DESCRIPTION OF THE GROUP

This group represents the Department of Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. Our research interests include diversity and molecular evolution of chosen groups of protists (eukaryotic microorganisms). Protists occur in diverse habitats worldwide and represent a major part of eukaryotes’ diversity. The main subject of our studies are photosynthesizing euglenids – unicellular algae common in small freshwater ponds, especially in polluted waters (wastewaters from sugar refineries, dairies or containing heavy metals). Some species of euglenids may form toxic blooms, dangerous for fish.


GROUP MEMBERS

Professor Bożena Zakryś

THE LEADER OF THE GROUP

TEAM

Professor Bożena Zakryś
e-mail:zakrys@biol.uw.edu.pl
phone: +48 22 553 05 50

Team

Rafał Milanowski Ph.D.,
Anna Karnkowska Ph.D.,
Maja Łukomska-Kowalczyk M.Sc.,
Natalia Gumińska M.Sc.,
Agata Kulczycka M.Sc.,
Małgorzata Krupska M.Sc.,
Marcin Broler,
Alicja Fells,
Marta Gapińska,
Tomasz Kalinowski.

RESEARCH ACTIVITIES

  • Systematics, phylogenetics and evolution of green euglenids. We try to better assess the diversity of these organisms by isolation of new species from the environment, microscopic observations and molecular research. Moreover, we attempt to recreate relationships among euglenids by preparing a reliable phylogenetic tree, comprising the highest possible number of taxons. So far, only 5% of species have had their representations on phylogenetic trees. Therefore, relationships among taxons have not been recognized appropriately.
  • Molecular identification. We are working on a universal, fast and precise method of molecular identification of particular taxons (barcode DNA), that will allow monitoring of euglenid diversity in waterbodies, with special consideration of species able to form toxic blooms.
  • Origin and evolution of unconventional introns. In nuclear genes of euglenids, apart from conventional spliceosomal introns present in most eukaryotes, there are unconventional introns, removed independently of spliceosome. We study the origin of these introns, mechanisms of their removal from primary transcripts, and mechanisms of inserting to new positions in nuclear genes.
  • Evolution and origin of secondary chloroplasts. In many groups, including euglenids, chloroplasts originated as a result of secondary endosymbiosis. By use of transcriptomic data, we study potential evolutionary lines, that may have been chloroplast donors, and the evolution of euglenids after acquisition of chloroplast.

Furthermore, we perform consultations and expert opinions, including:

  • Identification of toxic species of euglenids in fish ponds;
  • Environmental expert opinions, especially on algae in wastewaters (from sugar refineries, dairies or containing heavy metals);
  • Algological consultations for antique restoration and construction (algae communities on plasterworks, roof tiles, sandstone façades and other construction materials).