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Marine Biotech Potential of the Croatian Adriatic Sea
Marin Roje,1 Olivier P. Thomas,2 Robert Duran3 and Dušica Vujaklija1
1 Ruđer
Bošković Institute, Bijenička cesta 54, Zagreb, Croatia
2 Institut de Chimie – PCRE, UMR 7272 CNRS, Université Nice Sophia-Antipolis, Faculté des Sciences, Parc Valrose 06108 Nice
3 France Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour, IPREM UMR CNRS 5254, BP 1155, Pau Cedex, France
The major aim of this poster is to provide information on the present acitivities and ongoing projects to explore diversity and
biotechnological potential of marine organisms from the Adriatic Sea. The Adriatic Sea forms a distinct sub-region of the
Mediterranean Sea divided into three larger geographical units, i.e. Northern, Central and Southern Adriatic. The Croatian National
Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan identified more than 7,000 animal and plant species in the Adriatic Sea. The Central Adriatic is
especially abundant in endemic plant species, with 535 identified species of green, brown and red algae. In the Adriatic 12% of the
algae species are endemic. The highest levels of endemism are in underground species of snails and isopods. Each group with
more than half the underground species endemic to Croatia are most often associated with aquatic systems in submerged caves.
Presently 235 caves and pits have been recorded along the coastal region providing very specific as-yet-unexplored habitats.
The Northern Adriatic is a relatively shallow ecosystem since its depth does not exceed 50 m. Due to many natural characteristic
Northern Adriatic possess impressive biodiversity. Marine environment is very heterogeneous and complex and also one of the
richest habitat in microorganisms. Although Croatian side of Adriatic sea has been over years subject of various physicochemical,
biological and toxicological examinations, screening of the microbial community at the metagenomic level has not been reported
so far. During the last few years we established international scientific collaboration with various scientific groups from France to
create interdisciplinary expertise platform and advanced technology for exploration and exploitation of marine resources. The
major aim of our current research is to identify free-living microbial communities or symbionts and higher endemic organisms from
the selected points (pristine, polluted area, ) along coastal region of Croatian Adriatic as source of new bioactive molecules.
Preliminary results obtained in collaboration with O. P. Thomas group on chemical biodiversity of collected species (Acanthella
cannabina, Scopalina loyphyropoda, Suberites domuncula, Dictyonella incise, Tethya aurantium) from field research in 2011
around Kornati National Park revealed exceptionally rich chemical profiles from different invertebrates.
Scopalina lophyropoda
Acanthella cannabina
Tethya aurantium
Suberites domuncula
Dictyonella incisa
For the phylogenetic identification microbial DNA is extracted from the samples and the community composition was examined
using NGS and various molecular methods. Our interest is focused to identify marine habitats with actinomycetes and
characterize the bioactive metabolites. Recent findings not only confirm the existence and tremendous diversity of these bacteria
in marine environment but also confirm that like terrestrial counterparts they possess huge potential for synthesis of
biotechnologically important metabolites. Progress has been made in detection of marine actinomycetes along coastal region of
Western Istira. In collaboration with R. Duran group we characterized different Actinobacteria assemblages according to the
contamination type. The study allowed to observe “Actinobacteria generalists”, probably able to perform general biogeochemical
functions. We also revealed the presence of “Actinobacteria specialists” having the capacity to cope with the presence of either
(i) As, (ii) toxic metals (Hg, Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn) or (iii) PAHs (R. Duran et al, 2015. ESPR; accepted for publication)
Project InnoMol FP7-REGPOT-2013-1
This work was also supported by French/Croatian bilateral program PHC-Cogito ISTRIA (project: 25036XB), the Adris Foundation-2011; the Croatian Ministry of Science,
Education and Sports (project 098-0982913-2877) and the Regional Platform for Environmental Microbiology PREMICE supported by the Aquitaine Regional Government
Council (France)