Open Access

Call for Open Access projects

SoWa (Research Infrastructure for Comprehensive Monitoring of Soil and Water Ecosystems in Context of Sustainable Use of Landscape) is a newly established Research Infrastructure.

The aim of this call for projects is to open up SoWa research facilities to external users with interesting scientific projects coming from all over the world.

Eligible users

Eligible users are research organizations and individual researchers conducting research, development, and innovation, e.g. universities, research institutes, or companies interested in joint research cooperation with SoWa. Both Czech and international (EU and non-EU) applicants are welcome.

The use of specified SoWa facilities in the framework of the open access project is conditioned by partialcoverage of the necessary costs to SoWa by the user not covered from other sources by the project applicant e.g. to cover excessive cost of consumables or other items. Purely commercial research (resulting in the development or innovation of a specific product) cannot be subject of open access, but SoWa may devote some capacity to carry out research on commercial basis (with fair profit payment to SoWa). Applicants interested in commercial research should contact us directly.

To apply fill in the application form. For general enquiries, please contact Questions about available technologies and technical feasibility of your research project should be directed to the research facility leaders, whose contact details are specified in the section people and services.

Evaluation process

This is a rolling call. All received project proposals will immediately undergo the evaluation process. Technical feasibility of presented research projects, and scientific and technological excellence will be major criteria for evaluation. Users must comply with all relevant health and occupational safety rules. All other legal or ethical issues which may apply are under the responsibility of the applicant (user).

All applicants will be informed about the outcome of the evaluation process within four months of the project application submission. The steering committee will decide as soon as certain amount of application accumulates but at least three times a year, in January, May, and September each year. Should the a project be positively assessed; the project proposers will be promptly invited to discuss specific details of the cooperation.

Intellectual property generated within the research projects belongs to the user. In the case of a joint research project with the SoWa researchers the results might belong to the hosting facility according to the conditions negotiated between the applicant and SoWa (e.g. co-authorship, acknowledgements).

SoWa retains the right to make lists of users and short summaries of their Open Access research projects publicly available. There is no legal claim for this research Open Access cooperation. This call is neither a public offer nor a public tender.

Analytical Laboratory

IRMS Laboratory

Isotope-ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) with interfaces to (i) an elemental analyser (EA), (ii) a gas chromatograph with pyrolytic oven and a single mass spectrometer (Pyr-GC/MS), and (iii) high- performance liquid chromatograph (HPLC) is a unique and highly advanced analytical equipment (the first in the Czech Republic) for specific analyses of stable isotopes (δ2H, δ13C, δ15N, δ18O, δ34S) naturally occurring in nature and in man-labelled biomolecules, organic and inorganic substances. The proposed arrangement will be integrated with the IC-ICPMS/MS, which is already operated by the SoWa RI. This enables the interconnection of isotope analyses with the monitoring of binding metals and their speciation forms. Within the chromatographic separation techniques, we assume analysis of individual compounds from the groups of carbohydrates, sugar alcohols, amino acids and organic acids having one to six carboxyl groups. Gel columns with the ability to separate complex natural substances of molecular weights in the range of 0.1 – 1000 kDa are considered to be suitable for nonspecific determination.

Service Application

Freshwater Chemistry Research Station

The research station studies the key processes that affect the functioning of aquatic ecosystems, such as nutrient input and nutrient cycling between land and water. We quantify the main matter and energy flows in freshwater ecosystems and elucidate how nutrient fluxes integrate with biological and biochemical dynamics.

Service Application

Anaerobe Molecular Laboratory

The laboratory is dedicated to the study of diversity of functional groups of organisms and their interactions in soil and sediment niches differing in availability of oxygen.

It focuses on several important soil microsites, namely soil aggregates, invertebrate intestine and animal faeces and on aeration gradient in the sediments. We are able to determine the genetic and other bioindicators specific for selected biocenoses in hot-spot soil niches in dependence on oxygen availability. We characterize the biodiversity in hot-spot niches with respect to availability of oxygen and to OM transformation and study the impact of bulk soil biodiversity on the transformation of OM, as well as soil biota interactions in soil hot-spot niches affected by oxygen availability. We are interested in the role of soil microbial diversity in processes associated with OM transformation, in particular its role in the degradation and elimination of anthropogenic pollutants under different aeration conditions. In the sediment, we study the effect of environmental conditions on microbial functioning with focus on methanotrophy, denitrification, and iron cycle, along the oxygen gradient. Manipulative experiments in micro- and mesocosm settings are among the main approaches to complement field experiments.

Service Application

Aquatic Mesocosm Unit

The main focus is placed on the measurement of functional dependencies in freshwater ecosystems by combining laboratory experiments, mesocosm arrays, and in situ studies, with emphasis on ecosystems under anthropogenic stress.

Service Application

Freshwater Biology Research Station

The research station team is able to determine how predator-prey interactions involving top predators (i.e., fishes in reservoirs and predatory macroinvertebrates in smaller fishless waters) affect, via top-down effects, trophic cascades and potential ecological regime shifts. We follow direct and indirect impacts of anthropogenic stress on individuals, populations, and communities through (i) alterations in habitat and niche use and (ii) changes in individual behaviour and physiology.

Service Application

Plant-soil Functional Laboratory

The laboratory mainly deals with plant-microbial interactions in terrestrial ecosystems. It is mainly focused on differences in C:N:P stoichiometry between plant material entering the soil and soil microbial biomass, which determine the relationship between C:N:P sequestration into the soil OM and its mineralization. We are able to characterize the rhizodeposition quality and elemental stoichiometry under N and P limitation, changes in microbial community composition and functioning, and trophic interactions in the soil. Collected data on plant and microbial stoichiometry are used to estimate the range of N and P availability under which plant and microbes are limited by the same nutrient.

Service Application

Laboratory of Organic Matter Chemistry

The laboratory focuses on the interaction of plant litter with litter-associated soil biota. The processing of leaf litter affects not only the release of nutrients, but also the formation of soil aggregates and, consequently, the formation of the entire soil profile. These processes connect composition of soil biota community with plant litter quality on one side and nutrient cycling and soil formation on the other side. What major biotic and abiotic factors determine the formation of soil aggregates in particular? This is the key question our team is focusing on. More specific topics of interest include the assessment of changes in aggregate formation and soil profile development in soils colonized by various plant species, determining the effect of aggregate formation on soil microbial community, or characterizing the effect of soil development on plant growth.

Service Application

Experimental Catchment

Will be available soon…

Experimental catchment will consist of a set of instruments placed within two parallel microcatchments, which allows the measurement of the input of water and nutrients, along with outputs of water and nutrients from the catchment and the balance of OM accumulated in the catchment. Complex balance of matter and energy in the catchment can then be computed. Installed devices will include: devices with data logger for measuring and sampling of surface and subsurface runoff, including drainage and sealing elements. Eddy tower at each catchment will measure the balance of CO2 and water vapor between the ecosystem and the surrounding atmosphere. Probes for monitoring groundwater levels and water temperature will be spaced at regular intervals. Sensors for soil moisture and temperature monitoring will be deployed in similar way. Weather station located at both catchments, along with a network of rain gauges collecting precipitation enables us to measure the deposition and climatic conditions. All systems will perform automatic data collection and data storage, and will be powered by batteries and solar panels. Percolation lysimeters spaced at regular intervals will capture the variability of infiltration and subsurface water flow. They will also serve to collect pore water and to study the spatial variability of water infiltration. Gravitation (vessel) lysimeters will be used in mesocosm experiments and allow us to monitor of the development of soil profile in different microhabitats,as well as the balance of water and nutrients within these microhabitats. Observation and access shafts (diameter 80 cm depth 150 cm) represent a shaft built into the soil profile, which allows the monitoring of the evolution of the soil profile and facilitate the location of additional measuring instruments for a variety of ad hoc measurements. Their advantage is the access of the whole soil profile in the network points without further disturbance of the soil profile. Measuring sensors will be diverted to the shelter at the edge of the experimental area, which will allow central data collection. The delivery will also include software for data collection. Shelter electrified with solar panels will serve as storage for data loggers and material for field trials.

Biogeochemistry Laboratory

The laboratory focuses on the transformations of C, P, and Fe on the gradient of settling seston – i.e. sediment diagenesis; the role of the different electron acceptors in the particle-associated C, P, Fe cycling; the fate of bioavailable Fe in reservoirs; and the overall methane emission from temperate reservoirs. We describe in-situ sediment properties and use short-term settling seston traps to sample the “particulate” material sedimenting in the water column. Sediment/particle biogeochemical properties are described by either specific extraction methods or direct compound analyses using LC-ICP-QQQ, GC, LC, or IRMS instruments.

Service Application

Lake Hydrodynamics Laboratory

The laboratory focuses on the detailed study of complex water movements in and above the sediments, which have a key influence on sediment/particle physics and chemistry, with special emphasis on the importance of sediment disturbances or flush events for the freshwater ecosystem. Using a set of both laboratory and field ADP and ADCP instruments, we cover different parts of lake ecosystem on variable time and spatial scales.

Service Application