The Arctic is a region located between the Arctic Circle and the North Pole. The area can be defined as a region where the average temperature of the warmest month (mainly July) is less than 10°C. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean covered by sea ice for the most part of the year, the Arctic islands and the northern parts of Europe, Asia and the North America.
The Czech polar research is predominantly carried out on Svalbard. The Svalbard covering an area of 62 050 square kilometers consists of a group of islands in the Arctic Ocean between 74 and 81 degrees North. The Svalbard Treaty signed in Paris on 9 February 1920 provides for Norwegian sovereignty over Svalbard, while at the same time providing for certain rights for the other signatories and Svalbard was declared a demilitarized area. At the beginning of the 80's there were several Czechoslovak scientists and academicians from Department of Geography and Cartography (now Department of Geography) of Faculty of Science at the Masaryk University and from Slovak Academy of Science conducted research on Spitsbergen. The research was carried out in several localities, in the southwestern and central part of Spitsbergen in the vicinity of Russian mining towns – Barentsburg and Pyramiden in particular. In the 90's there were other research projects conducted by Czech Academy of Science.
The research concerning climate and biological diversity of the central part of Spitsbergen is currently being carried out. The research project is a part of the Network for ARCtic Climate and Biological DIVersity Studies (ARCDIV) – a multidisciplinary international research initiative. This initiative is prepared under the auspice of the International Polar Year. The research is conducted by the scientists and academicians from Masaryk University (Brno), Institute of Botany of Czech Academy of Science (Třeboň), University of South Bohemia (České Budějovice). The research is carried out in the coastal zone of Petuniabukta (Billefjorden) – 78°40’N, 16°24’E. The actual research station is located in Petunia-hut, a Russian hunting hut which serves for research activities during summer season (the owner of the hut is Arktikugol a Russian mining company). Two containers located on landing stage in the Russian mining town Pyramiden are also used for research purposes.
The main research topics:
• The study of biological diversity and productivity in biotopes
• The study of climate and ecological factors affecting diversity and productivity in biotopes
• The study of littoral ecosystems and relationship between parasites and hosts