Environmental pollution is an important cause of stress in natural populations. This not only has consequences for the size, dynamics and structure of the population but it can also lead to genetic changes and adaptations. Doroszuk investigated the long-term effects of pollution on the bacteria-eating nematode Acrobeloides nanus. This asexually reproducing nematode is easy to culture and study. The research is innovative due to a multidisciplinary approach, in which methods from various disciplines such as ecology, toxicology, molecular biology and evolutionary biology provide insights into the effect of soil pollution at different levels of biological organisation.
The nematode was exposed to a combination of different pH and copper values. As well as their individual effects, the pH and the copper levels in the soil can exert a synergistic effect on the nematode population. Unexpectedly fast adaptation was observed and considerable genetic changes took place. As a result of this the nematodes in the polluted soil became resistant to the contamination. In the contaminated culturing medium they laid more eggs and lived for longer than the nematodes from the clean soil.
The rapid adaptation to the environment in an asexual species is an interesting finding. It contradicts the general opinion that asexual species have low adaptive potential and that they adapt to stress less easily than sexual species. At present these asexual species are used as test organisms in ecotoxicological risk evaluations. The question now arises as to whether they are suitable for this purpose.
The results of this study are important for the development of protection strategies for natural populations. This can be realised by focusing environmental management more on functions such as biomass turnover rate and less on the structure and biomasss of populations per se. In her thesis Doroszuk shows that contributions from various research disciplines are crucial for insight into underlying mechanisms of the response to stress and for the consequences for the natural system.
Dr Agnieszka Doroszuk | alfa
How does the loss of species alter ecosystems?
18.05.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Excess diesel emissions bring global health & environmental impacts
16.05.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy