LIFE application project

LIFE application project

LIFE17 ENV/LT/000407 „Algae - Economy Based Ecological Service of Aquatic Ecosystems"
Project leaderNature Research Centre, Vilnius (NRC) (Lithuania)
PartnersAdam Mickiewicz University, Poznan (AMU, Poznan), Joint Stock Company (JSC) Baltic Environment (BE) (Lithuania), Institute of Nature Conservation, Polish Academy of Science (INC, PAS), Nature Heritage Fund Vilnius (NHF) (Lithuania), SPILA, UAB (Lithuania)
Principal Investigator – Project Manager (AMU, Poznan)PhD, DSc Beata Messyasz (Faculty of Biology AMU)
InvestigatorsPhD, DSc Radosław Pankiewicz (Faculty of Chemistry AMU), prof. dr hab. Bogusława Łęska (Faculty of Chemistry AMU), dr Łukasz Tabisz (Faculty of Chemistry AMU)
Source of fundingEU/Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania/NFOŚiGW
Amount for implementation3 674 830 euro
Implementation period2018 – 2023
Project descriptionAs the human population grows, aquatic ecosystems are exposed to an increase in the supply of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) compounds. The eutrophication process is the result of the excessive inflow of these compounds to the waters. One of the effects of this process is the water bloom created by the massive growth of cyanobacteria or macroalgae. Moreover, it is predicted that the observed climate changes will increase the occurrence of cyanobacteria blooms, making their control more difficult, especially in the northern countries of Europa. Massive growth of algae and cyanobacteria is an unfavorable phenomenon causing health, social, economic and environmental problems.
Dangerous cyanobacterial blooms (Harmful Algal Blooms - HABs) pose a threat to human health, they modify the seasonal cycles of ecosystems, and economic losses by reducing the value of ecosystem services, such as a decrease in the availability of recreation or a decrease in catches of fish and other organisms used as food.
The project involves the collection of cyanobacteria and macroalgae biomass in various water bodies (Curonian Bay, rivers, lakes, ponds, oxbow lakes) and the use of the harvested biomass to produce high and low quality products. The AlgaeService for LIFE project is carried out in two countries: Poland and Lithuania by an international team of scientists and Companies employees from the industry sector.
The project aims to promote best practices in the field of ecological services and economic approach by implementing a modern and comprehensive system that is both demonstrative and innovative. The LIFE project “Algae - Economy Based Ecological Service of Aquatic Ecosystem” is structured around 5 main activities.
The project is in line with the thematic priorities for water (water, floods and drought, project groups 1 and 3) of the Environment and Resource Efficiency subsystem. In addition, it concerns the integrated management of nutrients and organic pollutants of human and agricultural origin, specifying remedial measures necessary for the management of river basins and sub-basins in order to achieve the objectives of the Water Framework Directive, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the Bathing Directive and the Nitrates Directive. It is also worth noting that this project aims to develop and test ways to reduce nutrients using "natural" processes
contributing to the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR), which provides an integrated framework for improving the Baltic Sea environment.
The main goal of the project is to demonstrate the possibility of integrated, effective management of nutrients and algal blooms in various types of water bodies by collecting cyanobacteria and macroalgae biomass. The project also assumes testing and demonstration of the processing of waste biomass from cyanobacteria and macroalgae into potentially valuable products (recycling of environmental resources).
The solutions proposed in the project may contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the EU biodiversity protection strategy by halting the loss of biodiversity and restoring the quality of water ecosystems degraded by eutrophication. The project will also help restore and maintain good conditions in water bodies that provide a sustainable ecosystem service that drives the EU economy. After removing the excess biomass, the amount of light in the reservoirs will increase, which will improve the conditions favorable to other organisms. Moreover, it will also avoid oxygen deficiency associated with biomass decomposition, reduce mortality in fish and other aquatic organisms, and restore healthy energy flow through trophic levels. It is worth noting that healthy aquatic ecosystems are important to the industrial fisheries and ecotourism sector outlined.
Of course, an extremely important aspect of the project is to raise awareness among citizens about the problems related to the environment, water quality and the resulting health risks. We hope that through promotional activities related to the implementation of the project, local authorities and the business community will see the potential for continuation of the activities carried out after the end of the project and in the transfer of the proposed solution (prototype of a harvester) on a large scale.
In summary, the project assumes the development of technologies leading to the maintenance of ecosystem services of waters at an appropriate level and mitigating the effects of eutrophication. The project is a demonstration endeavor to put into practice, test, evaluate and disseminate activities aimed at achieving the above-mentioned objectives. The proposed solutions are innovative and can be used in any country of the European Union. The project is a demonstration project within the meaning of Art. 18 lit. a) and b) of the LIFE Regulation.

Project website:


Conceptual model of a water harvester for collecting macroalgae and macrophyte biomass from the surface and undersurface layers of water reservoirs. The model was built with Lego©. The model was developed as part of the implementation of the LIFE 17 ENV/LT/000407 project “Algae – Economy Based Ecological Service Of Aquatic Ecosystems / Algae – Economy Based Ecological Service Of Aquatic Ecosystems,” subsidized by the EU and NFOŚiGW under contract 186/2018/Wn15/GW-po-IF/D.

Design and executionRadosław Pankiewicz
CooperationBeata Messyasz, Bogusława Łęska, Zuzanna Piotrowicz, Łukasz Tabisz

The film uses a fragment of Richard Wagner’s composition “March of the Valkyries”.

Project website
Institute of Nature Conservation PAS,3,projekty_aplikacyjne,197.html
Facebook IONC PAN