The Romanian Governmental Scientific Expedition in Antarctica, ROICE 2015, is conducted with the purpose of investigating the Antarctic ecosystems by studying the microbial communities of different habitats, in order to identify and characterize their specific microcosms. Equally, it aims to study the effects and adaptations of organisms in extreme environments.
Investigating specific environments through the expedition in Antarctica and collecting biological material, represent the first step of the entire research project. At the INCDSB research locations, based on the biological material collected and on the field studies conducted by the ROICE 2015 team, we will carry out the second phase of the project.
The importance of such research is given by the biodiversity specific to this area, by the taxonomic and phylogenetic relationships between microorganisms and their biotechnological potential.
During the expedition, different types of habitat (soil, snow, water, hydrothermal sources, etc.) will be investigated, in order to test and optimize various specific methods of sampling biological material, of isolating microorganisms in laboratories, and methods of investigating taxonomic and metabolic diversity through a comprehensive approach, both phenotypic and / or metagenomic.
Considering the vulnerability of the Antarctic environment to climate change and pollution, as well as the increasing interest in the study of the cryophilic and cryotolerant microorganisms in the Antarctic ecosystems, briefly studied in the past, and due to important medical and biotechnological potential, the main research topics of ROICE 2015 are:
- Investigation of the impact of climate chances on the diversity of microbial communities and their role in balancing the glacial ecosystem following glaciers melting;
- Study of microbial diversity in Antarctica habitats, with implications in the transfer of microbial strains and of pollutant agents;
- Isolation of some microbial strains and extremozymes from the Antarctic habitats, with potential to be applied in bionanotechnology;
- Study of the effects and adaptation of the human body to extreme conditions.