Microorganisms as Indicators of the State and Changes in the Marine Environment (MICROS)

Microorganisms as Indicators of the State and Changes in the Marine Environment (MICROS) 

Marine ecosystems service key processes in the biosphere. They are under pressure from global climate change, eutrophication, and various forms of pollution. Indigenous microorganisms are one of the most important components, encompassing various physiological groups. The indigenous microbial community represents the foundation of life in the sea and is the first to respond to environmental disturbances, making the study of its structure and functioning of paramount importance for detecting and monitoring long-term changes in the marine ecosystem. Pressure on the marine environment is also evident from pollution by allochthonous microorganisms, primarily from untreated and partially treated household wastewater, which affects the microbiological quality of coastal waters, including bathing waters. The abundance of indicator allochthonous bacteria is directly related to the level of risk to humans. Monitoring them is important for assessing environmental conditions, protecting human health (bathers), and maintaining economic competitiveness. The project will be carried out through two modules:
1) Ecology of indigenous microorganisms, aimed at determining the structural characteristics of the indigenous microbial community on spatial (different marine environments), trophic (along trophic gradients), and temporal (monthly, interannual, and multiyear) scales, as well as the responses of structural features of the microbial food web to environmental changes, such as eutrophication and global warming.
2) Sanitary aspect of the marine environment, aimed at determining the sources, origins, and dynamics of fecal pollution in coastal areas.
Early recognition of these changes is crucial for the environment and is essential for introducing protective measures by creating environmental protection policies and incorporating this issue into relevant legislative acts.

Project team