News

Published on June 7, 2018
It is generally assumed that as long as the majority of species experiences no direct adverse effects due to a single substance (i.e. Potentially Affected Fraction, PAF < 5%), no significant structural or functional effects at community‐level are expected to occur. Whether this assumption holds for mixed metal contamination is not known. Here, we tested this by performing a microcosm experiment in which a naturally occurring freshwater planktonic community was exposed to a Cu‐Ni‐Zn mixture for 8 weeks, and in which various structural and functional community‐level traits were assessed.

Published on June 5, 2018

Understanding how biodiversity affects ecosystem functioning is essential for assessing the consequences of ongoing biodiversity changes. An increasing number of studies, however, show that environmental conditions affect the shape of BEF relationships. Here, we first use a game‐theoretic community model to reveal that a unimodal response of the BEF slope can be expected along environmental stress gradients, but also how the ecological mechanisms underlying this response may vary depending on how stress affects species interactions.

Published on May 30, 2018

Our freshwater ecosystems are severely threatened by many factors including pollution and climate change. In the current synthesis, we focus on the potential role of epigenetics (molecular modifications of DNA that do not change the DNA sequence). We highlight examples of the roles of DNA methylation and histone modifications, well-known epigenetic mechanisms, in the response to climate change. We conclude by pinpointing the most promising avenues for future research directions to improve our understanding on how freshwater organisms cope with climate change. With this synthesis, we provide a thorough summary of the field and put forward key research questions that need to be addressed.

Published on May 28, 2018
Mixture effects of chemicals and their potential synergistic interactions are of great concern to the public and regulatory authorities worldwide. Discharges of chemical mixtures to marine waters might possibly have adverse effects on the aquatic communities and for the trophic food web. This study addresses ecotoxicological and biochemical effects of mixtures of the metal copper and a herbicide on a marine diatom and an estuarine calanoid copepod.

Published on May 22, 2018
Ecological interactions and abiotic stress factors may significantly affect species sensitivities to toxicants and these are not incorporated in standard single species tests. This study tests the hypothesis if a model, calibrated solely on single species data, can explain abiotic stress factors in a two‐species microcosm, a test applied to the effects of nutritional stress (phosphorus (P)‐limitation) on zinc (Zn) toxicity to Daphnia magna.

Published on May 9, 2018
This week, 6 GhEnToxLab members will be presenting their research at the 28th SETAC Europe Annual Meeting in Rome, Italy from 13-17 May 2018. There we will highlight our research in a total of 3 platforms and 7 posters. To keep track of us during the conference, a comprehensive list of our activities is provided below. 

Published on May 8, 2018

On the third of May, GhEnToxLab was one of the invited 'special guests' at the Gala of the Sustainable University as our research group was nominated for our sustainable travel policy. Our research group takes the lead in our University, by choosing public transport over private transport, by choosing videoconferencing over travelling and by not flying to easily accessible cities if travelling by train is an option. We look back at the Gala with some pictures.

Published on May 2, 2018
The VLIZ Marine Science Day (21st of March 2018) has become an established event for all marine and coastal scientists in Flanders/Belgium and its neighbouring regions. This years edition of this event was held at the MEC Staf Versluys with over 370 participants. We look back to VMSD with some pictures.

Published on April 23, 2018
Here, we aimed to document the interaction between EPA and cadmium (Cd), as model chemical stressor, in Daphnia magna. A life-history experiment was performed in which daphnid neonates were raised into adulthood on three diets of different lipid composition: (i) algae mix; (ii) algae mix supplemented with control liposomes; (iii) algae mix supplemented with liposomes containing EPA. Dietary liposome supplementation was found to protect adult daphnids against acute Cd challenge.           

Published on April 18, 2018
The effect of multiple stressors on marine ecosystems remains poorly understood and most of the knowledge available is related to phytoplankton. To partly address this knowledge gap, we tested if combining multimodel inference with generalized additive modelling could quantify the relative contribution of environmental variables on the population dynamics of a zooplankton species in the Belgian part of the North Sea.

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