Building the future by doing more together

ClimaTox - Impact of climatic changes on toxicity of pollutants
Coordinator - Inês Domingues
Programme - COMPETE - Programa Operacional Factores de Competitividade (POFC)
Execution dates - 2013-07-01 - 2015-07-01 (24 Months)
Funding Entity - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia e Fundo Europeu de Desenvolvimento Regional
Total Funding - 139.934 €
Proponent Institution - Universidade de Aveiro
Participating Institutions
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ)

Climatic changes could modulate the ecotoxicity of environmental contaminants in several ways. First, these changes will lead to alteration in co-stress factors such as UV radiation intensity, pH, dissolved oxygen concentration and availability of nutrients. Second, temperature changes may affect the bioavailability of contaminants. Third, spreading of pests promoted by climate change will lead to changes in the use of chemicals and affect environmental contamination, particularly for pest control. The interdependency and potential synergistic effects of these different factors for aquatic organism are not well understood, although evidences for synergism have been reported. The proposed project aims to describe and model the interaction of co-stressors and chemical contaminants. A particular focus will be on the identification of synergistic effects, since these can be considered to have a primary relevance for environmental risk assessment. Therefore, the project will (i) evaluate the toxicity of binary combinations of co-stressors related to climate change and environmental contaminants and (ii) study the potential underlying mechanisms of action for selected combinations that have been shown to exhibit synergistic effects. The analyses will be conducted with a well-established model, the zebrafish embryo test, which allows to investigate an array of different quantifiable endpoints ranging from standard endpoints for toxicity to subacute and sublethal parameters such as biochemical perturbation, and neurotoxic endpoints (heartbeat, blood flow, photo-motor response). For studying synergistic mechanisms we will exploit more advanced methodology such as transcriptional profiling with microarrays. We aim to adopt and further develop models well established in mixture toxicity, such as concentration addition and independent action, for the analysis of co-stressors and chemicals. Our model compounds will be selected based on the assumption that climate change is likely to increase the spreading of several pests and that subsequently an enhanced and/altered use of pesticides can be expected. We will focus on compounds likely to exhibit increasing use and select those representing different modes of action. Finally, it will be evaluated which of the potential combination of co-stresses resulting from climate change and exposure to environmental chemicals have the highest relevance for environmental risk assessment.

Members on this project

Fabianne Ribeiro


CESAM Funding: