Published on March 3, 2021
This week, one of our colleagues is beginning a new adventure at the contract research institute gaiac. Josef will be working at gaiac as a project manager in aquatic ecotoxicology and modelling. We look forward to seeing great things from him as he finishes his PhD thesis: Bioenergetics modelling to link individual- and population-level ecotoxicity: effects of the antidepressant citalopram on the copepod Nitocra spinipes. Congrats Josef! 

Published on March 2, 2021
Here, we studied the community composition of zooplankton in the Belgian part of the North Sea over the course of 1 year. We identified zooplankton using both a traditional approach based on morphological characteristics and by metabarcoding of a 650 bp fragment of the V4-V5 region of the 18S rRNA gene using nanopore sequencing. Using long rDNA sequences, we were able to identify several taxa at the species level, across a broad taxonomic scale. 

Published on February 9, 2021
Neonicotinoid insecticides have become of global concern for the aquatic environment. Harpacticoid copepods are amongst the most sensitive organisms to neonicotinoids. We used these results in combination with publicly available ecotoxicity data to derive Environmental Quality Standards (EQS). These EQS were ultimately used in a single‐substance and mixture risk assessment for the Belgian part of the North Sea. 

Published on December 18, 2020

The present study aimed at investigating interactive effects between dietary lipids and both short- and long-term exposures to a low, environmentally realistic, cadmium (Cd) concentration. We found that both dietary lipids and Cd exposure influenced fatty acid homeostasis and metabolism. 

Published on December 7, 2020
GhEnToxLab and its partners have recently concluded the NEWSTHEPS project on “New Strategies for Marine Risk Assessment of Chemicals using Passive Samplers”, and the Final report is now publicly available. Our lab was involved in developing a new effect-based monitoring approach using passive samplers for risks assessment and an automated algorithm to calculate predicted no effect concentrations (PNECs), i.e. concentrations for individual chemicals protecting marine ecosystems.

Published on December 3, 2020
Mechanistic population models are gaining considerable interest in ecological risk assessment. The dynamic energy budget approach for toxicity (debtox) and the general unified threshold model for survival (guts) is a well‐established theoretical framework that describes sub‐lethal and lethal effects of a chemical stressor, respectively. However, there have been limited applications of these models for mixtures of chemicals, especially to predict long‐term effects on populations.

Published on December 3, 2020

The increasing number of chemicals detected in the marine environment underlines the need for appropriate prioritization strategies prior to further testing and potential inclusion into monitoring programs. Here, a prioritization strategy is proposed for chemicals detected in the North Sea over the last decade, through the development of a Concern Index (CI) using exposure and toxicity data obtained from peer-review publications and the ToxCast database, respectively. 

Published on November 19, 2020


The laboratory of Environmental Toxicology and Aquatic Ecology, Environmental Toxicology Unit - GhEnToxLab (Ghent University) is looking for an:





Published on November 9, 2020
Organisms in the marine environment are being exposed to an increasing variety of chemicals. This research presents an effect-based monitoring method for the derivation of a margin of safety for environmentally realistic chemical mixtures. The method is based on a combination of passive sampling and ecotoxicity testing. Across eight marine samples, diatom growth inhibition was observed at REF ≥ 3.2 and margins of safety were found between REF 1.1–11.0. In addition, we found that reconstitution of extracts in HPLC-water was suitable to overcome the solvent-related challenges in biotesting that are usually associated with passive sampler extract spiking, whilst it still allowed REFs up to 44 in the biotest medium to be achieved.

Published on August 20, 2020
Microplastics are ubiquitous pollutants within the marine environment, predominantly (>90%) accumulating in sediments worldwide. Here, we examine those characteristics of microplastics that are essential to adequately evaluate potential remediation techniques such as sedimentation and (air) flotation techniques. We analyzed the sinking behavior of typical microplastics originating from real plastic waste samples and identified the best-available drag model to quantitatively describe their sinking behavior.