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Effects of chemicals on benthic micro-algae in pristine and polluted european rivers: physiological tests or community analysis ?


Assessment of the validity of results of short-term single species tests with physiological endpoints for the protection of aquatic communities or ecosystems against chemical pollution.

The project tackles a major uncertainty in assessing the environmental acceptability of chemicals, i.e. the extrapolation of results of short-term single species tests to the community or ecosystem level.
The chain of direct or indirect toxicity effects of three model compounds - representative for metals, substituted polyaromatic hydrocarbons and herbicides - will be analyzed from the species to the community level on micro-algae based benthic communities of rivers in northern, western and southern Europe.
The project is subdivided into three parts:
(1) Development of a rapid short-term toxicity test with physiological endpoints (14C-bicarbonate incorporation during photosynthesis, 3H-thymidine incorporation during bacterial growth), using field populations of riverine benthic micro-algae, to be validated against algal communities in Swedish, Dutch and Spanish rivers.
(2) Assessment of whether or not chemical pollution of rivers provokes a succession towards tolerant life-forms (specifically within the micro-algal community). On such structural/functional changes, assessed with the methodology described in part (1), a new detection method for in situ response induced by chemicals will be based.
(3) Performance of long-term (1-10 weeks) experiments on benthic communities to assess the direct or indirect effects of the above-mentioned classes of chemicals at the community level. Observations on toxic effects on these benthic communities will be compared with the results of the approaches (1) and (2) to derive recommendations whether the application of physiological or community tests are more appropriate.

Call for proposal

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Universiteit van Amsterdam
1098 SM Amsterdam

Participants (2)

22B,carl Skottsbergs Gata 22B
413 19 Goeteborg
645,Avinguda Diagonal 645
08028 Barcelona