Laboratory of Algology and Microbial Ecology

Head: dr. RIČARDAS PAŠKAUSKAS

The key research objects are microalgae, cyanobacteria and their viruses in fresh and marine environments, with the special emphasis on eutrophicated and heavily polluted aquatic ecosystems and within the context of anthropogenically influenced global climate change. The research also includes experimental work using lab-based microcosm and/or large-scale mesocosm systems, as well as the analysis of long-term succession of natural phytoplankton communities.

The laboratory researchers focus on the ecology issues of relevant cyanobacteria and microalgae species of different taxonomic groups and assess the significance of processes of production/decomposition of plankton and benthic microflora and the consequences of hyperproductivity of aquatic ecosystems and water quality. We further provide expert assessment of ecosystem vulnerability as well as resistance to chronic and acute anthropogenic and naturally occurring stressors.

Additionally, the researchers analyse the peculiarities and importance of different abiotic and biotic environmental state variables to the productivity and other metabolic activity of plankton and benthos community and hyper-production outcomes. Research is also conducted into biotic interactions and trophic relationships by skillfully and creatively applying modern research methodology (light and electron microscopy, molecular biology, chromatography, spectrometry and isotopic analysis).

The laboratory maintains a culture collection of different microalgae and cyanobacteria strains, including bloom forming and toxin producing species. Research into genome, growth conditions and production of different biologically active compounds as well as cyanophage ecology are the most recent research directions. Studies on the genetic diversity of algae and cyanobacteria and molecular diagnostics are carried out, and analysis of cyanobacteria-produced toxin dispersion is performed. 

Laboratories