Jan Šobotník

Jan Šobotník
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague | CULS · Faculty of Tropical Agro Sciences

Assoc. Prof. Ph.D.

About

146
Publications
67,634
Reads
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2,676
Citations
Citations since 2016
79 Research Items
1890 Citations
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Introduction
Termite research team is not an institution, but a state of mind. We are group of people sharing the passion to science, and to insects and lives. We are opened to all new collaborations, and while Research Gate shows an overview of our history and presence, you can find more news at FaceBook (facebook.com/termiteresearchteam). Let all beings be happy!
Additional affiliations
January 2020 - present
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague
Position
  • Researcher
May 2016 - December 2019
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
October 2012 - May 2016
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague
Position
  • Researcher and Assistant Professor

Publications

Publications (146)
Article
The Andes are an example of how geographical events, climatic and ecological conditions drive speciation and evolution of species. However, the processes leading to this diversity, such as the relationships between related lineages, are still poorly understood. Studying the phylogeography of endemic and widely distributed species in the Neotropical...
Data
Supplementary Figures to the preprint "Termite diet rather than geographical origin determines the microbiome composition and functional genetic structure of nests from South American and African representatives, as revealed by a multiomics approach". 10.1101/2022.08.13.503768
Preprint
Full-text available
Termites represent one of the most important insect groups worldwide due to their key role as plant decomposers and proxy of carbon recycling in the tropical rainforest ecosystems. Besides, high relevance in research has been given to these social insects due to a prominent role as urban pests. However, one of the most fascinating aspects of termit...
Preprint
Termites (Blattodea: Isoptera) have evolved specialized defensive strategies for colony protection. Alarm communication enables workers to escape threats while soldiers are recruited to the source of disturbance. Here, we studied the vibroacoustic and chemical alarm communication in the wood roach Cryptocercus and in 20 termite species including se...
Article
Full-text available
Background Termites primarily feed on lignocellulose or soil in association with specific gut microbes. The functioning of the termite gut microbiota is partly understood in a handful of wood-feeding pest species but remains largely unknown in other taxa. We intend to fill this gap and provide a global understanding of the functional evolution of t...
Article
The phylogenetic history of termites has been investigated using mitochondrial genomes and transcriptomes. However, both sets of markers have specific limitations. Mitochondrial genomes represent a single genetic marker likely to yield phylogenetic trees presenting incongruences with species trees, and transcriptomes can only be obtained from well-...
Article
Full-text available
Termites feed on vegetal matter at various stages of decomposition. Lineages of wood- and soil-feeding termites are distributed across terrestrial ecosystems located between 45°N and 45°S of latitude, a distribution they acquired through many transoceanic dispersal events. While wood-feeding termites often live in the wood on which they feed and ar...
Article
Full-text available
Termites are major decomposers in terrestrial ecosystems and the second most diverse lineage of social insects. The Kalotermitidae form the second-largest termite family and are distributed across tropical and subtropical ecosystems, where they typically live in small colonies confined to single wood items inhabited by individuals with no foraging...
Article
The growing human population requires vast amounts of supplies that are satisfied by a large agricultural expansion leading to alarming deforestation of tropical forests. The agriculture as mostly revealed now is unsustainable as the tropical soils are relatively nutrient poor, the amount of organic matter decreases fast, and the soil invertebrates...
Article
Termites are social cockroaches distributed throughout warm temperate and tropical ecosystems. The ancestor of modern termites roamed the earth during the early Cretaceous, suggesting that both vicariance and overseas dispersal may have shaped the distribution of early diverging termites. We investigate the historical biogeography of three early di...
Article
Machadotermes is one of the basal Apicotermitinae genera, living in tropical West Africa. Old observations suggested the presence of a new gland, the intramandibular gland, in Machadotermes soldiers. Here, by combining micro-computed tomography, optical and electron microscopy, we showed that the gland exists in Machadotermes soldiers only as an ac...
Article
Full-text available
Timber suffers from various biological damages. Recent efforts aim on nature-friendly sustainable technologies of wood protection to replace classical synthetic agents having usually negative impact on many non-target organisms including man. This research investigated the biocidal effectiveness of lavender oil (LO) in protecting the Norway spruce...
Article
Termites are key soil bioturbators in tropical ecosystems. Apart from mound nests constructed by some advanced lineages, most of the species use their faeces, oral secretions, debris, or soil aggregates to protect themselves from predators and desiccation when they go out to forage. Although this soil ‘sheeting’ is considered to play a key role in...
Preprint
Full-text available
The phylogenetic history of termites has been investigated using mitochondrial genomes and transcriptomes. However, both sets of markers have limitations. Mitochondrial genomes represent a single genetic marker likely to yield phylogenetic trees presenting incongruences with species trees, and transcriptomes can only be obtained from well-preserved...
Preprint
Full-text available
Madagascar is home to many endemic plant and animal species owing to its ancient isolation from other landmasses. This unique fauna includes several lineages of termites, a group of insects known for their key role in organic matter decomposition in many terrestrial ecosystems. How and when termites colonised Madagascar remains unknown. In this stu...
Preprint
Full-text available
Termites primarily feed on lignocellulose or soil in association with specific gut microbes. The functioning of the termite gut microbiota is partly understood in a handful of wood-feeding pest species, but remains largely unknown in other taxa. We intend to feel this gap and provide a global understanding of the functional evolution of termite gut...
Preprint
Full-text available
Termites are social cockroaches distributed throughout warm temperate and tropical ecosystems. The ancestor of modern termites (crown-Isoptera) occurred during the earliest Cretaceous, approximately 140 million years ago, suggesting that both vicariance through continental drift and overseas dispersal may have shaped the distribution of early diver...
Article
Ebogotermes raphaeli gen. n. sp. n., is described from workers collected in Cameroon. This soil-feeding termite is the largest soldierless termite from central Africa and aligns with the Anoplotermes subgroup. The enteric valve armature is weakly armed and, as with most apicotermitine species, is uniquely diagnostic.
Preprint
Full-text available
Termites are major decomposers of organic matter in terrestrial ecosystems and the second most diverse lineage of social insects. The Kalotermitidae, the second-largest termite family, are widely distributed across tropical and subtropical ecosystems, where they typically live in small colonies confined to single wood items inhabited by individuals...
Article
Soil-feeding termites are abundant in tropical regions and play an important role in soil bioturbation and in the organic matter cycle. The Apicotermitinae are arguably the most diverse lineage of soil-feeding termites, but they are also the most understudied, probably because many species are soldierless, which makes identification difficult. Alth...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this study was to test caffeine – harmless to health and eco-friendly natural compound – as a potentially effective fungicide and insecticide for wood protection. Caffeine treatment of wood, using simple and cheap long-term dipping technology, was tested against the brown-rot fungus Rhodonia placenta and termite Reticulitermes flavipes....
Article
Full-text available
Termites are a clade of eusocial wood-feeding roaches with > 3000 described species. Eusociality emerged ~ 150 million years ago in the ancestor of modern termites, which, since then, have acquired and sometimes lost a series of adaptive traits defining of their evolution. Termites primarily feed on wood, and digest cellulose in association with th...
Article
Full-text available
The eukaryotic microbiome of “lower” termites is highly stable and host-specific. This is due to the mutually obligate nature of the symbiosis and the direct inheritance of protists by proctodeal trophallaxis. However, vertical transmission is occasionally imperfect, resulting in daughter colonies that lack one or more of the expected protist speci...
Article
The evolution of biological complexity is associated with the emergence of bespoke immune systems that maintain and protect organism integrity. Unlike the well-studied immune systems of cells and individuals, little is known about the origins of immunity during the transition to eusociality, a major evolutionary transition comparable to the evoluti...
Article
Full-text available
The Neotropical family Serritermitidae is a monophyletic group of termites including two genera, Serritermes and Glossotermes, with different way-of-life, the former being the sole obligatory inquiline among “lower” termites, while the latter is a single-site nester feeding on dry rotten red wood. Like the most advanced termite’s family, the Termit...
Article
Full-text available
We report the first complete mitochondrial genome of an important pest of timber, the drywood termite Cryptotermes havilandi. The gene content and synteny of the mitochondrial genome of C. havilandi is identical to that of other termite species reported to date. It is composed 13 protein-coding genes, two ribosomal RNA genes, and 22 transfer RNA ge...
Article
Larger species tend to feed on abundant resources which nonetheless have lower quality or degradability, the so‐called Jarman‐Bell principle. The “eat more” hypothesis posits that larger animals compensate for lower quality diets through higher consumption rates. If so, evolutionary shifts in metabolic scaling should affect the scope for this compe...
Article
All termites have established a wide range of associations with symbiotic microbes in their guts. Some termite species are also associated with microbes that grow in their nests, but the prevalence of these associations remains largely unknown. Here, we studied the bacterial communities associated with the termites and galleries of three wood-feedi...
Article
Termites are important plant biomass decomposers. Their digestive activity typically relies on pro-karyotes and protozoa present in their guts. In some cases, such as in fungus-growing termites, digestion also relies on ectosymbiosis with specific fungal taxa. To date, the mycobiome of termites has yet to be investigated in detail. We evaluated the...
Article
Full-text available
Cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) have, in insects, important physiological and ecological functions, such as protection against desiccation and as semiochemicals in social taxa, including termites. CHCs are, in termites, known to vary qualitatively and/or quantitatively among species, populations, castes, or seasons. Changes to hydrocarbon profile com...
Preprint
Full-text available
The evolution of biological complexity is associated with the emergence of bespoke immune systems that maintain and protect organism integrity. Unlike the well studied immunity at the cell and individual level, little is known about the origins of immunity during the transition to eusociality,a major evolutionary transition comparable to the evolut...
Article
Full-text available
Trail-following behavior is a key to ecological success of termites, allowing them to orient themselves between the nesting and foraging sites. This behavior is controlled by specific trail-following pheromones produced by the abdominal sternal gland occurring in all termite species and developmental stages. Trail-following communication has been s...
Article
Full-text available
“Higher” termites have been able to colonize all tropical and subtropical regions because of their ability to digest lignocellulose with the aid of their prokaryotic gut microbiota. Over the last decade, numerous studies based on 16S rRNA gene amplicon libraries have largely described both the taxonomy and structure of the prokaryotic communities a...
Article
Composition of soil vegetation cover and land management directly influences the cycling of chemical elements and is a key factor for soil biogeochemistry and also Al behaviour. Moreover, Al is an important factor limiting the growth of cultural plants. Our results are based on long-term observations of soils translocated from selected small areas...
Article
Termitidae comprises ∼80% of all termite species [1] that play dominant decomposer roles in tropical ecosystems [2, 3]. Two major events during termite evolution were the loss of cellulolytic gut protozoans in the ancestor of Termitidae and the subsequent gain in the termitid subfamily Macrotermitinae of fungal symbionts cultivated externally in "c...
Preprint
“Higher” termites have been able to colonize all tropical and subtropical regions because of their ability to digest lignocellulose with the aid of their prokaryotic gut microbiota. Over the last decade, numerous studies based on 16S rRNA gene amplicon libraries have largely described both the taxonomy and structure of the prokaryotic communities a...
Preprint
Full-text available
“Higher” termites have been able to colonize all tropical and subtropical regions because of their ability to digest lignocellulose with the aid of their prokaryotic gut microbiota. Over the last decade, numerous studies based on 16S rRNA gene amplicon libraries have largely described both the taxonomy and structure of the prokaryotic communities a...
Article
Holomastigotes is a protist genus (Parabasalia: Spirotrichonymphea) that resides in the hindguts of “lower” termites. It can be distinguished from other parabasalids by spiral flagellar bands that run along the entire length of the cell, an anterior nucleus, a reduced or absent axostyle, the presence of spherical vesicles inside the cells, and the...
Article
Full-text available
Termites are important contributors to ecosystem functioning. They are highly abundant in tropical and sub-tropical habitats, and represent an important resource for a wide range of predators. Their evolutionary success is driven largely by a life in populous colonies with a complex communication system controlled by a rich set of exocrine glands w...
Article
A new genus, Tonsuritermes Cancello & Constantini gen. nov., is described from South America. The main morphological features of the new genus are a remarkable frontal gland and protibia with two rows of spine-like bristles. Two new species of Tonsuritermes are described: T. tucki Cancello & Constantini sp. nov. and T. mathewsi Cancello & Constanti...
Article
Full-text available
Termites have evolved diverse defence strategies to protect themselves against predators, including a complex alarm communication system based on vibroacoustic and/or chemical signals. In reaction to alarm signals, workers and other vulnerable castes flee away while soldiers, the specialized colony defenders, actively move toward the alarm source....
Article
Termites are the principal decomposers in tropical and subtropical ecosystems around the world. Time-calibrated molecular phylogenies show that some lineages of Neoisoptera diversified during the Oligocene and Miocene, and acquired their pantropical distribution through transoceanic dispersal events, probably by rafting in wood. In this paper, we i...
Article
Full-text available
Mutualistic associations between insects and microorganisms must imply gains for both partners, and the emphasis has mostly focused on coevolved host-symbiont systems. However, some insect hosts may have evolved traits that allow for various means of association with opportunistic microbial communities, especially when the microbes are omnipresent...
Article
Full-text available
Termites have developed a wide array of defensive mechanisms. One of them is the mandibulate soldier caste that crushes or pierces their enemies. However, in several lineages of Termitinae, soldiers have long and slender mandibles that cannot bite but, instead, snap and deliver powerful strikes to their opponents. Here, we use morphological and mol...
Chapter
Full-text available
Much like flowering plants set the stage for an explosion of herbivore and pollinator diversity, the origin of dead wood in early Devonian forests (~400 mya) was followed by an incredible diversification of life, giving rise to some of the most successful morphological adaptations and symbioses on Earth. Approximately one third of all forest insect...
Article
Full-text available
Termites are eusocial insects currently classified into nine families, of which only Stylotermitidae has never been subjected to any molecular phylogenetic analysis. Stylotermitids present remarkable morphology and have the unique habit of feeding on living trees. We sequenced mitogenomes of five stylotermitid samples from China and Taiwan to recon...
Article
Abstract The evolutionary success of termites has been driven largely by a complex communication system operated by a rich set of exocrine glands. As many as 20 different exocrine organs are known in termites. While some of these organs are relatively well known, only anecdotal observations exist for others. One of the exocrine organs that has rece...
Article
The gut microbiota of animals exert major effects on host biology [1]. Although horizontal transfer is generally considered the prevalent route for the acquisition of gut bacteria in mammals [2], some bacterial lineages have co-speciated with their hosts on timescales of several million years [3]. Termites harbor a complex gut microbiota, and their...
Chapter
Isoptera (termites) is a small order of insects containing about 3000 described species. Their origin dates back to the late Jurassic, and the oldest fossil is found in limestone deposits of 130 million years ago (Cretaceous). Termites consume plant materials in all stages of decomposition, from sound wood to mineralized soil, and are superabundant...
Article
Full-text available
Previous observations have noted that in some species of higher termites the soldier caste lacks pigmented particles in its gut and, instead, is fed worker saliva that imparts a whitish coloration to the abdomen. In order to investigate the occurrence of this trait more thoroughly, we surveyed a broad diversity of termite specimens and taxonomic de...
Article
Full-text available
The guts of lower termites are inhabited by host-specific consortia of cellulose-digesting flagellate protists. In this first investigation of the symbionts of the family Serritermitidae, we found that Glossotermes oculatus and Serritermes serrifer each harbor similar parabasalid morphotypes: large Pseudotrichonympha-like cells, medium-sized Leptos...
Article
Full-text available
Predators may eavesdrop on their prey using innate signals of varying nature. In regards to social prey, most of the prey signals are derived from social communication and may therefore be highly complex. The most efficient predators select signals that provide the highest benefits. Here, we showed the use of eusocial prey signals by the termite-ra...
Article
Full-text available
The higher termites (Termitidae) are keystone species and ecosystem engineers. They have exceptional biomass and play important roles in decomposition of dead plant matter, in soil manipulation, and as the primary food for many animals, especially in the tropics. Higher termites are most diverse in rainforests, with estimated origins in the late Eo...
Data
Full-text available