Before you are the approved intermediate grants of the Young Ecologists Program “d-r Ljupcho Melovski” for 2022. We hope that the projects in this category will contribute towards the development of young scientists who will continue working in the field of ecology and find solutions for the problems we face.
1. Microbial biofungicides as an alternative for biological protection of plants (MICROBIOFUN)
Coordinator: Sofija Kostandinovska
Summary: The excessive use of destructive chemical agents in agriculture causes a number of negative effects on the environment (Prabha et al., 2016). Biopesticides are a modern alternative that protect the environment from the global problem of pesticide pollution (Ardakani et al., 2009; Marrone, 1999). Biofungicides are natural, eco-friendly, biodegradable products used to control pests, but unlike chemicals, they are specific and do not cause resistance in target organisms (Muhammad et al., 2022). The transition from chemical pesticides to biofungicides promises to reduce the rate of environmental pollution (Montesinos, 2003). Macedonia is dependent of the import on such bioproducts and will remain so until the natural potentials of our soil micro-communities are studied. Because biofungicides are ecological bioproducts, the aim of this project is to isolate native microorganisms that show antifungal activity from different soil types in Macedonia. These pilot biofungicides will be further tested on the most common phytopathogens, by observing this effect in vitro and in semi-laboratory conditions.
2. Evolution or phenotype plasticity in Cyclotella cavitata – the answer to ecological changes in the Ohrid Lake during the Quaternary period
Coordinator: Dushica Zaova
Summary: Species survival is determined by their potential to respond to the environmental shift through a change in their phenotype, physiology and/or behavior, usually followed by genetic modifications too (Hetem et al., 2014; Ho and Zhang, 2018; Fox et al., 2019). Those species which will not be able to respond to the new environment may become extinct (e.g Kender et al., 2016). Therefore, analyzing the adaptive potential of certain species is important for predicting their possible response to future climate-driven environmental scenarios.
In this study, the endemic diatom Cyclotella cavitata persisting in Lake Ohrid during the Quaternary will be analyzed. Can we find the origin of C. cavitata and does and how this species maintains its survival during the climate-driven environmental changes, will be investigated using morphometric and mathematical models. It is expected to be obtained evidence for evolutionary patterns and responses of the populations to climate changes related to the Quaternary period.