The Romanian Scientific Research Expedition in Antarctica – ROICE 2020 represents the beginning of a new stage in the ROICE project.
Year by year, the researchers of the project, through their specialization, allowed new approaches by initiating research that was added to the initial research plan (2015) and which confers value to the whole project. At the same time, annually, the research plan has been adapted according to the results obtained in previous years.
The aim of the ROICE 2020 expedition in Antarctica is the study regarding the effect of the climate change on the microbial communities through the identification and characterisation of microcosms from various habitats with a main focus on the organisms’ adaptations to these peculiar conditions.
The ROICE 2020 expedition, unfolded from January 02 to February 04, 2020, at the King Sejong Antarctic Station of the Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI) on King George Island in western Antarctica, is the fourth expedition of Romanian researchers to Antarctica, organized by the National Institute for Research Development of Biological Sciences (INCDSB).
The researchers’ team of ROICE 2020 expedition is:
- Dr. Alexandra Maria Hillebrand-Voiculescu (ISER);
- Dr. Iris Maria Tusa (INCDSB);
- Dr. Corina Iţcuş (INCDSB).
ROICE 2020 has pursued the goal by achieving the main objectives:
- Investigating the water quality of the Antarctic Ocean, aiming at identifying potential polluting compounds (eg plastic degradation compounds, oil residues, etc.);
- The chemical characterization of snow / ice / water flow paths and soil in order to establish correlations regarding the structure of the microbial communities;
- Investigating the microbial diversity as a potential indicator of the air transfer of microorganisms;
- Isolation and characterization of microorganisms’ adapted to extreme temperatures from snow / ice / water flow paths and soil with the purpose of isolating strains with potential bionanotechnological applications;
- Assessment of the impact of climate change and more precisely the withdrawal of the Antarctic ice sheet on the microbial communities embedded in ice.
ROICE 2020 – Colectare probe în teren
In addition, the impact of extreme conditions (cold, stress, depth) on the human body and on the behaviour of the expedition members was monetarised.
All the samples were pre-processed in the laboratories of the King Sejong Research Station in order to be transported for further research to the INCDSB and Institute of Speleology Emil Racoviță (ISER).