Funding body

Croatian Science Foundation

Type of project

Installation Research Project


1.975.520,09 Kn

Project duration

31.01.2021 – 30.01.2026


Jasna Arapov, PhD

Project web page

The main objective of the project “Ecology and toxicity of the genus Pseudo-nitzschia in the coastal waters of the central and southern Adriatic Sea” is to analyse species composition of potenitally toxic diatom genus Pseudo-nitzschia in the Central and Southern Adriatic Sea, and to determine environmental conditions that affect their distribution and toxicity.

Species of the diatom genus Pseudo-nitzschia are common in the phytoplankton community of the Adriatic Sea, occurring throughout the year, and occasionally dominate the phytoplankton assemblage. Some of the Pseudo-nitzschia species have the ability to synthesise domoic acid (DA), a neurotoxin that can be transferred up the food chain to higher trophic levels and humans, causing Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning. Among the approximately 60 species described within this genus, about half are known to produce DA or DA isomers. The toxicity of the species varies between strains and/or in dependence on various environmental factors.

The main objectives of the project are to apply an integrative approach of morphological analysis by electron microscopy and molecular analysis to: (i) compare the composition of Pseudo-nitzschia species in various coastal shellfish breeding areas; (ii) determine their ecological preferences; (iii) analyse species growth rate and DA production; and (iv) investigate the effects of different cultivation conditions on Pseudo-nitzschia species toxicity

The results of this project will improve our knowledge of the composition and ecology of Pseudo-nitzschia species in the Central and Southern Adriatic Sea. It will contribute to a better understanding of species toxicity and the environmental conditions that may cause or influence it.

Project partners


Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo
Via Aurelio Saffi, 2 – 61029 Urbino