Organized by the University of Tuzla and the University of Duisburg – Essen (Germany), within the Ecobias Erasmus project, a Summer School in the field of environmental DNA metabarcoding was held at the Department of Biology, Faculty of Natural Science and Mathematics. The Summer School lasted four days, during period from 5 to 8 September 2022.
Metabarcoding is a method in Molecular Biology and Ecology by which environmental samples (water, soil, etc.) can obtain species data by using DNA analysis methods without the need to find, observe or microscopy specimens of species in the sample.
Plenary lecture on challenges and possibilities of application of metabarcoding in water monitoring and design of primers in PCR reaction was held by Professor Florian Leese, top expert in the field of environmental DNA research and Head of the best-equipped laboratory for environmental DNA in Europe /Leese Lab/ from the University of Duisburg Essen. During the project, Professor Leese and his team provided expert support for the development and equipping of the laboratory for environmental DNA at the Faculty of Natural Science and Mathematics in Tuzla.
The Summer School was opened by the Vice-Rector for International Relations of the University of Tuzla, Prof. Dr. Vesna Bratovčić, while on behalf of the ECOBIAS project consortium, Prof. Dr. Ljubica Vasiljević from the University of East Sarajevo adressed everyone. On behalf of the management of the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, the Dean of the Faculty, Prof.Dr. Vedad Pašić and Head of the Department of Biology Prof.Dr. Isat Skenderović.
Lecturers of the Summer School are Professor Florian Leese, PhD students Mr.Sc. Robin Schütz and Mr.Sc. Till-Hendrik Macher from the University of Duisburg-Essen and the organizers of the Summer School on behalf of the University of Tuzla were: Head of the ECOBIAS project at the University of Tuzla, Prof. Dr. Jasmina Kamberović, then professors Adisa Ahmić, Edina Hajdarević and Assistant Professor Darja Husejnagić from the Department of Biology, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
On the first day of the Summer School, participants were introduced to the basics of environmental DNA application, as well as field and laboratory protocols for sample processing, after which they took water samples at the Modrac reservoir for further processing. In laboratory protocols over the next few days, they isolated DNA material from the samples and then did a PCR reaction. Using two gene markers, all participants successfully multiplicated the gene to identify the diversity of fish and algae in the accumulation in the samples. After obtaining the sequencing results, these will be the first results for the research of biodiversity using DNA metabarcoding techniques for Modrac accumulation. After the laboratory processing, the participants went through the basic steps of bioinformatics processing.
In addition to students of the University of Tuzla, the Summer School was attended by numerous students and professors from the partner institutions of the Ecobias Project: University of East Sarajevo, University of Banja Luka, University of Mostar, University of Zagreb, International University of Travnik, then online participants from the University of Donja Gorica, University of Sarajevo and other partner institutions.
The Summer School is organized in cooperation with the project consortium Erasmus + Ecobias project entitled Development of master curriculum in ecological monitoring and aquatic bioassessment for Western Balkans HEIs (https://www.ecobiaserasmus.com/. The project is coordinated by the University of Novi Sad, with Prof. Dr. Snežana Radulović and Prof.Dr. Dušanka Cvijanović, and is supported by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union. As a result of this project, in addition to equipping the laboratory, the second cycle programs and lifelong learning courses in the field of ecomonitoring and water biological indications were licensed at higher education institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.
Additional support in the realization of the Summer School was provided by The Tourist Board of Tuzla Canton, JP Spreča, Bingo d.o.d. and Student Center of the University of Tuzla. The students of Biology of the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics as the host of the event provided a very large support to the organization of the Summer School.
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Summer School On Environmental DNA Metabarcoding Successfully Implemented At The Department Of Biology, University Of Tuzla