News

Published on August 6, 2013

Mini symposium ecological, evolutionary and ecotoxicological genomics

On September 13th, 2013 Prof. Karel De Schamphelaere organizes a free mini symposium on "evolutionary, ecological and ecotoxicological genomics", which will take place at the faculty of Bioscience Engineering, UGent (Coupure Links 653, 9000 Gent). Three internationally renowned speakers will provide an overview of how the rapid developments of high-throughput genomics and DNA sequencing technologies help to improve our understanding of the ecology, evolution and ecotoxicology of species in a rapidly changing world and how this enables novel applications. More information can be found on the flyer. Everyone interested is cordially invited.

Published on August 5, 2013

Swimming pool in Mol (Belgium) closed due to cyanobacteria

This weekend, a swimming pool in Mol (Belgium) had to be closed due to the possible presence of blue-green algae or cyanobacteria. This occurrence shows the relevance of some of the research performed at our laboratory. Indeed, these harmful algae, which can both occur in fresh- and saltwater, can not only exercise potential adverse effects in humans, but also in different other ecological species inhabiting these waters.

Source and more information: deredactie.be (Dutch).

Published on August 5, 2013

Combined exposure to cyanobacteria and carbaryl results in antagonistic effects on the reproduction of Daphnia pulex
etcIn aquatic ecosystems, Daphnia are exposed to a wide variety of natural and chemical stressors that can cause interactive effects resulting in an increased impact on aquatic ecosystems. The authors therefore investigated the interactive effects of harmful cyanobacteria (cyanoHABs) with carbaryl in Daphnia pulex, because cyanobacteria have become an important concern for aquatic ecosystems. Daphnia were exposed for 21 d to 4 selected cyanobacteria (Aphanizomenon sp., Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii, Microcystis aeruginosa, and Oscillatoria sp), carbaryl, and all binary combinations of carbaryl and each individual cyanobacterium. Results were analyzed with both the independent action and the concentration addition model.

Published on June 21, 2013

Assessment of marine debris on the Belgian Continental Shelf

marinepollutionbulletinA two-year comprehensive assessment of marine litter in Belgian coastal waters was performed. Abundance, weight and composition of marine debris, including microplastics, was assessed by performing beach, sea surface and seafloor monitoring campaigns. Plastic items were the dominant type of macrodebris recorded: over 95% of debris present in the three sampled marine compartments were plastic. In general, concentrations of macrodebris were quite high. Especially the number of beached debris reached very high levels: on average 6,429 ± 6,767 items per 100m were recorded. Microplastic concentrations were determined to assess overall abundance in the different marine compartments of the Belgian Continental Shelf. In terms of weight, macrodebris still dominates the pollution of beaches, but in the water column and in the seafloor microplastics appear to be of higher importance: microplastic weight is approximately 100 times and 400 times higher, respectively, than macrodebris weight.

 

Published on June 19, 2013

Excellent report for our lab!

A new, independent analysis of the research performance – based on scientific output – of all Ugent faculties, departments and research groups has just been released.
Here is the bottom line: we rank among the top 5 research groups of our faculty in terms of number and impact of papers. Our papers have a significantly higher impact compared to the world average in our research field and all other criteria also indicate the excellent performance of the Environmental Toxicology group.

Published on June 17, 2013

Interuniversitary Advanced Master programme 'Technology for Integrated Water Management'

watertechnologylogoThe Interuniversitary Advanced Master programme 'Technology for Integrated Water Management' which is promoted by our research group, received a very positive evaluation from the visitation commission. The commission stated that the programme clearly succeeds in delivering high quality education in domains linked to integrated water management.

Published on June 14, 2013

Prof. Karel De Schamphelaere appointed as the Belgian representative for the ‘expert group on invertebrate toxicity testing’

logooecd enThe OECD Test Guideline Program coordinates the development and publication of standardized test protocols (such as ecotoxicity tests) to enable hazard and risk assessment of chemical substances. Prof. Karel De Schamphelaere has recently been appointed by the Belgian Government Operational Directorate on Public Health and Surveillance as the Belgian representative for the OECD 'expert group on invertebrate ecotoxicity testing', which involves experts from several OECD countries. He will there contribute to discussions on ongoing and upcoming projects (such as life-cycle and multigenerational test systems with invertebrate species – one of the important research areas in our laboratory). In this regard, he will attend the upcoming meeting of the expert group at the OECD headquarters in Paris on 17-18 June, 2013.

Published on June 6, 2013

Best poster awards at the ESF-funded conference on Ecological and Evolutionary Genomics

eefg2013 jana jenny2At the "Frontiers in Ecological and Evolutionary Genomics" conference in Noordwijkerhout, the Netherlands, from 26-30 May 2013, two young scientists of our lab were awarded poster prizes for their presentations. Jana Asselman presented a poster entitled "Unraveling mode of actions and toxin profiles with high throughput microarrays: a case study in Daphnia exposed to different cyanobacterial stressors." and was awarded the first prize as well as €1000. Jennifer Hochmuth won the second prize as well as €600 with her poster entitled "Micro-evolutionary response in a natural Daphnia magna population under Cu and Zn stress". The conference was funded by the European Science Foundation (ESF) and gave an overview of the most significant achievements within the ESF-EUROEEFG project. More than 100 delegates attended the conference and about 40 posters were presented.

Published on June 6, 2013

Ecotoxicity and uptake of polymer coated gold nanoparticles

nanotoxicologyBioconjugated gold nanoparticles (Au NPs) are a promising tool for pharmaceutical applications. However, the ecotoxicity of these types of NPs has hardly been studied. We investigated the ecotoxicity and uptake of 4-5 nm Au NPs to which two types of polymer coatings were attached. One coating was an amphiphilic polymer only and the other an amphiphilic coating to which 10 kDa polyethylene glycol chains were attached. In both 72 h algal growth inhibition tests with the alga Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata and in 24 h resazurin cytotoxicity tests with the rainbow trout gill cell line RTGill-W1, the pegylated Au NPs were found less toxic compared to the amphiphilic coated particles. No uptake or direct interaction between particles and algal cells was observed. However, uptake/adsorption in fish gill cells reached up to >10(6) particles/cell after 1 h and particles were eliminated for ≥96% after 24 h depuration. Both particle types were found within membrane enclosed vesicles in the cytoplasm of RTgill-W1 cells.

Published on May 17, 2013

OECD publishes guidance document on developing and assessing Adverse Outcome Pathways

Recently, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published a guidance document (No 184) on developing and assessing Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOP). The AOP methodology is an approach which provides a framework to collect, organise and evaluate relevant information on chemical, biological and toxicological effect of chemicals. This approach supports the use of a mode (and/or mechanism) of action basis for understanding adverse effects of chemicals. Our research contributes to this methodology by studying gene-expression patterns in response to toxicants (e.g. Asselman et al. 2012, Vandegehuchte et al. 2010) to extrapolate effects at the molecular level to effects at the organismal level. In addition, our population and ecosystem models (e.g. De Laender et al. 2011, Viaene et al. 2013) allow to extrapolate from this organismal level to even higher levels of organisation as the population or ecosystem. Not only contributes our research to the AOP methodology, it also benefits from it as the AOP for a marine natural toxin, domoic acid, to which we also perform research, is known.

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