Since July 2010, the Central Laboratory of General Ecology merged with two other units of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Botany and Institute of Zoology. Currently, these three units form the Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (IBER-BAS).
The Central Laboratory of General Ecology (CLGE-BAS) was established in 1996, as a successor to the Institute of Ecology (1989-1995) at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS). Currently, CLGE-BAS functions as a scientific entity within BAS and has distinct administrative boundaries. Now CLGE-BAS is the only academic unit in the country dealing by definition with theoretical aspects of ecology and biodiversity.
Ecological research is entering a new era of integration and collaboration in order to meet the challenges of understanding the great complexity of the biological systems. The science of ecology is rapidly developing at new object scales, from individuals to landscapes. The efforts to understand the adaptations of organisms to different environments and the interaction of different genotypes with the environment led to the formation of molecular ecology. The comprehension of the fact that at different scales different forces act to organize biotic communities resulted in the emergence of the metapopulation theory, the concept of key species and finally to the creation of landscape ecology. The development of the ecosystem concept has shifted ecological research from describing pattern towards understanding function. New approaches arose out of this such as the functional role of biodiversity and the integrity of ecosystems. Studies on biodiversity at different levels, from local to international, become increasingly important to ensure the sustainable use of resources.
The Central Laboratory of General Ecology is dedicated to these and other fields of modern Ecology. We will continue to develop our studies in the avanguard of research carried out in the BAS.
The scope of research interests of the CLGE-BAS includes two main aspects:
basic research, aimed at better understanding of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, including inventory, status and trends in biodiversity, as well as structure, function and dynamics of ecosystems;
applied research, aimed at understanding the mechanisms and drivers of change in biodiversity, assessing and minimising the negative impacts of human activities on ecosystems, and ensuring integrated environmental management in relation to the conservation of natural resources.
The research activities cover large-scale of natural and man-made ecosystems and habitats (freshwater, terrestrial, marine, urban, agrosystems, etc.), as well as a wide range of target groups (microorganisms, freshwater phyto- and zoo-benthos, plants, soil invertebrates, parasites, fish, birds and small mammals).