Laboratory of Plankton and Shellfish toxicity: About the lab

We perform interdisciplinary research on the structure and dynamics of phyto- and zoo-planktonic communities and their role in the functioning of the marine ecosystem. These investigations are supported by the long-term data sets that include the composition and abundance of phyto- and zooplankton, as well as primary production data and chlorophyll a concentration, thus representing the special asset of this Laboratory and of the Institute.

Our research is focused on:

  • determination of spatial and temporal dynamics of phyto- and zooplankton in the transitional, coastal and open waters of the Adriatic Sea
  • identification of changes in the plankton communities under the influence of anthropogenic activities and climate changes
  • evaluating the importance and role of phyto- and zooplankton communities in the marine food web
  • taxonomic investigations of phyto- and zooplankton, with an emphasis on the occurrences of non-indigenous species in the Adriatic plankton phytoplankton ecology in nutrient-enriched systems (fish farms)
  • the occurrences of toxic phytoplankton species in shellfish farms

Our laboratory develops and implements analytical methods both on tandem Liquid Chromatography- Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS / MS) and High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) for the purpose of:

  • Investigations of marine biotoxins: Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP), Lipophilic Toxins (LT), Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) and their metabolites
  • Identification of biotoxin profiles in shellfish and other vectors of biotoxin transfer in the food web and assessment of shellfish toxicity
  • Monitoring of the cyclic imines occurrence (gymnodimines and spirolides)
  • Determination of tetrodotoxin in fish and bivalve tissues
  • Development of sufficiently sensitive chemical instrumental methods: design and application of HPLC-DAD-UV, HPLC-FLD and LC-MS / MS
  • Research of the mechanisms of circulation of bisphenol A (BPA) in sediments and shellfish of the Adriatic Sea
  • Determination of lutein pigment in fish tissue

Based on the appropriate, validated and standardized methods and international proficiency testing in the field of toxic phytoplankton and marine biotoxins, since 2008 we have been accredited according to the requirements of HRN EN ISO / IEC 17025/2007. Laboratory of Plankton and Shellfish Toxicity is National Marine Biotoxins Reference Laboratory (NRL).

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