Department of Experimental Phycology and Ecotoxicology

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Research activities of the Department of Experimental Phycology and Ecotoxicology are focused on studies on photoautotrophic planktonic organisms in the aquatic environment. From ecotoxicological point of view the greatest attention has been devoted to cyanobacteria. The research is mainly aimed at finding of new methods usable for the restriction of mass cyanobacterial development in fresh waters. For this purpose characteristics of various chemicals – potential algicides or algistatics (e.g. phthalocyanines, hydrogen peroxide) as well as certain non-chemical methods for the treatment of sediments or water column (aeration, cavitation) or possibilities of using herbivorous fish species have been investigated. In addition to directly acting algicides, substances reducing bioavailable phosphorus and other nutrient concentrations (i.e. coagulants, flocculants and adsorbents) have been also studied. Considering a safety of usage, various ecotoxicological biotests have been performed and effects of potential algicides have been observed in target (cyanobacteria, algae) as well as non-target (higher plants, Daphnia) organisms.

Another research interest of the Department of Experimental Phycology and Ecotoxicology is cyanobacterial autecology (mainly of the most common European genus Microcystis), especially cyanobacterial overwintering and the role of cyanotoxins in living strategy of cyanobacteria.

Last but not least, effects of most important cyanotoxins on living organisms have been investigated. In several experimental organisms (e.g. Japanese quail - Coturnix coturnix japonica or African clawed frog – Xenopus laevis), reproductive toxicity and other effects have been studied. At the same time methods for the detection of cyanotoxins in samples from the aquatic environment and in fish tissues have been found and improved.