Marine Genetics Laboratory

MOLECULAR TAXONOMY AND ECOLOGY OF MARINE HYDROBIONTS  LABORATORY

Main activities of the Laboratory

Application of molecular genetic methods for studuing the population-genetic structure and specifying the taxonomic affiliation of marine hydrobionts in connection with their biodiversity and rational exploatation of their stocks.

Molecular studies include: DNA extraction, amplification of DNA fragments using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing. Various DNA markers such as microsatellites, mitochondrial DNA, nuclear DNA, ribosomal DNA as well as allosomes, as a non-PCR based marker method, are used in the laboratory to identify species, populations and individuals. Laboratory also applies metabarcoding – a molecular analysis of the environmental DNA (cell or extracellular DNA left by the organism in the marine environment) to detect the presence of a species or study of the biological diversity.

Molecular-genetics analyzes and methods used depend on the issues of interest. Some of the topics we are discussing using genetic approaches are: studying the population-genetic structure of commercial fish species and identifying their migration routes in the Black Sea; Clarification of the taxonomic status of fish species (marine and freshwater); application of molecular methods for control of the origin of the broodstock and offspring, especially for restocking purposes in the Danube River; species identification of invasive species; analyzes of non-food products (mussels, rapanas, etc.); Clarification of the taxonomic affiliation of phytoplankton species, including potentially toxic, present along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast; Monitoring of phytoplankton biodiversity.

Activities planned:

The upgrade of Molecular Genetic Laboratory at IO-BAS will enlarge the scope of innovative research, including the genetical analyses of species with gaps in the area of their genetic diversity, as well as for obtaining new data on the population-genetic structure of commercially exploited species. The availability of modern, well-equipped laboratory is a necessary prerequisite to carried out modern molecular research and obtaining representative results. The upgraded will allow future accreditation to the international standard ISO – attestation to the high scientific level of the analyzes conducted and guarantee for their greater competitiveness and commitment.

The expected beneficiaries of the results are MOEW, EEA, MAFF, NAFA, General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), FAO and private aquaculture farms. The aim is, on the one hand, to popularize the opportunities for fundamental research conducted by BAS-BAS in the field of biodiversity as well as the practical application of the integrated approach to the study of marine biodiversity.