Dr. Bogdan Drugă - Project leader
My research focuses on understanding how phytoplankton communities adapt/persist in changing environments driven by climate change. I want to know which phytoplankton species are more likely to adapt on long-term, and how will they impact/be impacted by the surrounding communities. I use laboratory scale experiments and molecular biology tools to rigorously test the hypotheses, and my plan is to link these lab tests to field studies, in outdoor mesocosms.
In the CyanoWarm project, I will test the adaptive potential to high temperature/CO2 concentrations in three types of cyanobacteria, through a 12-month experiment. Then I will check how the adapted strains will grow after being inoculated into natural communities sampled from a eutrophic lake. I will also perform the project management activities.
Dr. Adriana Hegedus
I am a phytoplankton ecologist/taxonomist, and I am interested in species dynamics in temperate lakes. I have isolated hundreds of strains of microalgae from various environments, which are deposited in the Collection of Algae and Cyanobacteria of the Institute of Biological Research Cluj. Moreover, I am interested in biofuel production by algae, having analyzed for several years with the botryococcene production by the green alga Botryococcus brauni.
Through micromanipulation, I will isolate the cyanobacterial strains that will be used in the CyanoWarm project. I will also perform the phylogenetic analyses necessary to assign the strains to certain species, and I will perform the growth experiments.
Dr. Cristian Coman
I am an environmental microbiologist/molecular biologist. My research interest is represented mainly by microbial biodiversity and ecology, more specific by how microbial communities react and adapt to different environmental conditions.
During the CyanoWarm project I will help running the growth experiments, and I will periodically check the growth parameters of the cultures. Moreover, I will supervise the community experiments in the second part of the project, including the DNA barcoding tests. I will also assist the PI in project management activities.
Dr. Edina Szekeres
My research interests include applied molecular biology with special focus on microorganisms (mostly extremophiles, cyanobacteria and algae) with biotechnological potential and on environmental problems such as antimicrobial resistance, pollution and cyanotoxins. I have experience in batch culture experiments on several bacteria and microalgae species, as well as in the detection and monitoring of emerging pollutants in various natural environments.
In the CyanoWarm project I will perform the growth experiments with the selected strains, and I will regularly measure their physiological traits. During the experiments I will also check the expression of certain genes involved in carbon uptake (qPCR), and I will analyze the DNA sequence of the genes connected to temperature tolerance in cyanobacteria.
Dr. Cecilia Chiriac
I am a molecular biologist with expertise in the field of bioinformatics. In the last years, I was mainly involved in building pipelines for NGS data analysis and performing related statistical analyses in R. I am interested in the environmental drivers of biodiversity and in the way they influence the structure of microbial communities.
My tasks during the CyanoWarm project include performing various molecular biology tests (e.g. ELISA, PCR/qPCR) and integration of DNA sequencing results. By employing DNA barcoding in the second part of the project, we can investigate the dynamics of various bacterial taxa in relation to the abundance of eukaryotic microalgae.