News

Published on February 16, 2018

“Karel De Schamphelaere will become the next president of SETACEurope (link) in May 2018. SETACEurope is the premier professional society in the domain of ecotoxicology and ecological risk assessment. In this article (link) he presents the strategic goals of SETACEurope, the development of which he directed with the support and creativity of the whole team of SETAC Europe board of directors.”

Published on February 15, 2018

Copepods are an important component of aquatic ecosystems and constitute a large portion of the total animal biomass on earth. Over the last few decades, the copepod Nitocra spinipes has become a popular test species in environmental toxicity studies. While the amount of short- and long-term toxicity data for this species keeps increasing, little is known about the mechanisms that lead to observable effects on e.g. its growth, development, and reproduction. The Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) theory can help increase our understanding of those processes. 

Published on February 15, 2018
Although metal mixture toxicity has been studied relatively intensely, there is no general consensus yet on how to incorporate metal mixture toxicity into aquatic risk assessment. Here, we combined existing data on chronic metal mixture toxicity at the species level with species-sensitivity-distribution (SSD)-based in-silico metal mixture risk predictions at the community-level for mixtures of Ni, Zn, Cu, Cd and Pb, in order to develop a tiered risk assessment scheme for metal mixtures in freshwater.

Published on December 20, 2017

Join our research team! Apply now!

We are looking for a highly motivated researcher to apply for a PhD Research project: Fish population models to improve ecological risk assessment of copper and zinc

Published on December 18, 2017

In ponds, lakes and other water bodies, organisms face a multitude of environmental challenges which include chemical pollution and harmful algal blooms. To better understand and protect our water bodies, we need to be able to model and predict how organisms grow and reproduce under these environmental challenges. Here, we use gene expression patterns in combination with network methodology and statistical modelling to predict the reproduction of waterfleas after exposure to insecticides and cyanobacteria at environmentally relevant concentrations. Our developed models were able to predict reproduction of waterfleas under these different conditions. In particular, the models were able to predict the combined effect of combinations of insecticides and cyanobacteria on the reproduction of the waterfleas. These results provide a valuable mechanistic framework that consists of using gene expression data to quantify higher level effects.

Published on December 13, 2017

Freshwater biota are usually exposed to mixtures of different metals in the environment, which raises concern because risk-assessment procedures for metals are still mainly based on single-metal toxicity. Because microalgae are primary producers and therefore at the base of the food web, it is of utmost importance to understand the effects of metal mixtures on these organisms. The objective of the present study was to test if combined effects of mixtures to Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata were the same or different across natural waters showing diverse water-chemistry characteristics. This was done by performing experiments with ternary Cu–Ni–Zn mixtures in 3 natural waters and with binary Cu–Ni mixtures in 5 natural waters.

Published on November 28, 2017

To celebrate Science Day 2017 on Sunday, 26th November, the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) demonstrated the variety of marine research at the Marine Station Ostend (MSO). During this year’s Science Day, our colleague Emmanuel introduced his research to the general public. Emmanuel investigates whether exposure to biogenic compounds in sea sprays has an influence on human health. 

Published on November 28, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

We are happy to announce that our colleague, Tina Van Regenmortel, on November 24, 2017, defended her dissertation to earn her doctoral degree! During her PhD, her research focused on estimating and predicting risks of single metals and their mixtures on individual species and on communities. Congratulations, Tina! 

Published on November 28, 2017
Little is known about the effect of metal mixtures on marine organisms, especially after exposure to environmentally realistic concentrations. This information is, however, required to evaluate the need to include mixtures in future l risk assessment procedures. We assessed the effect of copper (Cu)–Nickel (Ni) binary mixtures on Mytilus edulis larval development using a full factorial design that included environmentally relevant metal concentrations and ratios.

Published on November 9, 2017

Understanding and predicting ecosystem functioning under environmental change has become a focus in ecological research due to the impact of human activities on natural ecosystems and the services they deliver. Ecosystem functioning under stress can depend on whether the response traits driving changes in species densities also predict direct stress effects on the species’ contribution to functioning. Based on our results, we expect a disproportionate loss of functioning when traits driving species densities do not allow to maintain ecosystem functioning under stress.

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