Biodiversity Education Centre Mohelský Mill (BIOM) is a project of the Institute of Vertebrate Biology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, supported through European funding (EHP 2009-2014). The name of this project (BIOM) was inspired in part by the ecological definition Biome, which is the designation for wider ecosystems of regional, national or continental importance. Research on the changes happening in the environment, and the dissemination of research results, is extremely important for increasing our understanding of how the richness of life on Earth has developed, and how we can protect it.
People often think that loss of flora and fauna in the Czech Republic does not concern them personally. Loss of biodiversity, however, can be observed almost everywhere, including in our immediate surroundings. We tend not to notice the extinction of native species in our surroundings, nor their replacement by invasive species that can seriously disrupt nature’s fragile balance. On top of this, people constantly underestimate the complexity of ecosystems and the relationships that exist between the organisms found in them.
The aim of the BIOM Education Centre is to raise awareness of the meaning of biodiversity protection and the methods used to assess it through specialised lectures, seminars and other programs, and to demonstrate the richness of our flora and fauna, the relationships that exist between them and prevailing threats through practically oriented excursions. The Education Centre is based in the newly reconstructed Mohelský Mill Field Station, close to the Mohelenská Serpentine Steppe National Nature Reserve (Třebíč district). We have prepared wide-ranging programs for Czech secondary and primary schools, and specialised excursions and workshops for university students. The general public can attend a program of guided walks with expert commentary around the Mohelenská Serpentine Steppe and field excursions around the Mohelský Mill ("Come with us behind ....."). Each of these excursions will describe the changes to be seen throughout the seasons. Researchers from the Institute of Vertebrate Biology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and Czech Universities specialised on individual groups of organisms will explain how nature works as a whole. You can look forward to interesting lectures, exhibits on the work of scientists and interesting discussions. The first public excursions will be held on May 1 2015 and will focus on botany, ornithology and herpetology (i.e. plants, birds and reptiles). You can sign up for participation now by E-mail on: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Together with our project partner, the Faculty of Science of Charles University in Prague, we will establish a National Animal Genetic Bank, where genetic samples of vertebrates from all over the country will be stored. The resultant collection will be of use for future genetic-conservation research studies, allowing scientists to study the genetic diversity of Czech species and contribute to practical species protection in the Czech Republic. Important financial support for the establishment of the Genetic Bank has been provided by the Vysočina Region and the Academy of Sciences.
For more information on this project, please visit our website at www.biom.ivb.cz