Experimental hydrobiology department

Experimental hydrobiology department

The Experimental Hydrobiology Unit works on the health of aquatic environments and their determinants, as well as on innovative solutions to improve environmental quality. The main research areas of the Unit are:

  • Ecological risk identification in hydroecosystems;
  • Biotesting – determining the toxic effects of toxic substances, polluted waters and sediments using bioassays (at different trophic levels);
  • Ecotoxicological experiments and test;
  • Mass development of dangerous algae in freshwater and marine environments;
  • Bioaccumulation and toxic effects of algal toxins;
  • Interactions between bacteria and algal communities;
  • Developing new methods for monitoring pollutants.

The main task of the Experimental Hydrobiology Unit is to find effective methods for solving problems in the aquatic environment by introducing new or validating existing methods for Latvian conditions.

Currently, one of the most important activities of EHN is the assessment of biological effects of pollution of natural and anthropogenic origin in Latvian territorial waters using bioassays and biomarkers. Biotesting uses traditional methods with Daphnia magna cultures, as well as brackish water organisms Artemia salina and benthic organisms Hiallella azteca (HIDROTOX, BIOMAR projects).

The native species Monoporeia affinis and Pontogammarus robustoides are used to identify pollution in the Baltic Sea, and the biological effects of pollution – changes in embryogenesis and reproductive disturbances – are determined. Biological effects of contamination are also being determined in bivalve molluscs using several enzymatic biomarkers (HIDROTOX, BIOMAR, BIODIVERSA, BEACON projects).

EHN also carries out research in fresh waters, both to determine the ecological quality of lakes and make recommendations for improving it, and to develop lake management plans (CYCLE, Lake Puzes, PostDoc).

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