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Effect of ultraviolet radiation on programmed cell death in phytoplankton: impact on biomass cycling and biodiversity


As a result of the Individual Marie Curie category-30 awarded to Or. Segovia, we have demonstrated that a genetic cell death programme pathway exists in phytoplankton, triggered when the cells are subject to different stress, but that in normal condition s is silenced. Considering the alarming ozone depletion that our planet is suffering, we propose to simulate the increase in UVB irradiation and examine its effects in cultures of several phytoplankton species, under laboratory and natural solar conditi ons. We will asses the ability of UVB to cause irreversible damage at the cellular level, affecting programmed cell death. The material aim of study will be cultured and short-term (h) exposed to different doses of UVB and simulating natural solar radiat ion with an ORIEL solar simulator which is one of the most important innovations in the study of photo biology. The ORIEL solar simulator simulates the solar spectrum with great accuracy, both for the upper part of the atmosphere and for the different oz one levels. Induction of cell death by UVB will be studied by means of: a) reduction in the number of cells, formation of pyrimidine dimmers, cellular viability, DNA condensation and fragmentation (hallmarks of the cell death process); b) detection of ca spases (proteases involved in the cell death process); c) study nutrient accessibility of the media under UVB radiation; and d) study of changes in CO2 fixation, c) and d) will help us to discriminate whether the effect of UVB on cell death is directly e xerted on the cell death genes or through stress provoked in the nutrient metabolism. This will be of great importance in the prediction of the ecological impact in terms of changes in the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems and processes in th e future, due to the genuine natural conditions imitated by the ORIEL solar simulator.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/marine biology
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/cell biology
  • /natural sciences/earth and related environmental sciences/environmental sciences/ozone depletion

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERG - Marie Curie actions-European Re-integration Grants


Avenida De Cervantes, 2
Estepona (Malaga)