A postdoc from METU Limnology Lab is awarded the best Life Sciences PhD Thesis in Brazil

Cihelio Alves Amorim, a Postdoc at Limnology Laboratory, Department of Biological Sciences, Middle East Technical University, was recently awarded the CAPES Grand Award for the best thesis in Brazil in all life sciences, including, Biology, Medicine, and Agronomy. Cihelio analysed the causes, consequences, and control of algal blooms in tropical reservoirs during his research at the Federal Rural University of Pernambuco, Brazil.

Cihelio Alves Amorim, who is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Middle East Technical University, in Turkey, concluded that the increase in algal blooms, mostly potentially toxic cyanobacteria, in tropical reservoirs, is caused by a set of factors such as rising temperatures, prolonged droughts, eutrophication (pollution) and salinity. Those blooms can cause serious impacts on biodiversity and the functioning of aquatic ecosystems.

"In the study, we demonstrate the consequences of blooms for biodiversity and the functioning of the entire ecosystem, as well as how the loss of biodiversity impacts the provision of ecosystem services in reservoirs with multiple uses, especially in the supply of drinking water for human populations", analyses Cihelio Alves Amorim.

In scientific articles, derived from the thesis, the potential control of cyanobacterial blooms was also analysed through the biomanipulation of submerged macrophytes (aquatic plants that contribute to the structuring and dynamics of most aquatic ecosystems) and zooplankton larger than 1 mm (microscopic animals that live suspended in the aquatic environment and have reduced locomotion capacity).

After 10 days of the experiment, all treatments with the addition of macrophytes showed a reduction of up to 85% of the total biomass of cyanobacteria, even with the artificial increase in eutrophication. In addition, macrophytes reduced the biomass of cyanobacteria and green algae, while zooplankton consumed diatoms (single-celled microorganisms that occur in humid and aquatic environments) and phytoflagellates (single-celled microorganisms that move through the beating of flagella).

Given this reality, "nature-based mitigation solutions need to be adopted to improve the efficiency and conservation of water resources in public supply reservoirs with blooms, ensuring a greater supply of drinking water", explains Cihelio Alves Amorim.

The collaboration of Cihelio Amorim with Middle East Technical University started during his PhD when he participated in scientific meetings and workshops. Cihelio also collaborated on the paper "Freshwater salinisation: a research agenda for a saltier world", recently published in the recognized journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution and co-authored by Prof. Meryem Beklioğlu and Prof. Erik Jeppesen, from METU Biology Department.

CAPES Thesis Award

The CAPES Thesis Award 2022 is offered to the best doctoral theses defended in 2021. In total, 49 works were awarded in different areas. The selection criteria consider the originality of the work and its relevance to scientific, technological, cultural, social and innovation development.

Among those awarded, three of them received the CAPES Grand Award, highlighting the best thesis from the three Colleges of knowledge: Life Sciences, Humanities and Exact, Technological and Multidisciplinary Sciences. The Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) is an agency linked to the Brazilian Ministry of Education (MEC).

Source: Modified from CCS/CAPES Newsroom.

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16/11/2022 - 13:21