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Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Proteus (proteus anguinus, amphibia, caudata) in biological and functional-morphological studies

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
1.03.01  Natural sciences and mathematics  Biology  Zoology and zoophysiology 

Code Science Field
B260  Biomedical sciences  Hydrobiology, marine biology, aquatic ecology, limnology 
B210  Biomedical sciences  Histology, cytochemistry, histochemistry, tissue culture 
Keywords
Proteus anguinus, Amphibia, Caudata, Proteidae, Dinaric Karst, microelements accumulation, heavy metals, target organs, digestive tract, sensory organs, inner ear, hair cells orientation, hearing abilities, rudimentary eyes, pineal organ
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (9)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  11957  PhD Lilijana Bizjak Mali  Biology  Researcher  2000  217 
2.  04336  PhD Boris Bulog  Biology  Head  1999 - 2000  211 
3.  11155  PhD Damjana Drobne  Biology  Researcher  2000  863 
4.  14082  PhD Radojko Jaćimović  Physics  Researcher  1999 - 2000  727 
5.  01041  PhD Miha Janc  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Researcher  1996 - 2000  111 
6.  03310  PhD Zvonka Jeran  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  1998 - 2000  266 
7.  17427  Danilo Musar    Researcher  2000 
8.  07737  PhD Jasna Štrus  Biology  Researcher  1999 - 2000  443 
9.  08296  PhD Mihael Jožef Toman  Biology  Researcher  2000  631 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  90,682 
Abstract
The project “Natural Heritage Conservation” deals foremost with ecotoxicological and functional-morphological studies of our endemic cave salamander, Proteus anguinus. It is the sole species of the European cave salamander and the most remarkable cave dweller of underground waters in the Dinaric Karst. Much of Slovenia situated between the Ljubljana Marsh and the Adriatic sea is classical Karst with almost seven thousand caves of considerable geographic and biological importance. Water resources in the Karst are extremely sensitive to all kinds of pollution. Among the most serious chemical pollutants are the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found at the source of the river Krupa, and metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, and beryllium. All of these substances persist in the environment, being slowly, if at all, degraded by natural processes. All are toxic to life if they accumulate in any appreciable quantity. Copper, zinc, mercury, arsenic and selenium contents were measured in the liver, kidneys, integument, and muscles of Proteus and their concentrations in water and sediments were determined in individual cave ecosystems. Mercury in river sediments was four times smaller than in tissues, reaching the values of other amphibians from uncontaminated habitats. Starvation in amphibians is frequent and they can survive long periods without food. We were interested in how starvation influenced the morphology and histochemistry of the digestive tract, above all the liver. We focused part of our investigations on those sensory organs of Proteus anguinus that have not undergone retrogression due to cave life and for which we expect adequate stimuli in the underground habitat. Audiograms of underwater hearing were estimated by psychoacoustical methods. The total audible range covered frequencies between 10 Hz and more than 10 kHz. The question of preservation of the circadian rhythm led us to investigate the structure and function of the pineal. We studied it using light and transmission electron microscopy, and recently immunocytochemical labelling of the pineal and rudimentary eyes for light microscopy.
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