The aim of the project is investigation of the effects of environmental agents on important physiological homeostatic system, immune system, of mouse-like rodents. Cellular and molecular mechanisms of immunomodulatory potential of two environmental xenobiotics (ubiquitous pollutant cadmium and anticoagulant warfarin, used for control of pest rodents) is investigated in laboratory populations of Norway rat ( Rattus norvegicus). The effect of these agents on immune system is analyzed using parameters of basal immune activity and in settings of immune response induction as well. Distinct aspect is examination of the impact of these agents on laboratory rat's resistance to opportunistic fungus Aspergillus fumigatus. Wild Norway rats harbor variety of parasites and microorganisms and are thus considered as natural biological models suitable for examination of immune function in settings of multiple infections. Analysis of basic parameters of immune function as well as immune-mediated damage of peripheral tissues of Norway rats from urban environment and comparison with same parameters in several laboratory strains of Norway rats gives insight into the effect of the environment on immunity.

In anthropogenically degraded habitats, plants are often limited by multiple stress factors that act simultaneously, threatening the functioning of plants and exhausting their adaptive potential.

Our research is based on studying plants' physiological, biochemical and morphological responses to the effects of multiple stressors. These determine their adaptive capacity to survive and/or develop tolerance to stress in such habitats. Research will be undertaken at two types of such habitats: ash deposits at the 'Nikola Tesla-A' thermal power plant in Obrenovac (initially biologically empty areas with high pollutant levels) and urban zones in Belgrade (highly polluted degraded areas). In aiming to establish plants' ecophysiological adaptive strategies for surviving in multiple stress conditions in degraded habitats, research will focus on defining the ecological factors that limit plant survival and functioning in degraded habitats, establishing the synergetic, antagonistic or additive effects of multiple stressors, identifying structural and functional plant damage, and defining plants' adaptive response to the effects of multiple stress and their adaptive potential to survive in such conditions. Identification of the adaptive strategies of plants that colonise, survive and function at thermal power plant ash deposits and in urban zones subject to chronic pollution can be a guide for creating activities aimed at the ecological restoration of disturbed ecosystems.

The Balkan Peninsula, where Serbia is situated, is a dendroflora diversity centre (IUCN), home to forests comprised of relict, endemic, economically important (or potentially important) and endangered forest species, unique in time and space. Serbia's gorges, canyon valleys and mountain massifs represent particularly rich reservoirs and treasure troves of the genofund. It is these refugia that have enabled the preservation and reproduction of the rich and varied flora, particularly tertiary relicts and endemorelicts, and represent veritable museums in vivo of special scientific importance. The diversity of small local populations is also of particular importance, as is the diversity of those on the edges of forest belts, the most sensitive parts of the ecosystem. The project presumes that the autochthonous forest flora and vegetation of our part of the Balkan Peninsula contain populations whose presence, specific genetic structure, chemical composition, morphophysiological and reproductive characteristics reveal the history of the vegetation and contribute to a better understanding of the plants' adaptive potential to survive in adverse environmental conditions.


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