Publications of Annick Wilmotte
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See detailPhysiological performance under high salinity conditions of Nostoc commune from hot and cold deserts
Roncero Ramos, Beatriz ULiege; Savaglia, Valentina ULiege; Wilmotte, Annick ULiege

Conference (2020, October 16)

Cyanobacteria are phototrophic bacteria that grow in extreme environments, such as those in drylands or polar zones, where they are the first photosynthetic colonizers of soils and sediments. Strong ... [more ▼]

Cyanobacteria are phototrophic bacteria that grow in extreme environments, such as those in drylands or polar zones, where they are the first photosynthetic colonizers of soils and sediments. Strong resistance traits underpin their occurrence in these extreme and contrasted environments, for example, the production of pigments (such as the UV-screening scytonemin) or exopolysaccharides help them to withstand hostile conditions. A better understanding of the ecophysiological mechanisms developed to survive to different stresses will contribute to clarify how these processes work. In this study, we analyzed the ecophysiological response to an increasing salinity of two cyanobacterial strains identified as belonging to the same species, Nostoc commune (16S rRNA gene similarity > 99%), but isolated from two contrasted environments: a microbial mat in a lake (Larsemann Hills, Prydz Bay, East Antarctica) and a biological soil crust from a semiarid region in Southeastern Spain (a limestone quarry (Gádor)). After culturing them in BG110 medium with different salinities (from 0 M to 2.5 M NaCl) under a light intensity of 5 µmol m-2 s-1, the pigment (chlorophyll, scytonemin and carotenoids) contents and the photosynthetic efficiency (Fv/Fm measured by Pulse-Amplified Modulation spectrophotometry) were determined after 1 hour, and 1, 7 and 43 days. Our results show that both strains were affected by salinity as the maximal chlorophyll and carotenoids yields were obtained after 43 days of cultivation without NaCl. The Antarctic strain could also grow in media with salinity concentrations up to 0.7 M NaCl, with an increase of physiological stress with salinity. In contrast, the strain from the hot desert could only grow till salinities of 0.05 M NaCl, with a similar increased stress. This work will contribute to a better understanding of the performance to salinity stress of related cyanobacterial strains growing in different extreme environments. However, further analyses relating these results to gene expression (RNASeq) would be desirable to obtain a more detailed understanding of these mechanisms. [less ▲]

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See detailScreen for cyanotoxins in cyanobacteria based food supplements on the Belgian market
Van Hassel, Wannes ULiege; Huybrechts, Bart; Wilmotte, Annick ULiege et al

Poster (2020)

During the last years, the financial turnover of the non-registered consumer health market and the share of food supplements in this market has grown at a steady pace1. This growth implies an increased ... [more ▼]

During the last years, the financial turnover of the non-registered consumer health market and the share of food supplements in this market has grown at a steady pace1. This growth implies an increased exposure of the public to these products and their ingredients. Some ingredients, mainly from natural sources, have beneficial effects but might exert adverse effects due to the presence of non-intentional compounds, like natural toxins. Food supplements produced by microalgae or cyanobacteria could be one of these examples. Within this group of products, three organisms are responsible for the production. First of all, the green algae called Chlorella vulgaris, for which commercialization started post-WW2. Second, the cyanobacterium Aphanizomenon flos-aquae, which is known to form massive blooms in Klamath Lake in Oregon US. Third, we have Arthrospira sp., better known under its trade name “spirulina”. This organism has been harvested from lakes in Africa and South America for a long time. Retailers advertise these food supplements as protein-rich food sources with additional health benefits. However, the scientific community devoted to cyanobacteria has expressed doubts surrounding the safety of some of the supplements available on the market. Research has shown that some cyanobacterial species can produce toxins harmful to humans. These toxins are commonly detected in blooms of cyanobacteria in lakes all over the world. In Western Europe, microcystin is frequently detected. Microcystin congeners (MC’s) are hepatotoxic and cause nausea, vomiting and, in severe cases, liver damage when ingested. Although the most species used to produce the food supplements (except Aphanizomenon) should not produce these toxins themselves, published data suggest that there could be contamination of the products by toxin-producing cyanobacteria. Production steps vulnerable for contamination are cultivation and processing of the organisms (cyanobacteria). MATERIAL AND METHODS To acquire initial data of the presence of microcystins and the related nodularin in food supplements, we optimized and validated an analytical method capable of quantification of eight microcystin congeners and nodularin based on the protocol by Turner et al., 20182. With this method, we analyzed 40 samples from the Belgium market. The samples were bought from the major retailers in Belgium. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION The results show MC’s in several products. Some of them were above the guideline values suggested by the WHO3, which poses a possible risk for public health. To better assess this risk, exposure studies should be executed to evaluate the consumption of these products in Belgium. The consumption data of food supplements are not readily available and include several assumptions, which is another hurdle for this research. [less ▲]

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See detailThe influence of pH on the recovery of microcystin congeners in water samples by HPLC-MS/MS detection
Van Hassel, Wannes ULiege; Huybrechts, Bart; Wilmotte, Annick ULiege et al

Poster (2020)

Cyanobacterial blooms are becoming more prevalent in western Europe due to eutrophication and increasing temperatures. To guarantee the safety of our drinking water and of recreational water activities ... [more ▼]

Cyanobacterial blooms are becoming more prevalent in western Europe due to eutrophication and increasing temperatures. To guarantee the safety of our drinking water and of recreational water activities, It is necessary to use adequate methods to detect hepatotoxic cyanotoxins. Thus, we adapted an LC-MS/MS method based on Turner et al (2018) to detect and quantify microcystin (MC) congeners and nodularin1. Additionally, we extended the method by providing an indication of the matrix effect (ME) for each sample without using a standard addition curve. Therefore, our analytical method is more compatible with monitoring programs that are needed to mitigate the risk for public health. These programs deal with a variety of matrix types with diverse physicochemical properties, of which water is the most important. Water can cause contamination through ingestion or MC accumulation in animals and plants. One of its variable physicochemical properties is the pH. While the Ohio EPA DES 701.0 method suggests a 5 to 11 pH range for their analysis of extracellular and intracellular toxins in different water sources2, EPA method 544 (LC-MS/MS) buffers the water samples at pH 7 during collection3. However, our validated method with simpler extraction (vs EPA 544) and LC-MS/MS detection method does not include buffering, resulting in a wide pH range during extraction (similar to Ohio EPA). This wide pH range can cause low extraction yield and recovery of some MC congeners and thus, in turn, imprecise total MC concentrations. Consequently, we have assessed the impact of pH differences on the recovery of MC congeners using our validated LC-MS/MS method. We determined the recovery and ME of the MC’s in spiked samples of bottled spring water after adjusting the pH to different values between 5 and 11. During the experiment, we found that the recovery of multiple congeners was influenced by a difference in pH. This prompted us to elaborate a uniform screening and quantification technique for all congeners. References: 1. Turner et al. Development and single-laboratory validation of a UHPLC-MS/MS method for quantitation of microcystins and nodularin in natural water, cyanobacteria, shellfish and algal supplement tablet powders. J. Chromatogr. B Analyt. Technol. Biomed. Life. Sci. 1074–1075, 111–123 (2018). 2. Ohio EPA. Ohio EPA Total (Extracellular and Intracellular) Microcystins - ADDA by ELISA Analytical Methodology. Ohio EPA DES 701.0 Version 2.3, (2018). 3. Shoemaker et al. METHOD 544, v1 .0: DETERMINATION OF MICROCYSTINS AND NODULARIN IN DRINKING WATER BY SOLID PHASE EXTRACTION AND LIQUID CHROMATOGRAPHY/TANDEM MASS SPECTROMETRY (LC/MS/MS). EPA/600/R-14/474, (2015). [less ▲]

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See detailPublic Microbial Resource Centers: Key Hubs for Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR) Microorganisms and Genetic Materials
Becker, Pierre; Bosschaerts, Marleen; Chaerle, Peter et al

in Applied and Environmental Microbiology (2019), 85(21), 01444-19

In the context of open science, the availability of research materials is essential for knowledge accumulation and to maximize the impact of scientific research. In microbiology, microbial domain ... [more ▼]

In the context of open science, the availability of research materials is essential for knowledge accumulation and to maximize the impact of scientific research. In microbiology, microbial domain biological resource centers (mBRCs) have long-standing experience in preserving and distributing authenticated microbial strains and genetic materials (e.g., recombinant plasmids and DNA libraries) to support new discoveries and follow-on studies. These culture collections play a central role in the conservation of microbial biodiversity and have expertise in cultivation, characterization, and taxonomy of microorganisms. Information associated with preserved biological resources is recorded in databases and is accessible through online catalogues. Legal expertise developed by mBRCs guarantees end users the traceability and legality of the acquired material, notably with respect to the Nagoya Protocol. However, awareness of the advantages of depositing biological materials in professional repositories remains low, and the necessity of securing strains and genetic resources for future research must be emphasized. This review describes the unique position of mBRCs in microbiology and molecular biology through their history, evolving roles, expertise, services, challenges, and international collaborations. It also calls for an increased deposit of strains and genetic resources, a responsibility shared by scientists, funding agencies, and publishers. Journal policies requesting a deposit during submission of a manuscript represent one of the measures to make more biological materials available to the broader community, hence fully releasing their potential and improving openness and reproducibility in scientific research. [less ▲]

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See detailBiodiversity of Cyanobacteria and associated microbiome in the BCCM/ULC Culture Collection
Ahn, Anne-Catherine ULiege; Cornet, Luc ULiege; Beets, Kim ULiege et al

Poster (2019, October 18)

Cyanobacteria are a phylum of photosynthetic bacteria that played an important role in the evolution of the planet by oxygenating its early atmosphere and provoking the Great Oxydation Event around 2.3 ... [more ▼]

Cyanobacteria are a phylum of photosynthetic bacteria that played an important role in the evolution of the planet by oxygenating its early atmosphere and provoking the Great Oxydation Event around 2.3 billion years ago. Early cyanobacteria were the ancestors of plastids and thus, at the origin of the highly successful algae and plants. Nowadays, they still are the basis of the food chain in many biotopes, as long as there is liquid water, light, air and some minerals. Some cyanobacterial taxa are very resistant to harsh environmental conditions, and thus, grow in polar, hypersaline, alkaline and/or arid biotopes, but also in spatial conditions. Furthermore, they are also a prolific source of secondary compounds with bioactivies. The BCCM/ULC public collection funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office since 2011 presently includes 224 cyanobacterial strains, with 140 being of Antarctic origin (catalogue: http://bccm.belspo.be/catalogues/ulc-catalogue-search). The strains are unicyanobacterial but not axenic, due to the well known difficulties of purifying them. Morphological identification showed that the strains belong to the orders of Synechococcales, Oscillatoriales, Pleurocapsales, Chroococcidiopsidales and Nostocales. Furthermore, 16S rRNA and ITS sequences of the strains are being characterized. Recent sequencing efforts increased the amount of available 16S rRNA sequences of BCCM/ULC strains to 190. Those sequences belong to 75 OTUs (groups of sequences with > 99 % 16S rRNA similarity), which represents a quite large diversity. To better characterize the microbiome of the cultures, a metagenomic analysis was performed for 12 polar or subpolar strains and three temperate ones, including three early-branching organisms that will be useful for phylogenomics. The design of a specific metagenomic pipeline enabled the easy recovery of the cyanobacterial genomes from the non-axenic cultures. In parallel, 31 genomes of co-cultivated bacteria (12 nearly complete) from the same cultures were determined. They mostly belonged to Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria, some of them being very closely related, in spite of sometimes geographically distant sampling sites (Cornet et al. 2018). In summary, the BCCM/ULC public collection serves as a Biological Resource Centre to conserve ex situ and document the biodiversity of cyanobacteria and their microbiomes, as well as a repository for discovery of novel bioactive compounds. Cornet, L., Bertrand, A., Hanikenne, M., Javaux, E., Wilmotte, A., & Baurain, D. (2018). Metagenomic assembly of new (sub)polar Cyanobacteria and their associated microbiome from non-axenic cultures. Microbial Genomics.4. DOI 10.1099/mgen.0.000212. [less ▲]

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See detailA plea to preserve microbial diversity in public microbial resource centres
BEcker, Pierre; Chaerle, Peter; Hendrickx, Marijke et al

Poster (2019, October 18)

Open science aims at sharing scientific output in order to maximize the impact of research. This allows follow-on studies, facilitates new discoveries, improves reproducibility of experiments and favours ... [more ▼]

Open science aims at sharing scientific output in order to maximize the impact of research. This allows follow-on studies, facilitates new discoveries, improves reproducibility of experiments and favours transparency of results. Although open data is becoming a well-known concept, less attention is given to the availability of research materials. In life sciences, public microbial collections represent an historical example of open science, thanks to their longstanding experience in the preservation of living microbial strains and their distribution for further scientific investigations or development. These microbial resource centres provide well-characterized, quality-controlled and authenticated strains and associated data (1). In microbiology, the diversity of bacteria, fungi and algae is an invaluable source of applications for the bio-industry. It needs to be secured following (inter)national legislations for future utilizations and research questions. The responsibility to make microorganisms available is shared by researchers, funding agencies and publishers (1). Microbiologists need to be more aware towards strain conservation. Governmental funding policies should request the deposit of strains isolated during financed projects. Regarding publishers, most journals encourage authors to deposit their datasets (codes, sequences, etc) in public repositories but very few specifically require deposit of biological material and cultivated strains in scientific collections. However, this is a key prerequisite to “make it possible to repeat the experiments and perform future research”(2). Editors should therefore implement mechanisms for active agreement by authors to deposit strains when submitting an article. Such mechanisms could follow Transparency and Openness Promotion guidelines (3) for journals that include standards for research materials. [less ▲]

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See detailExamples of Archaean analogues and microspectroscopic techniques II
Wilmotte, Annick ULiege

Scientific conference (2019, October 11)

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See detailAntarctic cyanobacteria, their lifestyle and their biosignatures
Wilmotte, Annick ULiege

Scientific conference (2019, October 10)

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See detailComparison of Microphototrophic Communities Living in Different Soil Environments in the High Arctic
Pushkareva, Ekatarina; Wilmotte, Annick ULiege; Laska, Kamil et al

in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution (2019), 7

The Arctic region undergoes rapid climate change resulting in soil warming with consequent changes in microbial community structure. Therefore, it is important to gain more knowledge on the pioneer ... [more ▼]

The Arctic region undergoes rapid climate change resulting in soil warming with consequent changes in microbial community structure. Therefore, it is important to gain more knowledge on the pioneer photosynthetic microorganisms and their relations to environmental factors. Here we provide a description of the community composition of microbial phototrophs in three different types of soils in the High Arctic (Svalbard): vegetated soil at a raised marine terrace, biological soil crust (BSC) at high elevation, and poorly-developed BSC in a glacier foreland. The studied sites differed from each other in microclimatic conditions (soil temperature and soil water content), soil chemistry and altitude. Combining morphological (cell biovolume) and molecular methods (NGS amplicon sequencing of cyanobacterial 16S rRNA and eukaryotic 18S rRNA sequences of isolates), we studied the diversity and biovolume of cyanobacteria and eukaryotic microalgae. The results showed that cyanobacteria prevailed in the high altitude BSC as well as in pioneering BSC samples in glacier foreland though with lower biomass. More specifically, filamentous cyanobacteria, mainly Leptolyngbya spp., dominated the BSCs from these two localities. In contrast, coccoid microalgae (green and yellow-green algae) had higher biovolume in low altitude vegetated soils. Thus, the results of this study contribute to a better understanding of microphototrophic communities in different types of Arctic soil environments. [less ▲]

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See detailGlobal situation in polar ecology and challenges in science we are dealing with at present
Wilmotte, Annick ULiege

Conference (2019, September 24)

The fragility of the Polar microbial communities to the perturbations due to global climatic changes and anthropogenic impacts are described. The need for environmental protection is highlighted and the ... [more ▼]

The fragility of the Polar microbial communities to the perturbations due to global climatic changes and anthropogenic impacts are described. The need for environmental protection is highlighted and the role of the Protocol of Environmental Protection of the Antarctic Treaty is explained. This could serve as an example for the Polar and Alpine Regions. [less ▲]

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See detailAntarctic cyanobacteria sources of biosignatures
Lara, Yannick ULiege; Demoulin, Catherine ULiege; Lambion, Alexandre ULiege et al

Conference (2019, September 05)

The high UV intensities and extreme seasonality make some of Antarctic habitats interesting to the study life adaptive strategies in extreme conditions, and the biosignatures that can be preserved. In ... [more ▼]

The high UV intensities and extreme seasonality make some of Antarctic habitats interesting to the study life adaptive strategies in extreme conditions, and the biosignatures that can be preserved. In Antarctica, most of the surface, lacustrine and endolithic photosynthetic niches are occupied by cyanobacteria, which are well equipped to survive cold, desiccation or UV exposure. To provide a better understanding of the cyanobacteria survival strategies to extreme conditions, we used transmitted light and TEM microscopy as well as high-throughput sequencing technologies on the Antarctic lineage Phormidesmis priestleyi. We observed and characterized the production of a gloeocapsin-like UV-screening pigment and compared it to the pigment produced by Gloeocapsa alpina. Cyanobacteria are considered to be the inventors of oxygenic photosynthesis and therefore played a pivotal role in early Life and Earth evolution during the Precambrian. However, to perform photosynthesis in the UV exposure of the Early Earth unprotected by an ozone layer, their ancestors must have developed multiple molecular strategies. The presence of a gloeocapsin-like pigment in different cyanobacterial lineages may suggest its early production by their common ancestor, potentially present before the oxidation of the atmosphere. In Polar regions, low temperatures lead to the success of particular organisms featuring adaptations to molecular and cellular disturbances such as rigidity of membranes, reduction of enzyme-catalyzed reactions, and solute transport. Our results underline the importance of functional categories of genes involved in the production of key molecules for the survival of polar P. priestleyi (e.g. exopolysaccharides, chaperone proteins, fatty acids and phospholipids). The study of Antarctic cyanobacteria is promising to find new analog biosignatures for Life in rocky habitable planets. This project is supported by the mini-ARC PUMA (ULiège, Belgium). [less ▲]

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See detailBCCM/ULC : genomic research on Polar cyanobacteria
Wilmotte, Annick ULiege; Beets, Kim ULiege; Simons, Véronique et al

in European Journal of Phycology (2019, August 27), 54(sup1), 31-117

The BCCM/ULC public collection of cyanobacteria aims to gather a representative portion of Polar cyanobacterial diversity from different ecological origins (microbial mats, soil crusts, cryoconites ... [more ▼]

The BCCM/ULC public collection of cyanobacteria aims to gather a representative portion of Polar cyanobacterial diversity from different ecological origins (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 unicyanobacterial strains of Polar origin in the collection (catalogue: http://bccm.belspo.be/catalogues/ulc-catalogue-search). The collection is ISO 9001 certified for depositing and distributing strains, as part of the multi-site certification of the Belgian Co-ordinated Collections of Micro-organisms (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 first genome of an axenic Antarctic strain, Phormidesmis priestleyi ULC007, was sequenced. To investigate the occurrence of genes involved in the cold stress response, a selection of 42 PEGs (protein encoding genes) linked to cold adaptation was studied in 72 cyanobacterial genomes. By comparing the genes copy numbers as a proxy of adaptation, our results underline the importance of different functions in the adaptation mechanisms to the polar environment (e.g. DNA repair, Heat shock proteins, EPS biosynthesis). We also described a metagenomic pipeline that enables the easy recovery of genomes from non-axenic cultures, tested on 17 cyanobacterial strains from the BCCM/ULC collection. In parallel, we assembled 31 co-cultivated bacteria (12 nearly complete) from the same cultures and showed that they mostly belong to Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria. [less ▲]

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See detailA plea to preserve microalgae and cyanobacterial diversity in public microbial resource centres
Becker, Pierre; Chaerle, Peter; Hendrickx, Marijke et al

Poster (2019, August)

Open science aims at sharing scientific output in order to maximize the impact of research. This allows follow-on studies, facilitates new discoveries, improves reproducibility of experiments and favours ... [more ▼]

Open science aims at sharing scientific output in order to maximize the impact of research. This allows follow-on studies, facilitates new discoveries, improves reproducibility of experiments and favours transparency of results. Although open data is becoming a well-known concept, less attention is given to the availability of research materials. In life sciences, public algae collections represent an historical example of open science, thanks to their longstanding experience in the preservation of living microalgal strains and their distribution for further scientific investigations or development. These microbial resource centres provide well-characterized, quality-controlled and authenticated strains and associated data. In phycology, the diversity of microalgae is an invaluable source of applications for the bio-industry. It needs to be secured following (inter)national legislations for future utilizations and research questions. The responsibility to make microalgae available is shared by researchers, funding agencies and publishers. Phycologists need to be more aware towards strain conservation. Governmental funding policies should request the deposit of strains isolated during financed projects. Regarding publishers, most journals encourage authors to deposit their datasets (codes, sequences, etc) in public repositories but very few specifically require deposit of biological material and cultivated strains in scientific collections. However, this is a key prerequisite to “make it possible to repeat the experiments and perform future research”1. Editors should therefore implement mechanisms for active agreement by authors to deposit strains when submitting an article. Such mechanisms could follow Transparency and Openness Promotion guidelines2 for journals that include standards for research materials. 1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/page/journal/15298817/homepage/forauthors.html 2. Nosek BA et al. (2015). Promoting an open research culture. Science 348: 1422-1425. [less ▲]

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See detailCyanobacteria of Polar Regions: Focus of the BCCM/ULC Culture Collection
Ahn, Anne-Catherine ULiege; Beets, Kim ULiege; Lara, Yannick ULiege et al

Poster (2019, June 13)

In the Polar Regions, Cyanobacteria represent key primary producers and are the main drivers of the food webs in a wide range of aquatic to terrestrial habitats. They build benthic microbial mats in lakes ... [more ▼]

In the Polar Regions, Cyanobacteria represent key primary producers and are the main drivers of the food webs in a wide range of aquatic to terrestrial habitats. They build benthic microbial mats in lakes and soil crusts in terrestrial biotopes. They may present interesting features to survive freeze/thaw cycles, seasonally contrasted light intensities, high UV radiations, dessication and other stresses. 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 mats, soil crusts, cryoconites, endoliths…). It makes it available for researchers to study the taxonomy, evolution, adaptations to harsh environmental conditions, and genomic make-up. It presently includes 224 cyanobacterial strains, with 140 being of Antarctic origin (catalogue: http://bccm.belspo.be/catalogues/ulc-catalogue-search). An ISO 9001 certificate was obtained for the public deposition and distribution of strains, as part of the multi-site certification for the BCCM consortium. The morphological identification shows that the strains belong to the orders Synechococcales, Oscillatoriales, Pleurocapsales, Chroococcidiopsidales and Nostocales. The 16S rRNA and ITS sequences of the strains are gradually being characterized. The 159 BCCM/ULC strains for which 16S rRNA sequences were analyzed correspond to 69 OTUs (sequences with > 99 % 16S rRNA similarity), and thus, represent a quite large diversity. In addition, cyanobacteria are known to produce a wide range of secondary metabolites (e.g. alkaloids, cyclic and linear peptides, polyketides) with bioactive potential. Genome sequencing was performed for 15 strains (Lara et al. 2017, Cornet et al. 2018). The bioinformatic analysis of the partial genomes of strains ULC007, ULC065 and ULC129 showed the presence of clusters encoding NRPS, PKS, hybrid clusters and other types of secondary metabolites. The comparison of a selection of the PEGs involved in the cold adaptation mechanisms revealed that more copies of PEGs involved in various molecular mechanisms of cold stress responses have been found in polar than in non polar genomes. In summary, the BCCM/ULC public collection serves as a Biological Resource Centre to conserve ex situ and document the biodiversity of polar cyanobacteria, as well as a repository for discovery of novel bioactive compounds. [less ▲]

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See detailGSC21 Satellite meeting on Cyanobacterial nomenclature and taxonomy
Wilmotte, Annick ULiege

Conference (2019, May 24)

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See detailCyanobacteria and their toxins
Wilmotte, Annick ULiege

Conference (2019, May 16)

- Evolution and morphology - Ecology - Metabolism - Cellular differentiation (heterocysts, akinetes) - Gas vesicles - Production bioactive compounds - Source of proteins and biotechnological compounds ... [more ▼]

- Evolution and morphology - Ecology - Metabolism - Cellular differentiation (heterocysts, akinetes) - Gas vesicles - Production bioactive compounds - Source of proteins and biotechnological compounds - Our research on Belgian planktonic cyanobacteria: B-BLOOMS [less ▲]

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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 detailHow is the science-based stewardship of the Southern Ocean organized and could it be applied to the Arctic Ocean?
Van de Putte, Anton; André, François; Wilmotte, Annick ULiege

Conference (2019, May 08)

During this workshop, the science-based stewardship of the Southern Ocean will be described by Belgian scientists and authorities participating to the Antarctic Treaty System. The possibility to use a ... [more ▼]

During this workshop, the science-based stewardship of the Southern Ocean will be described by Belgian scientists and authorities participating to the Antarctic Treaty System. The possibility to use a similar approach will be discussed with the public, especially the role of scientists in the policy-making, and how it could be improved. The Antarctic Treaty, signed in 1959, designated the Antarctic (area south of 60°S) as an area dedicated to peace and science. It was later complemented by a couple of legally binding international agreements, which form part of the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) in order to give a better protection to the Antarctic environment. For the sustainable management of the Southern Ocean (south of the Antarctic Convergence), the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) was adopted in 1980. CCAMLR makes decisions on matters such as total allowable catches, closing and opening fisheries, and the designation of marine protected areas (MPAs). Its specificity is that the management of fisheries in CCAMLR is guided by an ecosystem-based approach, scientific data and modeling Later, the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1991. It focusses on the continent itself but has also some responsibilities for the protection of marine zones when they are included in Antarctic Protected Areas (ASPA’s and ASMA’s) with a marine component. The connectivity between land and ocean highlight the need of cooperation between the two ATS organizations. Thus, there are meetings between the Scientific Committee of CCAMLR (SC-CCAMLR) and the CEP to discuss how marine spatial protection and management can best be performed across the Antarctic Treaty System, and to seek some harmonization. In the frame of current climate change and related threats, it becomes very urgent to realize a network of representative MPAs. Scientists carry out relevant research that is the basis to provide scientific advice for policy decisions, but they do not always recognize this or find the communication difficult. They may reach to policy-makers through several channels: the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), their national delegates to CCAMLR and the Committee on Environmental Protection (CEP), but also the Antarctic Environments Portal (www.environments.aq). The interaction between science and policy is crucial but also depends on possibilities for the scientists to gather the needed data and thus, for example, depends on funding for long-term monitoring schemes. [less ▲]

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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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