Biotic resources in the changing environment:research into the state of populations, species and communities, scientific justification for the management and sustainable use of biotic resources

Projects leader: dr. Juozas Labokas

The main topics:

-Research into plant resources covering chemotypic and ecotypic diversity and patterns of change in populations of relevant medicinal and other economic plant species, development of measures for genetic resources conservation, integration into the EU Plant Genetic Resources Network.

-Mammal research covering assessment of population abundance and long-term population quality changes in hunted ungulates and other animals.

- Avian resources in conditions of natural and human-induced spatial and temporal changes and their impact on model species and populations in different periods of their annual cycle, bird response to environmental components dynamics, adaptation to the changing environment, and evolutionary response, potential threats to bird survival.

- Community structure of fish and higher crustaceans (malacostraca) and state of their resources under the impact of climate change and anthropogenic pressure, fish genetic and microbiological diversity.

Molecular fundamentals of wildlife biodiversity and ecology

Projects leader: habil. dr. Gediminas Valkiūnas

Complex interdisciplinary research into wildlife biodiversity and ecology applying a wide range of advanced molecular methods and technologies to generate new fundamental knowledge about biodiversity; assessment of discrepancies and similarities between the data obtained by different (up-to-date and traditional) methods and evaluation of genetic, phenotypic and ecological mechanisms underlying biodiversity in conditions of climate and environment change.

- Development of the latest scientific knowledge-based recommendations for biodiversity preservation and its ecological state improvement.

Research into functions, responses and adaptations of biological systems and application prospects

Projects leader: doc., dr. Kęstutis Arbačiauskas

Complex research into biological processes, taking place at different life organisation levels, ranging from cell to ecosystem, using and combining innovative and traditional research methods and technologies to generate fundamental knowledge about functions, responses and adaptations of biological systems to natural and anthropogenic disturbances for enhancing the understanding of biological processes, evolution and factors ensuring their sustainability.

- Prediction of prospects for the new fundamental knowledge application, development of methodologies for the assessment of functions and responses of biological systems and preparation of recommendations for the preservation of biological systems sustainability.

Geo-environment and its resources in conditions of climate change and anthropogenic pressure

Projects leader: habil. dr. Saulius Šliaupa

The main themes:

- Formation and evolution of deep geological structures and posibilities of their alternative use; analysis of changes in the paleoenvironment in different periods of the geological past, and impact assessment of natural and anthropogenic factors on their evolution, present-day trends in dynamics of aquatic and terrestrial geosystems.

- Composition of subsurface traditional and non-traditional, mineral and geoenergy resources, their localization and prediction of potential resources occurrence in particular geosystems; impact assessment of anthropogenic pressure and climate change on the formation of surface and subsurface hydrosphere resources and their quality;

- Natural and anthropogenic pollution of surface and subsurface water resources and its prevention; development of landscape and resource planning and management adhering to principles of sustainable development.

I program: Research into the status and change of biological resources and quality of environment, scientific justification of conservation

Projects leader: dr. Juozas Labokas

Objectives:

  1. To create a comprehensive system of knowledge about plant and animal, micro- and macro-organism functioning patterns, population and environmental quality assessment and management principles as well as to scientifically justify the regeneration and conservation of biological resources under global and local changes by means of complex research into the Lithuanian biological resources and quality of environment, bringing together the most competent scientific potential and using modern methods of analysis.
  2. To create long-term strategies for conservation of biological resources (economic plants, mammals, birds, fish, crayfish populations), involving the sustainable use of resources as well as regeneration methods and techniques; to develop recommendations to biological resource managers, methodological means for study programmes.

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II program: biodiversity investigations and prognoses under the conditions of global climate change and anthropogenic impact

Projects leader: habil. dr. Gediminas Valkiūnas

Objectives:

  1. To conduct up-to-date research into the systematics of prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms and, having specified patterns of species distribution, to produce recommendations for rare species protection.
  2. To investigate changes in populations and habitats of prokaryotic and eukaryotic species along the gradient of different environmental factors under the conditions of global climate change and anthropogenic impact.
  3. To gain new knowledge about intra- and interspecies diversity of prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms, their phylogenetic relationships, evolutionary biology and functions within ecosystems under changing environmental conditions.

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III program: functioning and adaptation of biological systems: molecular, genetic and evolutionary mechanisms

Projects leader: prof. habil. dr. Vincas Būda

Objectives:

 

Investigations on the functioning and adaptation, evolutionary changes and adaptation limits of biological systems are significant both for fundamental science and applications because functioning mechanisms and sustainability patterns of biota under global change conditions might be reveal; they serve as a basis for the development of a scientific background for wildlife protection and management as well as for forecasting potential changes. Therefore, the programme objectives are to study responses of biological systems (on the level of a cell, organism, population and community) to biotic and abiotic factors (conspecifics or heterospecifics, temperature, light, gravity, etc.) and analyse their molecular and genetic mechanisms as well as to reveal physiological, biochemical, genetic and evolutionary adaptive responses to changes in environment.

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IV program: investigation of the structure and generating processes of geosystems for ensuring sustainable development and high quality of life (QOL)

Projects leader: dr. Miglė Stančikaitė

Objectives:

  1. Investigation of rock masses and textures, their architecture, forming processes and chronology on the background of global and regional transformation patterns.
  2. Evaluation of the development, recent status and possible transformation trends of ground and surface waters in the context of intensifying anthropogenic loads.
  3. Spatial and temporal analysis of the texture of recent and past geological systems and prediction of their transformations as a basis for sustainable development.

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V program: investigations of hazardous substances distribution in the ecosystems, regularities and mechanisms of ecotoxic and biological effects under the impact of anthropogenic stress

Projects leader: habil. dr. Janina Baršienė

Objectives:

  1. To investigate the processes and patterns of distribution, accumulation, ecotoxicity and biological effect of hazardous compounds (heavy metals, radionuclides, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, pesticides, polychlorbiphenyls, etc.) under anthropogenic stress conditions.
  2. To experimentally investigate the regularities and mechanisms of biological responses to anthropogenic load in the organisms of different phylogenetic, ontogenetic and biological organization levels.

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