Ecotoxicology and Stress Ecology Group

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In Ecotoxicology and Stress Ecology Research Group (ESERG) we concentrate on effects of natural and anthropogenic chemicals on organisms, populations, communities and ecosystems. We study also effects of interactions among toxicants and other environmental stressing factors, such as extreme and suboptimal temperatures, unfavourable moisture and humidity, as well as pathogens. Toxicokinetic studies have also been always in the centre of our interest. Combining all these factors and their effects on organisms and their assemblages builds a highly complicated yet fascinating picture describing functioning of organisms in a complex environment.

Our laboratories

In the Laboratory of Ecochemistry, environmental and biological samples are analysed for a range of contaminants, such as metals (atomic absorption spectrometry) and organic chemicals (gas chromatography mass spectrometry). In the Laboratory of Ecotoxicology, effects of chemicals on enzyme activity and metabolic performance of organisms are measured. Our high-precision MicroOxymax respirometer let us measure respiration rates even in the smallest animals. Measuring respiration rate of soil microorganisms allows to assess effects of pollution on the functioning of this crucial part of any ecosystem. In cooperation with Laboratory of Molecular Ecology, pollution effects on genetic pools of populations inhabiting contaminated environments are also assessed. Evolutionary processes and population dynamics in environmentally stressful conditions are studied with mathematical modelling, allowing to test a range of different scenarios. Altogether, we are the team with probably most diverse methodology at the Institute, which guarantees that everybody can find something interesting to study here, and at the same time will have an opportunity to familiarize with a broad range of scientific problems and methods to approach them. 

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Ryszard Laskowski
Updated: 2012/02/01.