Blueprint (Biological lenses using gene prints)
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The Blueprint project has duration of 4 years (2014 - 2017), a budget of 3.9 million EURO, and is funded by the EU and the national research councils of Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Germany and Estonia. The project is coordinated by Prof. Lasse Riemann, University of Copenhagen.
Blueprint is funded by the BONUS programme through the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007-2013) under implementation agreement n R&I/I3/2012/BONUS made with BONUS, the joint Baltic Sea research and development programme.
Prokaryotic microbes are principal drivers of carbon and nutrient biogeochemistry and account for a major fraction of pelagic biomass and productivity in the Baltic Sea. Still, these organisms are neither included among the indicators of environmental status currently in use nor considered as functional entities in biogeochemical models. This flaw has been highlighted by HELCOM and OSPAR in their work to coordinate the development of indicators and determining GES in the Baltic and North Sea areas. The last decade has witnessed a tremendous increase in the capacity of high-throughput technologies for retrieving and processing genetic information from environmental samples; this has given mechanistic understanding of microbially driven food-web processes and how microbes are affected by environmental conditions. Therefore, for the first time we can now in a cost-efficient manner make integrated use of this analysis capacity for developing a conceptual and methodological framework for the assessment of ecological status of the Baltic Sea ecosystem based on information on microbial functions and processes. Thus, this project will combine field studies, experiments, next-generation sequencing, bioinformatics and modeling to achieve the overarching objective: to establishing a capacity to reliably deduce Baltic Sea environmental status based on indicators reflecting the biodiversity and genetic functional profiles of microbes in seawater samples.