INBALANCE - INvertebrate-BActeriaL Associations as hotspots of benthic Nitrogen Cycling in Estuarine ecosystems

Foto Inbalance

While traditionally, bacteria have been considered driving much of the Earth’s nitrogen (N) cycle, recent research shows that ecological interactions between meio-, macrofauna and bacteria are important in regulating N cycling in soft sediments. Thus, the INBALANCE Project aims to unveil the quantitative importance of ecological interactions between microorganisms and their benthic invertebrate hosts in regulating N cycling in shallow estuarine sediments. In particular, this project will investigate the identity and activity of bacteria associated with benthic invertebrate hosts, the most abundant functional group of meio- and macrofauna in estuarine systems, across the full range of possible interactions, from strict symbioses to casual associations.


Klaipeda University, Lithuania; Stockholm University, Sweden; Cawthron Institute, New Zealand; Università degli Studi di Parma, Italy; Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Italy.

Project Lifetime

2018 – 2021

SZN Role


SZN Principal Investigator

Ulisse Cardini

Project Coordinator

Mindaugas Zilius (Klaipeda University, Lithuania)

Funding Body

Research Council of Lithuania (LMT) under the European Social Funds (ESF) programme

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