Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - KEYBIOEFFECTS (Cause-effect relationships of key pollutants on the European rivers biodiversity)

The overall objective of KEYBIOEFFECTS was to provide new generations of scientists with the skills and knowledge needed to assess the effects of pollution on the biodiversity of European Rivers and to transfer this knowledge to different stakeholder groups. Since pollution - and the study of its effects - is a very complex issue, this was a very ambitious objective demanding an interdisciplinary and multi-site approach. This researcher-oriented RTN put its main focus on the scientist. Academic education and scientific results were obtained by 'training through research' activities, collaborations based on the mobility of researchers, communications skills exercises (publications and conferences), and the transfer of knowledge to end-users. This methodology was producing two types of outputs: research and training of excellence.

KEYBIOEFFECTS has trained more than 18 researchers that are now capable of advising Water Agencies in issues related with water pollution in Europe. The network will produce 12 PhDs and more than 60 scientific publications. The Network covered a wide range of scientific disciplines and aimed to evaluate the effects of pollution caused by emerging and priority pollutants.

KEYBIOEFFECTS provided tools to overcome some gaps in environmental monitoring: identification of key toxicants and transformation products, the quantification of the influence of environmental conditions on toxicant bioavailability, the assessment of these effects to the organisms, populations, communities and ecosystems, as well as toxicity testing under experimental conditions, transport and retention of toxicants and modelling of their effects on biota.

Moreover, practical recommendations have been derived from this research in form of a guideline. These recommendations will contribute to improving many aspects of water pollution: sampling (including recommendations on sampling water, sediments and biota); chemical analysis (new procedures for identification and quantification of new compounds); toxicity testing (from in vitro tests to ecosystem evaluations); and data treatment and modelling, both of which are very useful for risk-assessment and sampling prioritisation purposes.

KEYBIOEFFECTS research on emerging and priority pollutants confirms that many compounds are still present in natural water bodies causing big concern. It is necessary to increase the diagnosis capacity, by the implementation of more intense and complete water monitoring programs, but also the remediation capacity, by the improvement of waste water treatment methods.

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