Aims and benefits of the project
The main aim of the BIOM project is to establish a regional educational centre for the study of biodiversity dynamics, with the aim of increasing biodiversity awareness in students at all educational levels, professionals in the various conservation fields and the general public. An interactive approach will be used to increase motivation and awaken interest in biodiversity conservation in all target groups.
With the BIOM project we want to continue a series of successful Institute projects aimed at science popularisation and improving networking between research institutions, secondary schools, universities and conservation organisations (over the last three years, the Institute of Vertebrate Biology has supervised a number of OP VK1 projects, including PROVAZ, Science with all senses, the NextGenProject and ConGRESS, a project under the 7th EU Framework program (see www.ivb.cz and www.congressgenetics.eu for further details).
One of the main aims of the project is the creation of a National Animal Genetic Bank, where samples of vertebrates from all regions of the country will be stored for later genetic analysis. The collection will be used in genetic-conservation studies that will contribute to our understanding of the current state and development of diversity in animal populations within the Czech Republic. The results of these studies will be directly applied into conservation practice. Along with the Genetic Bank, a network of collection stations will be established (e.g. museums, stations for handicapped animals, hunting organisations) that will help provide samples for the Bank. The employees of these stations will be one of the target groups for the project and they will have full access to education activities related to genetic biodiversity issues. Activities within the proposed project will take place at the newly renovated Mohelský Mill Field Station. As part of the project, an adjacent garage building is to be renovated and converted into a repository for Genomic Bank samples.
The BIOM project will contribute to raising awareness of the risks associated with loss of biodiversity, an important step towards effective protection of nature and its diversity. As a means of achieving this objective, a modern educational centre has been created that will host training programs and provide educational materials for a wide range of target groups.
A significant benefit of the project will be the establishment of a National Genetic Bank for vertebrate animals, which will be used for studies of the evolution of species genetic diversity over time. Many of the results from such studies will have direct consequences for practical species conservation.
1) Establishment of the Mohelský Mill Educational Centre
As part of this key activity, we plan to address the widest possible spread of the population, with programs designed for both students at elementary and secondary schools and members of the general public. A wide-ranging program will be prepared for these groups such that the participants obtain a comprehensive overview of the problems associated with biodiversity decline. A sense of regional patriotism can be an important element of conservation education; hence many of the prepared materials will focus on local natural resources, including the promotion of small regional food producers.
A more specialised program will be prepared for university students, including specialised seminars, tutorials and a summer school where they will be able to deepen their biological knowledge outside of the normal school year.
2) Establishment of the National Animal Genetic Bank
The main aim of this key activity is the establishment and servicing of a Genetic Bank, including the collection, storage and management of genomic samples and a widely accessible database. This will be done in partnership with the project partners, the Faculty of Science of Charles University in Prague and the Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo.
A range of educational seminars, a conference and information materials will be designed and produced for professionals within the conservation and zoology field. Indeed, cooperation with employees of Czech nature conservation institutions, zoological museums, zoo employees, members of hunting associations and other such professionals will be of great benefit to the functioning of the Genetic Bank.
1 Operační program Vzdělávání pro konkurenceschopnost / Education for Competitiveness Operational Programme