Research interests

In situ studies of changes in benthic diatom communities in freshwater ecosystems exposed to heavy metal pollution. Under laboratory conditions, assessment of the impact of heavy metals and nanoparticles on diatom communities, species growth rates, and morphological structures. Determination of the level of tolerance of benthic diatom to heavy metals, as well as bioindicator evaluation of benthic diatoms to determine pollution of heavy metals and nanoparticles using microscopic, mathematical modelling analysis. Compilation of a collection of diatoms.

Annotation of the dissertation

Preserving aquatic ecosystems in good condition is one of the main global challenges. However, as the human population and its needs grow, the industrial industry and new technologies expand, and contamination by heavy metals or new emerging substances poses new problems for a safe environment. Therefore, to ensure the good health of ecosystems, it is important to monitor water quality based on various parameters of water quality.
Among the biological indicators of water quality are diatoms, which respond rapidly to various long-term, short-term and even instantaneous changes in the environment not only at the community level, but also with morphological, biochemical and physiological changes. The biological indices of diatoms have been successfully applied in water quality monitoring studies, mainly to assess the pollution of nutrients and organic matter. However, these organisms are also excellent bioindicators of heavy metals.
The aim is to determine the resistance and vulnerability of benthic diatom assemblages to relevant heavy metals and nanoparticles in natural freshwater ecosystems and under model conditions, and to assess the potential of these organisms as bioindicators. The resulting results would be important for environmental management practice, for the management and restoration of contaminated aquatic ecosystems, for the search for and development of innovative technologies in water treatment processes or biotechnology.

International scientific conferences:

  1. Petrėnas G., Kazlauskas M. 2022. Experimental study of cadmium – indicating freshwater diatoms. – 11th „International Conference on Biodiversity Research “, October 20 – 22, Daugavpils, Latvia.
  2. Petrėnas G., Kazlauskas M. 2022. Identification of diatom species that indicate cadmium. “Young Researcher for Smart Society”, May 11, Vilnius University Šiauliai Academy, Lithuania.