References of "Wilmotte, Annick"
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See detailToxic Cyanobacterial Blooms in Brussels: A Case Study
Van Hassel, Wannes ULiege; Huybrechts, Bart; Andjelkovic, Mirjana et al

Poster (2019, May 09)

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See detailFootprints on changing polar ecosystems Processes, threats, responses and opportunities for future generations
Wilmotte, Annick ULiege; Erkinaro, Jaako; Pedros Alio, Carlo et al

in Biebow, Nicole; Quesada, Antonio; Vaughan, David (Eds.) The EU-PolarNet White Papers (2019)

White Paper No. 2 (Footprints on Changing Polar Ecosystems) advocates ‘Ecological Indicators’ that will allow the assessment of ecosystem health and change

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See detailMarked Succession of Cyanobacterial Communities Following Glacier Retreat in the High Arctic
Pessi, Igor S; Puschkareva, Ekaterina; Lara, Yannick ULiege et al

in Microbial Ecology (2019), 77

Cyanobacteria are important colonizers of recently deglaciated proglacial soil but an in-depth investigation of cyanobacterial succession following glacier retreat has not yet been carried out. Here, we ... [more ▼]

Cyanobacteria are important colonizers of recently deglaciated proglacial soil but an in-depth investigation of cyanobacterial succession following glacier retreat has not yet been carried out. Here, we report on the successional trajectories of cyanobacterial communities in biological soil crusts (BSCs) along a 100-year deglaciation gradient in three glacier forefields in central Svalbard, High Arctic. Distance from the glacier terminus was used as a proxy for soil age (years since deglaciation), and cyanobacterial abundance and community composition were evaluated by epifluorescence microscopy and pyrosequencing of partial 16S rRNA gene sequences, respectively. Succession was characterized by a decrease in phylotype richness and a marked shift in community structure, resulting in a clear separation between early (10–20 years since deglaciation), mid (30–50 years), and late (80–100 years) communities. Changes in cyanobacterial community structure were mainly connected with soil age and associated shifts in soil chemical composition (mainly moisture, SOC, SMN, K, and Na concentrations). Phylotypes associated with early communities were related either to potentially novel lineages (< 97.5% similar to sequences currently available in GenBank) or lineages predominantly restricted to polar and alpine biotopes, suggesting that the initial colonization of proglacial soil is accomplished by cyanobacteria transported from nearby glacial environments. Late communities, on the other hand, included more widely distributed genotypes, which appear to establish only after the microenvironment has been modified by the pioneering taxa. [less ▲]

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See detailEducation and Outreach by the Antarctic Treaty Parties, Observers and Experts under the framework of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative meetings
Xavier, José C; Mateev, Dragomir; Capper, linda et al

in Polar Record (2019)

The development of formal discourse about education and outreach within the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings (ATCM), and the influence of major international activities in this field, are described ... [more ▼]

The development of formal discourse about education and outreach within the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings (ATCM), and the influence of major international activities in this field, are described. We reflect on the ATCM Parties’ approach to implementing the ambition of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty Article 6.1.a, to promote the educational value of Antarctica and its environment, and we examine the role of workshops and expert groups within the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programmes, that emerged in the 1990s, in stimulating discussion within the ATCM. These early initiatives were a prelude to the development and implementation of a large number of International Polar Year (IPY) education and outreach programmes. The establishment of an Antarctic Treaty System Intersessional Contact Group, and an on-line forum on education and outreach during the 2015 ATCM in Bulgaria, is a legacy of IPY and is the next step in fostering collaboration to engage people around the world in the importance and relevance of Antarctica to our daily lives. [less ▲]

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See detailAdaptations to extreme conditions: the strategy of the Antarctic cyanobacterium ULC007
Lara, Yannick ULiege; Durieu, Benoit ULiege; Javaux, Emmanuelle ULiege et al

Conference (2018, December 18)

In Polar regions, freshwater ecosystems range from cryoecosystems and ice shelf meltwater ponds to perennially ice-covered lakes where conspicuous benthic microbial mat communities constitute most of the ... [more ▼]

In Polar regions, freshwater ecosystems range from cryoecosystems and ice shelf meltwater ponds to perennially ice-covered lakes where conspicuous benthic microbial mat communities constitute most of the biomass. In these mats, cyanobacteria form the matrix in which other microorganisms can live, and where they are the key primary producers and main drivers of the carbon and food webs. To provide a better understanding of the survival strategies of Polar mat-forming cyanobacteria, we investigated the genome of a strain of the widely distributed Antarctic cyanobacterium, Phormidium priestleyi ULC007. We used high-throughput sequencing technologies to investigate its geographic distribution and genome evolution. More precisely, we investigated the abundance of genes involved in cold adaptation and circadian oscillation. In cold habitats, low temperatures lead to the success of particular organisms featuring adaptations to molecular and cellular disturbances such as higher rigidity of membranes, reduction of enzyme-catalyzed reactions, and reduction of solute transport. Our main results underline the importance of functional categories of genes involved in the production of key molecules for the survival of P. priestleyi in cold conditions (e.g. synthesis of exopolysaccharides, chaperone proteins, fatty acids and phospholipids). [less ▲]

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See detailBCCM/ULC: a collection of cyanobacteria linking Poles to Space
Wilmotte, Annick ULiege; Beets, Kim ULiege; Santoro, Mariano ULiege et al

Conference (2018, December 18)

The BCCM/ULC public collection funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) aims to gather a representative portion of the cyanobacterial diversity with a focus on Polar biotopes (e.g. limnetic ... [more ▼]

The BCCM/ULC public collection funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) aims to gather a representative portion of the cyanobacterial diversity with a focus on Polar biotopes (e.g. limnetic microbial mats, soil crusts, cryoconites, endolithes). It represents an exclusive Biological Resource Centre (BRC) where characterized polar cyanobacterial strains are available for researchers to study the taxonomy, biogeography, evolution, synthesis of secondary metabolites, adaptation to harsh environmental conditions, and genomic make-up. It currently holds 190 strains, including over 120 of Polar origin (online catalogue: http://bccm.belspo.be/catalogues/ulc-catalogue-search). Living cultures are regularly transferred, and the majority are also cryopreserved (as back-up), in order to assure their preservation and the rapid delivery of strains to clients for fundamental and applied research in both academia and industry. Genomic DNA is also available on request. The collection has obtained the ISO 9001:2015 certification for deposit and distribution of strains, as part of the multi-site certification for the Belgian Coordinated Collections of Microorganisms (BCCM) consortium. A polyphasic approach based on morphological and molecular identifications (based on SSU rRNA sequences) show that the strains belong to the Synechococcales, Oscillatoriales, Chroococcidiopsidales, Pleurocapsales, and Nostocales orders. This large diversity renders the BCCM/ULC collection particularly interesting for taxonomic, biogeographic and phylogenomic studies. Furthermore, the sequencing of the genomes of several strains has started. The BRC also aims to become a source for researchers to study further applications of cyanobacteria in astrobiology as shown by investigations of the resistance to desiccation and radiation of strains of Chroococcidiopsis sp. dominating rock-dwelling communities in extreme dry environments [1]. In paleontology, cyanobacteria represent model organisms thanks to their fundamental role in the oxygenation of the atmosphere and oceans during the Great Oxidation Event. Lastly, the mat-forming cyanobacterial strains may represent “critical organisms” in the investigation of the factors that determine the boundaries of microbial survival and growth on Earth and in the space environment, by virtue of the fact that they are components of microbial mat model systems which are more and more used to elucidate Earth’s past and the detection of life’s biosignatures. [less ▲]

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See detailThe BCCM/ULC collection of cyanobacteria in the spotlight at ULiège
Santoro, Mariano ULiege; Beets, Kim ULiege; Simons, Véronique et al

Poster (2018, October 11)

The ULC public collection of cyanobacteria belongs since 2011 to the consortium of Belgian Co-Ordinated Collections of Microorganisms (BCCM). It aims to conserve ‘ex situ’ a representative portion of the ... [more ▼]

The ULC public collection of cyanobacteria belongs since 2011 to the consortium of Belgian Co-Ordinated Collections of Microorganisms (BCCM). It aims to conserve ‘ex situ’ a representative portion of the biodiversity of cyanobacterial diversity of different origins, with a focus on Antarctic and Artic cyanobacteria isolated from terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. BCCM/ULC currently holds 174 cyanobacterial strains that are available for researchers who study taxonomy, evolution, biogeography and the adaptation to harsh environmental conditions. The strains are identified by morphology and molecular characterization (based on rRNA sequences) and belong to the Synechococcales, Oscillatoriales, Pleurocapsales, Chroococcidiopsidales and Nostocales orders. This large taxonomic distribution renders it a suitable reference point for phylogenomic and genomic make-up studies. Regular transfer of living cultures ensures the conservation of strains, whose majority are also cryopreserved in order to limit the genetic drift. BCCM/ULC obtained an ISO 9001:2015 certification for public and safe deposits, and for distribution of living strains and genomic DNA. The BCCM policy continuously aims to guarantee a safe fit-for-use microbiological material and data compliant with the rules on access and utilization of the Nagoya Protocol. In addition, BCCM/ULC provides, to clients from academia & industry, a service of morphological identification and molecular characterization, along with other scientific services as tailor-made trainings and collaborations. The public collection is progressively enriched by public deposits from other geographical areas and by incorporating the most interesting strains from the research collection of the host laboratory. The latter is also involved in the valorisation of the collection and collaborations, aiming to study the molecular mechanisms of adaptation to cold stress in polar strains, their production of potential bioactive compounds, to decipher and analyze their genomes and to determine the usefulness of their pigments as ‘traces of life’ in astrobiology. [less ▲]

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See detailEx-situ conservation and exploration of polar cyanobacteria in the BCCM/ULC Collection
Wilmotte, Annick ULiege; Santoro, Mariano; Beets, Kim ULiege et al

Poster (2018, October)

The BCCM/ULC public collection funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office since 2011 aims to gather a representative portion of the polar cyanobacterial diversity with different ecological origins ... [more ▼]

The BCCM/ULC public collection funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office since 2011 aims to gather a representative portion of the polar cyanobacterial diversity with different ecological origins (limnetic microbial mats, soil crusts, cryoconites, endoliths, etc.). It makes it available for researchers to study the taxonomy, evolution, adaptations to harsh environmental conditions, and genomic make-up. It presently includes 174 cyanobacterial strains, with more than half being of polar origin (catalogue: http://bccm.belspo.be/catalogues/ulc-catalogue-search). [less ▲]

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See detailDiversity, optimal conditions and tolerance of planktonic cyanobacteria to different environmental conditions in Chile, South America
Almanza, Viviana; Wilmotte, Annick ULiege; Laughinghouse IV, Haywood ULiege et al

Conference (2018, October)

Abstract: Phytoplankton samples from 23 Chilean freshwater bodies (lotic and lentic) monitored by the General Water Directorate and by the EULA Center were examined to identify the diversity, optimal ... [more ▼]

Abstract: Phytoplankton samples from 23 Chilean freshwater bodies (lotic and lentic) monitored by the General Water Directorate and by the EULA Center were examined to identify the diversity, optimal conditions and tolerance of planktonic cyanobacteria to different conditions. We selected ecosystems between 34 - 41° S latitude with different environmental conditions (trophic status) and human intervention in the watershed (land usage). Cyanobacteria and overall phytoplankton were identified and their abundance and biovolume were determined using the Utermöhl method. In seven lakes or rivers with visible blooms, samples were identified using a polyphasic approach, in which morphological, ecological and molecular markers (rRNA loci) were integrated. The optima and tolerance of each cyanobacterial genus at different conditions was calculated by weighted average regression (WA). The relationship among the genera and the environmental characteristics (water temperature, pH, transparency, dissolved oxygen, nitrogen and total phosphorus) were evaluated by pRDA. The results showed that cyanobacteria were found in all lakes, although they were rare (less than 5% abundance) at the southern limit. In total, 15 genera were identified morphologically, 6 Chroococcales (Aphanocapsa, Aphanothece, Gomphosphaeria, Limnococcus, Merismospedia, Microcystis), 1 Spirulinales (Spirulina), 3 Synechococcales (Coelomoron, Snowella, Pseudanabaena), 4 Nostocales (Anabaenopsis, Aphanizomenon, Dolichospermum, Nodularia) and 1 Oscillatoriales (Oscillatoria). The same genotype (16S rRNA) of Microcystis aeruginosa was distributed in the eutrophic ecosystems between 34 and 37°S and formed dense blooms. Blooms of picocyanobacteria (e.g. Cyanobium) and other filamentous cyanobacteria, such as Anabaenopsis elenkinii and Aphanizomenon ovalisporum,were also observed. In general, cyanobacteria correlated positively with eutrophic ecosystems located at lower latitudes (34 - 37°S), with a total P concentration (min - max: 0.3 - 1.9 mg L-1), and where the river basin was urbanized or used for monoculture tree plantations. The low nutrient concentration limited cyanobacterial abundance in oligotrophic systems. The comparison between ecosystems of different latitudes can be an indicator of the long-term status of cyanobacteria (species diversity and abundance) in the context of global climate change. In the Southern Hemisphere, climate change projections indicate warming, together with reduced precipitation, and a higher incidence of extreme events (periods of rain and drought). If the nutrient conditions increase, genera such as Microcystis, Aphanocapsa, Aphanothece, Aphanizomenon could be favored, together with a higher abundances of Dolichospermum. [less ▲]

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See detailThe MIDICHIP database
Lara, Yannick ULiege; Wilmotte, Annick ULiege

Report (2018)

In order to be protected, biodiversity must be evaluated. For cyanobacteria, the traditional morphological measures of biodiversity are unsatisfactory. We utilize molecular markers (like SSU rRNA) to ... [more ▼]

In order to be protected, biodiversity must be evaluated. For cyanobacteria, the traditional morphological measures of biodiversity are unsatisfactory. We utilize molecular markers (like SSU rRNA) to define taxa on the basis of phylogeny. In freshwater ecosystems huge populations of cyanobacteria can occur. These blooms may release toxins that make the water poisonous. A second part of the study is to compare the temporal dynamics of biodiversity in both natural and disturbed lakes. This comparative analysis requires the use of ecological indexes to summarise the diversity of the samples and allow inferences about the ecosystem to be made. [less ▲]

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See detailLes Cyanobactéries, microscopiques mais fondamentales !
Javaux, Emmanuelle ULiege; Jacques, Philippe ULiege; Wilmotte, Annick ULiege

Scientific conference (2018, September 26)

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See detailBCCM/ULC: a unique Biological Resource Center of (sub)polar cyanobacteria
Santoro, Mariano ULiege; Beets, Kim ULiege; Lara, Yannick ULiege et al

Poster (2018, September 13)

The BCCM/ULC public collection of cyanobacteria funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) focusses on the ‘ex situ’ conservation of a representative portion of the (sub)polar cyanobacterial ... [more ▼]

The BCCM/ULC public collection of cyanobacteria funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) focusses on the ‘ex situ’ conservation of a representative portion of the (sub)polar cyanobacterial diversity with different origins, isolated from terrestrial (e.g. soil crusts, cryoconites, endoliths) and aquatic ecosystems (e.g. limnetic microbial mats, freshwater lakes and marine environments). BCCM/ULC currently holds 175 cyanobacterial strains, including over 100 of polar origin (catalogue: http://bccm.belspo.be/catalogues/ulc-catalogue-search). The strains are available for researchers who study the taxonomy, evolution, biogeography, adaptation to harsh environmental conditions, etc. Morphological and molecular identifications (based on SSU rRNA sequences) indicate that the strains belong to the orders Synechococcales, Oscillatoriales, Pleurocapsales, Chroococcidiopsidales and Nostocales. This large taxonomic distribution makes the collection interesting for phylogenomic and genomic make-up studies, hence the genome sequencing of several strains is ongoing. Continuous maintenance of living cultures ensures the preservation of strains, whose majority are cryopreserved (as back-up at -70°C) in order to limit the genetic drift. BCCM/ULC obtained an ISO 9001:2015 certification for public and safe deposits, and distributions of strains, as part of the multi-site certification for the Belgian Coordinated Collections of Microorganisms (BCCM) consortium. The policies of acquisition and distribution of the collection are translated respectively into contracts called Material Accession Agreements (MAA) and Material Transfer Agreements (MTA). This guarantees safe fit-for-use microbiological material and data compliant with the rules on access and utilization of the Nagoya Protocol under the Convention on Biological Diversity (12 October 2014). BCCM/ULC progressively incorporates the most interesting strains from the research collection of the host laboratory into the public collection, whose variety is also enriched by public deposits from other geographical areas (more temperate). The collection is also interested to test new cultivation methods to better reproduce the complex ecological interactions experienced in nature. In addition, Antarctic cyanobacterial strains are known to produce a range of secondary metabolites with different potential bioactivities, as well as the exploration of some unknown gene clusters identified in the first Antarctic cyanobacterial genome ever determined may potentially lead to discover novel peptides which could have biotechnological or biomedical applications. [less ▲]

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See detailCold Adaptation Strategy of the Antarctic Cyanobacterium P. priestleyi ULC007
Durieu, Benoit ULiege; Baurain, Denis ULiege; Wilmotte, Annick ULiege et al

Poster (2018, June 19)

In Antarctica, Cyanobacteria are key primary producers and play a major role in the colonization of deglaciated habitats. Cyanobacterial mats are widespread in aquatic biotopes and often dominate the ... [more ▼]

In Antarctica, Cyanobacteria are key primary producers and play a major role in the colonization of deglaciated habitats. Cyanobacterial mats are widespread in aquatic biotopes and often dominate the total phototrophic biomass. In order to gain further insights on the mechanisms underlying the ecological success of Antarctic cyanobacteria, we studied the gene repertoire of Phormidesmis priestleyiULC007, a filamentous cyanobacterium isolated from shallow freshwater lake microbial mats in the Larsemann Hills. Here, we investigate the occurrence of genes involved in the cold stress response as a proxy to the adaptation to environmental conditions in Antarctica. We compare a selection of 42 PEGs (protein encoding genes) linked to cold adaptation in 72 cyanobacterial genomes. Polar strains have the highest number of copies of genes coding for fructose aldolase, chaperone Hsp, and universal stress protein and a high number of fatty acid desaturase and genes involved in exopolysaccharide (EPS) biosynthesis. To provide a better overview of the genetic mechanisms of adaptation to cold, we investigated the gene functional categories based on the RAST subsystems technology. Polar strains have the most occurrences for subsystems “Choline and Betain Biosynthesis”, “DNA repair”, “EPS biosynthesis” and “Heat shock DnaK gene cluster”. Our results underline the importance of these functions in the adaptation mechanisms of cyanobacteria to the polar environment. [less ▲]

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See detailBiogeography of Cyanobacteria in Antarctic Mats and Implication for Conservation
Durieu, Benoit ULiege; Lara, Yannick ULiege; Stelmach Pessi, Igor et al

Conference (2018, June 19)

On the Antarctic continent, cyanobacterial mats are widespread in the lacustrine biotopes and they often dominate the phototrophic biomass. Their diversity and biogeography are poorly understood because ... [more ▼]

On the Antarctic continent, cyanobacterial mats are widespread in the lacustrine biotopes and they often dominate the phototrophic biomass. Their diversity and biogeography are poorly understood because most studies cover a limited geographic area or are based only on morphotypes. Therefore, cyanobacteria are not fully taken into account in the biological datasets used to delineate conservation biogeographic regions (ACBRs). Recently, we have shown by 454 pyrosequencing of cyanobacteria-specific 16S rRNA amplicons that their distribution across the lacustrine ecosystems could be explained by ecological parameters (e.g. salinity and dissolved organic carbon). In order to further test this hypothesis, we significantly increased the spatial coverage of our samples. Here, we describe the results of 16S rRNA amplicons Illumina sequencing of 98 cyanobacterial mat samples from 10 ACBRs. From the 16012393 raw reads, 713 OTUs were obtained by bioinformatics analysis. Preliminary results show that both ecological parameters and latitude could explain the patterns of cyanobacterial communities. Indeed, nonmetric multidimensional scaling shows that sub-Antarctic samples (Macquarie and Marion Islands) group with North-East Antarctic Peninsula samples, whereas more continental samples (e.g. East Antarctica, South Victoria Land) group together. These findings can form the basis for a better understanding and a more adequate conservation of lacustrine ecosystems in Antarctica. [less ▲]

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See detailEx-situ Conservation of Polar Cyanobacteria in the BCCM/ULC Collection
Wilmotte, Annick ULiege; Beets, Kim; Simons, Véronique et al

Poster (2018, June)

The BCCM/ULC public collection is funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) and aims to gather a representative portion of Polar cyanobacterial diversity from different ecological origins ... [more ▼]

The BCCM/ULC public collection is funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) and aims to gather a representative portion of Polar cyanobacterial diversity from different ecological origins (limnetic microbial mats, soil crusts, cryoconites, endoliths, etc.) and ensure their ex-situ conservation in a context of global change. These strains are available for researchers to study the biodiversity, taxonomy, evolution, adaptations to harsh environmental conditions, and genomic make-up of Polar cyanobacteria. Currently, there are 120 cyanobacterial strains of Polar origin in the collection (catalogue: http://bccm.belspo.be/catalogues/ulc-catalogue-search). The strains are kept living and their cryopreservation is currently tested. The collection is ISO 9001 certified for depositing and distributing strains, as part of the multi-site certification of the Belgian Coordinated Collections of Microorganisms (BCCM) consortium. Morphological and molecular identification (based on 16S rRNA sequences) indicate that the strains belong to the orders Chroococcales, Chroococcidiopsidales, Nostocales, Oscillatoriales, Pleurocapsales, and Synechococcales. This broad genotypic distribution makes the BCCM/ULC collection particularly interesting for phylogenomic studies. The genomes of several strains are currently being sequenced and the first genome of an Antarctic cyanobacterial strain, Phormidesmis priestleyi ULC007 was recently published. [less ▲]

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See detailHow Can My Research Data Be Useful for Conservation and Policy-making?
Hughes, Kevin; Xavier, José C; Liggett, Daniela et al

Poster (2018, June)

Biodiversity conservation is a main goal of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty. Policy should be based on the best scientific data available, and policy-makers are eager to ... [more ▼]

Biodiversity conservation is a main goal of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty. Policy should be based on the best scientific data available, and policy-makers are eager to have access to up-to-date and high quality information. Scientists are on the frontline to gather relevant data, though their primary aim is to publish in international refereed journals. However, once the data, and resulting information, have been scrutinized and quality-checked during the review process, their usefulness for policy-making should be also considered as they may have the potential to inform conservation measures or document processes affecting biodiversity. [less ▲]

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See detailConservation Issues in the High Arctic and Pole-to-Pole Comparisons
Vincent, Warwick; Wilmotte, Annick ULiege

Conference (2018, June)

With the increasing impacts of global change, conservation activities are more important than ever to protect and preserve high latitude environments and their biota. Efforts to date in the Arctic have ... [more ▼]

With the increasing impacts of global change, conservation activities are more important than ever to protect and preserve high latitude environments and their biota. Efforts to date in the Arctic have focused on higher plants and animals; for example, the Red List of threatened Arctic plants is currently limited to vascular species, and no attention has been given to lower plant and microbial communities that are often dominant features of far northern ecosystems. One of the largest northern conservation zones in Canada is Quttinirpaaq National Park, a 37,775 km2 region that extends to the northern coast of Ellesmere Island, Nunavut. Studies over the last two decades at the northern coastline of this park have shown that the land, lake and fjord environments contain diverse microbial assemblages and functions ('environmental microbiomes') and that these are responding strongly to the current trend of accelerated warming at these extreme high latitudes (82-83N), leading to the extinction of certain ecosystem types. In Antarctica, increased (albeit still limited) attention is being given to protection measures for microbial ecosystems (e.g., ASPAs and SCAR codes of conduct for activities and research in terrestrial, geothermal and subglacial aquatic environments) and a similar level of stewardship is needed for analogous High Arctic microbial ecosystems. A Red List of vulnerable microbiomes in High Arctic and Antarctic environments may help inform conservation efforts. [less ▲]

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See detailKeeping microalgae safe and available
Santoro, Mariano ULiege; Chaerle, Peter; Lara, Yannick ULiege et al

Poster (2018, May)

ULC and DCG public collections of cyanobacteria and diatoms, respectively, are funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office and belong to the consortium of Belgian Co-Ordinated Collections of ... [more ▼]

ULC and DCG public collections of cyanobacteria and diatoms, respectively, are funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office and belong to the consortium of Belgian Co-Ordinated Collections of Microorganisms. They have an ISO9001 certification for the deposits and distributions of strains. BCCM/ULC is one of the largest BRC of documented (sub)polar cyanobacteria. It aims to represent the (sub)polar cyanobacterial diversity from a wide range of different habitats and to promote understanding of cyanobacterial adaptation mechanisms in high latitudes. It comprises 175 cyanobacterial strains (120 of polar origin) belonging to the more representative orders. Public, safe deposits and strains distribution (or genomic DNA) are provided to clients for fundamental and applied research. The first sequenced Antarctic cyanobacterial genome contains protein encoding genes involved in stress response and unknown gene clusters, potentially leading to discover novel secondary metabolites [1], in agreement with previous findings of antimicrobial activity of compounds from Antarctic strains [2]. BCCM/ULC will develop a culturomics approach to isolate target microorganisms. BCCM/DCG is the only BRC specialized in diatoms, the most species-rich group of aquatic photosynthetic organisms in freshwater and marine ecosystems. BCCM/DCG currently holds 514 publicly available strains originating from a wide geographic area and belonging to 48 species (representing all the principal phylogenetic lineages and ecological groups) most of which are cryopreserved. Next to the biological material, there is for the majority of the strains, extra data available: growth temperature, mating system, auxosporulation information, initial and minimal cell size, and sequence data. Additionally, many of the strains/taxa available at BCCM/DCG have been subject of published research focused on diatom genomics, cell and life cycle, determination and comparison of (eco)physiological properties, algae-bacteria interaction, and diatom population genetics, evolution and diversity. [1] Lara et al. (2017) Genome Announc, 5 (e01546-16) [2] Taton et al. (2006) J. Phycology, 42 (1257–1270) [less ▲]

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See detailAntarctic environmental protection: strengthening the links between science and governance
Hughes, Kevin; Constable, Andrew; Frenot, Yves et al

in Environmental Science and Policy (2018), 83

The Antarctic has significant environmental, scientific, historic, and intrinsic values, all of which are worth protecting into the future. Nevertheless, the area is subject to an increasing level and ... [more ▼]

The Antarctic has significant environmental, scientific, historic, and intrinsic values, all of which are worth protecting into the future. Nevertheless, the area is subject to an increasing level and diversity of human activities that may impact these values within marine, terrestrial and cryosphere environments. Threats to the Antarctic environment, and to the aforementioned values, include climate change, pollution, habitat destruction, wildlife disturbance and non-native species introductions. Over time, a suite of legally binding international agreements, which form part of the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), has been established to help safeguard the Antarctic environment and provide a framework for addressing the challenges arising from these threats. Foremost among these agreements are the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty and the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. Many scientists working in Antarctica undertake research that is relevant to Antarctic environmental policy development. More effective two-way interaction between scientists and those responsible for policy development would further strengthen the governance framework, including by (a) better communication of policy makers’ priorities and identification of related science requirements and (b) better provision by scientists of ‘policy-ready’ information on existing priorities, emerging issues and scientific/technological advances relevant to environmental protection. The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) has a long and successful record of summarizing policy-relevant scientific knowledge to policy makers, such as through its Group of Specialists on Environmental Affairs and Conservation (GOSEAC) up to 2002, currently the SCAR Standing Committee on the Antarctic Treaty System (SCATS) and recently through its involvement in the Antarctic Environments Portal. Improvements to science-policy communication mechanisms, combined with purposeful consideration of funding opportunities for policy-relevant science, would greatly enhance international policy development and protection of the Antarctic environment. [less ▲]

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See detailPolar cyanobacteria in the BCCM/ULC collection : diversity and characterization
Lara, Yannick ULiege; Beets, Kim ULiege; Simons, Véronique et al

Poster (2018, March)

The BCCM/ULC public collection funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) aims to gather a representative portion of the polar cyanobacterial diversity with different ecological origins (e.g ... [more ▼]

The BCCM/ULC public collection funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) aims to gather a representative portion of the polar cyanobacterial diversity with different ecological origins (e.g. limnetic microbial mats, soil crusts, cryoconites, endoliths). It makes it available for researchers to study the taxonomy, evolution, adaptation to harsh environmental conditions, and genomic make-up. It presently includes 177 cyanobacterial strains, including 120 of polar origin (catalogue: http://bccm.belspo.be/catalogues/ulc-catalogue-search). Continuous maintenance of living cultures, most of which are also cryopreserved (as back-up), ensure the preservation and the rapid delivery of strains to clients for fundamental and applied research. Genomic DNA is also available on request. The collection has obtained the ISO 9001 certification for deposition and distribution of strains, as part of the multi-site certification for the Belgian Coordinated Collections of Microorganisms (BCCM) consortium. Morphological and molecular identifications (based on SSU rRNA 16S sequences) show that the strains belong to the orders Synechococcales, Oscillatoriales, Pleurocapsales, and Nostocales. This broad ordinal distribution makes the BCCM/ULC collection particularly interesting for phylogenomic studies. Hence, the sequencing of the genomes of several strains is underway. In addition, cyanobacteria produce a range of secondary metabolites (e.g. alkaloides, peptides, polyketides) with different potential bioactivities. Due to their geographic isolation and strong environmental stressors in their habitat, the exploration of Antarctic cyanobacteria metabolites is likely promising for both biotechnology or biomedical applications. [less ▲]

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