Laboratory of Ecology and Physiology of Hydrobionts

Head: Dr Vytautas Kesminas, Senior Researcher

The main research trends: investigation of the functioning and structure of communities and populations of aquatic organisms under anthropogenic impacts and adaptation peculiarities and regularities in ontogenesis; investigation of the toxic effects of pollutants of different origin on the functional systems of test organisms.

The Sector of Freshwater Ecology focuses on investigation of the structure, ecological condition and resources of fish communities and populations, genetic diversity of indicator species, and regularities of natural and anthropogenic changes.

The researchers of the sector pursue investigations on the diversity of fish and lamprey communities and populations, their genetic structure and production processes. Conventional and radio markers are being used to investigate migrations and living grounds of migratory (salmon, sea trout, eel) and rare (gulf sturgeon) fishes in the Nemunas basin, Curronian Lagoon and Baltic Sea. The researchers investigate the ecology, structure and variability of trophic relations, as well as functioning regularities of alien fish species in Lithuanian waters; participate in the monitoring of the ecological state of water bodies based on fish indices; pursue investigations of population- and community-level changes in migratory, commercial and European-Community-importance fish and lamprey species in different Lithuanian water bodies; investigate fish stocks and determine their status, as well as issue rational fish stock use recommendations and prepare fish stock reconstruction programmes. The recirculation systems in the Experimental Aquarium serve as the basis to rear rare and vanishing fish species, as well as to conduct scientific experiments and develop fish rearing technologies.

The Sector of Ecological Physiology and Toxicology focuses on investigation of the regularities and mechanisms of physiological changes in different hydrobiont species induced by toxic substances, nanoparticles and metals constituting them, as well as regularities and mechanisms of organism responses.

The researchers of the sector investigate the peculiarities of the toxic effect of pollutants of different chemical origin on the functional systems of test organisms and on their responses; search for specific and no-specific responses (physiological-behavioural markers) of organisms to pollution; investigate the ways pollutants get into organisms and the mechanisms they distribute and accumulate in organisms, as well as design models of possible effects of pollution toxins on organisms; consider theoretical and practical possibilities of application of toxicity tests, test organisms and test-responses through investigation of toxicity of separate pollutants and wastewater and ecotoxicological state of natural waters; and analyse the regularities of physiological changes induced by nanoparticles and metals constituting them, as well as organism responses in fishes of different stages of development.