• Molecular mechanisms controlling physiological plasticity in marine mussels under the influence of natural and anthropogenic stress factors
  • Rajapaksha Haddokara Gedara, Rasika Wathsala <1983>


  • BIO/09 Fisiologia


  • Marine mussels are exceptionally well-adapted to live in transitional habitats where they are exposed to fluctuating environmental parameters and elevated levels of natural and anthropogenic stressors throughout their lifecycle. However, there is a dearth of information about the molecular mechanisms that assist in dealing with environmental changes. This project aims to investigate the molecular mechanisms governing acclimatory and stress responses of the Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) by addressing relevant life stages and environmental stressors of emerging concern. The experimental approach consisted of two phases to explore (i) the physiological processes at early life history and the consequences of plastic pollution and (ii) the adult physiology processes under natural habitats. As the first phase, I employed a plastic leachate (styrene monomer), and polystyrene microplastics to understand the modulation of cytoprotective mechanisms during the early embryo stages. Results revealed the onset of transcriptional impairments of genes involved in MXR-related transporters and other physiological processes induced by styrene and PS-MPs. In the second phase, as a preliminary analysis, microbiota profile of adult mussels at the tissue scale and its surrounding water was explored to understand microbiota structures that may reflect peculiar adaptations to the respective tissue functions. The broader experiment has been implemented to understand the variability of transcriptional profiles in the mussel digestive glands in the natural setting. All the genes employed in this study have shown possibilities to use as molecular biomarker responses throughout the year for monitoring the physiology of mussels living in a particular environment and, in turn, more properly detecting changes in the environment. As a whole, my studies provide insights into the interactions between environmental parameters, and intrinsic characters, and physiology of marine bivalves, and it could help to interpretation of responses correctly under stress conditions and climate change scenarios.


  • 2021-05-21
  • info:eu-repo/date/embargoEnd/2024-04-13


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Rajapaksha Haddokara Gedara, Rasika Wathsala (2021) Molecular mechanisms controlling physiological plasticity in marine mussels under the influence of natural and anthropogenic stress factors, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze della terra, della vita e dell'ambiente , 33 Ciclo.