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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Happy and joyful holidays, with lots of health, love and happiness, the NATURALLY team wishes you from the bottom of our hearts!

See you in the even more beautiful year 2023

Integration of data obtained by LC-MS analysis was performed in Ljubljana

In the laboratory of the Faculty of Biotechnology of the University of Ljubljana, from 5 to 10 December 2022, our colleague, Ph.D. Maja Mikulič Petkovšek and PhD student Mirela Uzelac did a great job of integrating data obtained by LC-MS analysis of extracts and fractions of four alien invasive plant species.

The doctoral student learned to analyze the data from the obtained chromatograms, which will be used to calculate the concentrations of individual phenols in the extracts and fractions of each species.

We are looking forward to the results because they already look very good and promising 😀

We participated in the event Znanost u prolazu

Our young scientists Mirela Uzelac and Danijela Damijanić participated in the event Znanost u prolazu. The event, organized by the NGO Penkala, which aims to promote women scientists, took place on Saturday 15 October 2022 at the Korzo in Rijeka.

The topic of the presentation was the presentation of activities on the Naturally project, education of citizens about invasive species, citizen science campaigns.

In this way, citizens could learn to recognize the invasive plant species Tree of heaven, Black locust, Jerusalem artichoke and Canadian goldenrod. It was discussed whether these species only cause damage or whether they can also be useful in the form of medicines, decorations, bioherbicides.

We are glad that we can share our knowledge and have fun doing it. We can’t wait for the next opportunity!

Summer internship at the Genetic laboratory

In July, Miheala Šimunić, a student of Molecular Biology at the Faculty of Science in Zagreb, and Hrvoje Korovljević, a student of Biology at the Josip Juraj Strossmayer University in Osijek, did a student internship.

Over the two weeks, students learned the basics of using laboratory equipment (handling an analytical scale, mill, pipettes, vortex, digester), performed several PCR analyses, learned how electrophoresis works and read the results.

In addition, as part of the NATURALLY project (IP-2020-02-6899), they made microscopic preparations of the glands of the pajasen (A. altissima), which were then stained with basic colors and observed with an Axioscope 5 fluorescent microscope.

New paper published – The use of drones in monitoring invasive species

As part of the NATURALLY project fieldwork, we carried out an inventory of two species that are the subject of the project’s research – Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) and Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis), along the riverbank of the Mirna River. We compared standard ground and drone mapping methods to estimate the distribution and abundances of these species and developed a protocol optimized for the conditions of our terrain.

A scientific paper on this topic entitled “Development of drone-based methodology for inventory and monitoring invasive plants along river banks in Croatia“ was published in the scientific journal Management of Biological Invasions dedicated to biological invasions and their management (Q2; IF: 2,282). The paper has, apart from the scientific aspect, the function of contributing to the practical management of invasive species.

In Ljubljana, LC-MS analyzes were performed on extracts and fractions of invasive species

In the laboratory of the Biotechnical Faculty at the University of Ljubljana, our colleague, Ph.D. Maja Mikulič Petkovšek and PhD student Mirela Uzelac created new extracts and fractions of invasive plant species: Black locust, Tree of heaven, Jerusalem artichoke and Canadian goldenrod.

The obtained extracts and fractions were analyzed by LC-MS methods in order to find out exactly which compounds the extracts of each species consist of.

After the analysis, the obtained data were integrated and analyzed, followed by statistical processing. There were a lot of peaks, which means that our invasives are rich in secondary metabolites!

Student Lucija from the University of Edinburgh completed an internship

As part of the NATURALLY project (IP-2020-02-6899), Lucija Burić, a first-year student of Biological Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, did an internship.

During May, Lucija used spectrophotometric methods to determine the antioxidant capacity of flowers of invasive alien plant species R. pseudoacacia, A. altissima, S. canadensis and H. tuberosus.

Lucija did her internship in the laboratory of the Istrian Polytechnic, in the Center for Materials Research of the Istrian County – METRIS.

When creativity merges with science an Exhibition is made

During the Fourth Croatian Microscopy Congress (May 18-20, 2022) in Poreč, the Exhibition “Od sitnozora do modernog mikroskopa” was held.

The exhibition was created by the Croatian Microscopic Society and the authors are Dr. Danijela Poljuha, Mirela Uzelac, PhD student and Dr. Vida Strasser.

The concept of the exhibition included six sections in which the development of microscopy in Croatia was chronologically and thematically discussed, through stories about microscopes and people, told through photography and the written word.

You can see the whole exhibition on the link.

We participated in the 4th Croatian Microscopy Congress

As part of the 4th Croatian Microscopy Congress held in Poreč from 18 to 20 May 2022 the educational dimension of the NATURALLY project was presented.

At the congress is Mirela Uzelac, PhD student, presented a poster entitled “A new approach to teaching about invasive species using a pocket paper microscope Foldscope”.

The poster presents a method of educating young people about invasive plant species using the Foldscope paper microscope.

The poster is available at the link.

Our Phd student Mirela participated in the 6th Symposium of doctoral students at the Faculty of Science

The sixth Symposium of doctoral students of the Faculty of Science was held in Zagreb from 23 to 24 April. At the symposium Phd student Mirela, presented the results of chemical characterization of invasive plant species extracts.

The poster was selected as one of the top five posters judged by an expert panel and is available at the link.