Répertoire du personnel

Patricia Mergen



Developing new genetic tools for bioassessment of aquatic ecosystems in Europe

The protection, preservation and restoration of aquatic ecosystems and their functions is of global importance. For European states it became legally binding mainly through the EU-Water Framework Directive (WFD; 2000/60/EC) and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/EC). In order to assess the ecological status of a given water body, aquatic biodiversity data are obtained and compared to a reference water body. The quantified mismatch thus obtained determines the extent of potential management actions. The current approach to biodiversity assessment and monitoring is based on morpho-taxonomy. This approach has many drawbacks such as being time consuming, limited in temporal and spatial resolution, and error-prone due to variation of individual taxonomic expertise of the analysts. Novel genomic tools can circumvent many of the aforesaid problems and could complement traditional bioassessment and biomonitoring strategies. Yet, a plethora of approaches are independently developed in different institutions, thereby hampering any concerted routine application. The goal of DNAqua-Net is to nucleate a group of researchers across disciplines with the task to identify gold-standard genomic tools and novel eco-genomic indices and metrics for routine application for biodiversity assessments and biomonitoring of European water bodies. Furthermore, DNAqua-Net will provide a platform for training of the next generation of European researchers preparing them for the new technologies. Jointly with water managers, politicians and other stakeholders, the group will develop a conceptual framework for the standard application of eco-genomic tools as part of legally binding assessments.

Investigateur principal:

  • Patricia Mergen
  • Dates:

    2016 2020


    Partenaires externes:

    Mergen, P., Participant, Botanic Garden Meise

    Leliaert, F., Participant, Botanic Garden Meise

    Van de Vijver, B., Participant, Botanic Garden Meise

    Cocquyt, C., Participant, Botanic Garden Meise