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"Living universal indicators"
"Seasonal changes in the degree of DNA damage in Cyprinus carpio transferred into Goczałkowice lake"

Marta Dziewięcka, Maria Augustyniak
University of Silesia in Katowice, Faculty of Biology and Environmental
Protection, Department of Animal Physiology and Ecotoxicology,
ul. Bankowa 9, 40-007 Katowice

Love lives in the genes - untypical image of blood cells in carp

Description popularizing the research project

East or West, home is best. Even those for whom travelling into unknown is their whole life admit it. Having come back from more or less distant journeys, the familiar 'corner' of the world means rest. Safe environment means the precious calories are not spent on struggling with the odds, and the saved energy pushes them into the unknown world again. The world does not have to be dangerous or unpleasant, and after a momentary energy usage associated with the journey, it does not have to cause stress. Yet when the new location is far from comfortable, then the stress is born.
Animals also travel. An animal's journey into the 'unknown' may end up badly: with a meal in a plantation freshly-sprayed with a pesticide, a sleepover in a dump full of heavy metals, or a feeding ground after collecting sewage from a city near there. For a long time it has been known that animals react to polluted environment with stress. Some symptoms are apparent, other remain hidden in cells and organs. They can be detected only with special tests. They are very precise and sometimes it is possible to determine type of pollution with them. The researchers transport selected animals from the comfort of 'home' to a new place and when they calm down, basing on their physiology and biochemistry, they assess how much the new place differs from their familiar niche. Such experiments are particularly effective in water environments. Moving water animals from their home pond and placing them in a reservoir the researchers are interested if they may work like a universal indicator in an acid solution, although waiting for the reaction usually takes much more time. After hours, days or weeks it is enough to look into the cells to assess discomfort of the living probe and, in this way, quality of water in the tested water body. The information is often invaluable, nearly of strategic importance, and the image obtained through the test is sometimes very telling...


Experiments with caged carp are considered as one of the most powerful and useful tool in freshwater environment monitoring. Nowadays, to determine genotoxicity and/or overall oxidative stress risk in water, assays with fish as a model organism are developing dynamically. Having in mind all the advantages of the caged fish model for water quality monitoring, the limitations of the method should not be overlooked too. Natural variability of the environment resulting from seasonality, stress connected with transporting the animals and putting them into cages may impact the measured parameters, and should be taken into account during data interpretation. Thus, the aim of the study was twofold: monitoring genotoxicity of water in Goczałkowice lake, and evaluating the impact of the season and the duration of the experiment on the measured parameters. The presented studies were a part of a large project: 'Integrated Support System for Management and Protection of Water Dam Reservoir', which focused on searching for a solution to reducing ecological and functional potential in storage reservoirs. Goczałkowice lake, the main source of drinking water in Silesian Agglomeration, was chosen as a model reservoir. Cyprinus carpio individuals were transferred to three locations in the lakewhere they were kept for three weeks. Every week the DNA damage in blood cells (by comet assay; SGCE) was measured. The experiment was performed two times, in summer and autumn. Basing on the results we concluded, that together with water purity in the selected locations of reservoir also seasons (summer vs. autumn) also duration of the experiment has an influence on biological parameters of fishes. It would mean that during the experiment with cages we should also take into account seasons and exposure time to environmental factors..


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