ECOTOXICOLOGY

© Intellectual Property Registry No. 288,689.

LEBMA (Laboratory of Ecology and Molecular Biology) is a multidisciplinary team that deals with environmental problems through ecotoxicological evaluations using macroalgae as a study group. In our research we have used them as descriptors to assess their responses at a molecular, physiological, and reproductive level, as well as to evaluate impacts at populations and communities.

In addition, we have conducted environmental analyses of the water quality and marine sediments in areas highly impacted by industrial activities. Additionally, we have developed bioremediation projects in collaboration with fishermen communities with the aim of reducing the negative impact of industrial activities on the central littoral of Chile, a problem of contingency and national concern.

 

The use of macroalgae for bioremediation produces large amounts of polluted biomass that cannot be longer used for human consumption or as crops for livestock. Therefore, to solve this problem, we search for novel functional uses of this algal biomass, such as biochar, which can be used for soil remediation.

 

Recently, we have been exploring the direct and indirect effects of the relationship between algae and herbivores, in order to expand our findings to other taxonomic groups. We aim in the future to continue including new ideas for ecotoxicological assessments in our strand of research and to generate innovative options and solutions to the national environmental problem.

Genetic Diversity and

EcophysiologY

© Intellectual Property Registry No. 288,689.

The main aim of this line of research is to unravel the existing interactions in the intertidal environment on a small scale, among them: gradients of environmental variables (e.g. temperature, UV, humidity, etc.), ecophysiological differences, genetic diversity of species or ecotypes, and distribution of macroalgae in microhabitats (e.g. relative density, covering).

At a regional level, we seek to determine algal biodiversity, through establishing phylogenetic and phylogeographic relationships among algae species of the coastal environment, which are generally cryptic (given their morphological simplicity).

In the future, we expect to develop a supplementary line of study in which we will assess the degrees of spatial autocorrelation between gradients of anthropic pollution at a mesoscale or geographic level and certain rates of the physiological state of macroalgae on the rocky coastline of Chile.

OMIC's

© Image Property of LEBMA, 2019.

Among the research strands in our team, we focus on the tolerance mechanisms in species facing physical and pollution factors. In this scenario, we use different tools to identify those mechanisms, such as proteomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, and, more recently, lipidomics. Recognizing those mechanisms with these tools allows us to better understand the ecophysiology of macroalgae facing environmental pressure.

applied phycology

© Intellectual Property Registry No. 288,689.

Due to the knowledge of macroalgae in basic sciences our research team has achieved over the years, we began the application of these findings. Currently, we develop biomaterials with biotechnological applications, characterize bioactive compounds with nutraceutical potential, transfer technology to fishermen communities and create innovative systems of cultivation.

This research strand was created through the collaboration with various groups of researchers, both national and international. This has allowed us so far to get three national/international patents.