top-rated publications nominated for the Vojtěch Jarošík Award for 2017
1. Kalusová V., Chytrý M., Peet R.K. & Wentworth T.R.(2014): Alien species pool influences the level of habitat invasion in intercontinental exchange of alien species. Global Ecology and Biogeography 23: 1366–1375. DOI: 10.1111/geb.12209
2.-4. Bolfíková B., Konečný A., Pfäffle M., Skuballa J. & Hulva P. (2013) Population biology of establishment in New Zealand hedgehogs inferred from genetic and historical data: conflict or compromise? Molecular Ecology 22: 3709–3720. DOI: 10.1111/mec.12331
2.-4. Líznarová E. & Pekár S. (2013) Dangerous prey is associated with a type 4 functional response in spiders. Animal Behaviour 85: 1183-1190. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2013.03.004
2.-4. Voříšková J. & Baldrian P. (2013) Fungal community on decomposing leaf litter undergoes rapid successional changes. ISME Journal 7: 477-486. DOI: 10.1038/ismej.2012.116
Other submitted papers (in alphabetical order)
Černajová I. & Svoboda D. (2014): Lichen compounds of common epiphytic Parmeliaceae species deter gastropods both in laboratory and in Central European temperate forests. Fungal Ecology 11: 8-16. DOI: 10.1016/j.funeco.2014.03.004
Ferenc M., Sedláček O., Fuchs R. Dinetti M., Fraissinet M. & Storch D. (2014): Are cities different? Patterns of species richness and beta diversity of urban bird communities and regional species assemblages in Europe. Global Ecology and Biogeography 23: 479-489. DOI: 10.1111/geb.12130
Jandová K., Klinerová T., Müllerová ., Pyšek P., Pergl J., Cajthaml T. & Dostál P. (2014): Long-term impact of Heracleum mantegazzianum invasion on soil chemical and biological characteristics. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 68: 270–278. DOI: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2013.10.014
Kadochová Š. & Frouz J. (2014): Red wood ants Formica polyctena switch off active thermoregulation of the nest in autumn. Insectes Sociaux 61: 297-306. DOI. 10.1007/s00040-014-0356-4
Kopalová K., Nedbalová L., Nývlt D., Elster J. & de Vijver B.V. (2013): Diversity, ecology and biogeography of the freshwater diatom communities from Ulu Peninsula (James Ross Island, NE Antarctic Peninsula). Polar Biology 36: 933–948. DOI: 10.1007/s00300-013-1317-5
Rádková V., Bojková J., Křoupalová V., Schenková J., Syrovátka V. & Horsák M. (2014): The role of dispersal mode and habitat specialisation in metacommunity structuring of aquatic macroinvertebrates in isolated spring fens. Freshwater Biology 59: 2256–2267. DOI: 10.1111/fwb.12428
Horáčková J., Horsák M. & Juřičková L. (2014): Land snail diversity and composition in relation to ecological variations in Central European floodplain forests and their history. Community Ecology 15: 44–53. DOI: 10.1556/ComEc.15.2014.1.5
Svoboda J., Strand D.A., Vrålstad T., Grandjean F., Edsman L., Kozák P., Kouba A., Fristad R.F., Koca S.B. & Petrusek A. (2014): The crayfish plague pathogen can infect freshwater-inhabiting crabs. Freshwater Biology 59: 918–929. DOI: 10.1111/fwb.12315
Vokurková J., Petrusková T., Reifová R., Kozman A., Mořkovský L., Kipper S., Weiss M., Reif J., Dolata P.T. & Petrusek A. (2014): The Causes and Evolutionary Consequences of Mixed Singing in Two Hybridizing Songbird Species (Luscinia spp.). PLoS ONE 8: e60172. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060172