The PyriSentinel project studies the microorganisms of the high mountain lakes of the Pyrenees with advanced DNA sequencing techniques.

This region, with warming above the global average, is a key observatory for the impacts of global change. Approximately 300 lakes will be examined, which, due to their geographical isolation, extreme conditions, and climatic variations, harbor significant diversity of microorganisms. Characterization of planktonic communities is crucial for studying ecosystem productivity, as they are involved in nutrient cycling, water purification, and relationships with macroorganisms in a trophic level and/or through their potential pathogenicity. Biomonitoring will help assess the health status of ecosystems and their genetic heritage, and study the possible consequences of environmental changes. The project, involving experts from France, Spain, and Andorra, promotes the consolidation of knowledge and policy coordination in the face of environmental changes. It includes:

  • implementation of innovative techniques for collecting and analyzing microorganism samples.
  • training in these techniques, involving local communities to increase awareness of this research.
  • in addition to scientific research, PyriSentinel is committed to public participation and knowledge dissemination.

PyriSentinel will provide a detailed insight into the genetic diversity of aquatic microorganisms in the Pyrenees, promoting advanced techniques, establishing a reference in genomics-based biomonitoring, contributing to the international effort to characterize the global microbiome, and helping to train professionals for more effective monitoring in the future, tracking the possible long-term impacts of climate change on these unique ecosystems.


This project is piloted by the CRG - Centre de Regulació Genòmica and the project leader and coordinator is CRG researcher Hannah Benisty. Andorra Research + Innovation s one of the main partners of the project, which also includes other entities such as CREAF or l'Station d’Ecologie Théorique et Expérimentale
(SETE) of the French CNRS.