Centro de Biologia Molecular e Ambiental

Centre of Molecular and Environmental Biology

Biodiversity Lab

About the lab

Human activities are threatening biodiversity in freshwaters leading to irreversible alterations in ecosystem processes. One of the most important processes for the functioning of small-forested streams is the decomposition of allochthonous plant litter, which constitutes the major source of nutrients and energy for freshwater food-webs. Microbial decomposers, namely fungi and bacteria, and invertebrate shredders play a critical role in this process by degrading plant material. In the Functional Ecology group we are mainly concerned with: 1) the impacts of global change (e.g. global warming, eutrophication, riparian diversity loss) on aquatic biodiversity and decomposition of plant litter in freshwaters; 2) the impacts of metals, PAHs and nanoparticles on freshwaters at the community-, population- and cellular-level, with focus on fungi and invertebrates; 3) the relationship between biodiversity and the functioning of detritus food-webs in freshwaters and 4) the application of molecular tools, such as denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE), cloning and DNA barcoding to assess diversity of microbial decomposers on plant-litter decomposing in freshwaters.



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