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Published on August 20, 2020

The generalized bioavailability model (gBAM) has been proposed as an alternative to the biotic ligand model (BLM) for modeling bioavailability and chronic toxicity of copper. The gBAM combines a log‐linear effect of pH on free Cu2+ ion toxicity with BLM‐type parameters for describing the protective effects of major cations. In the present study, a WHAM VII‐based gBAM for fish has been parametrized based on an existing chronic (30d‐mortality) dataset of juvenile rainbow trout. Overall, the chronic Cu gBAM developed here is a valuable alternative for the existing chronic Cu BLM for rainbow trout and performs sufficiently well to be used in risk assessment according to currently accepted standards of bioavailability model performance. 

Published on July 13, 2020

We are looking for a new PhD student

Apply before 31 August 2020.

Collaborative strategic research project:

SMART-DETOX: removal of organic micropollutants from water

Published on July 1, 2020

We are happy to announce that our colleague, Samuel Moeris, defended his dissertation to earn his doctoral degree on June 25, 2020! During his PhD, his research focused on the the environmental risk assessment of emerging pollutants and complex chemical mixtures.

Congratulations, Samuel! We wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors, wherever these may take you!

Published on July 1, 2020
In order to predict whether populations are able to persist or adapt to such new conditions, it is essential to understand the molecular basis of such adaptations, which ultimately get translated into these physiological responses. To explore variation in population gene expression across time and space, we investigated transcriptome-level profiles of the calanoid copepod Temora longicornis, that were collected at four different locations in the Belgian Part of the North Sea (BPNS) on three different time points (April, June, October) in 2018. RNA-seq analysis of field collected adults identified large seasonal differences in gene expression, mainly between spring-summer and autumn samples.

Published on June 5, 2020
The degree of biological variability within a population is an important factor for its ecological success. Yet, individual-based population models (IBMs) that utilize the Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) theory as a mechanistic basis to simulate an individual's life history, largely rely on rule-of-thumb estimates of inter-individual variability of their parameter values. In this study, we explored how data from previous life-history experiments with the copepod Nitocra spinipes could be used to make realistic estimates of variability in DEB parameter values for this species.

Published on April 22, 2020
Water quality standards for cobalt (Co) have not been developed for the European Union or United States. The objective of the present study was to produce freshwater Co toxicity data that could be used by both the European Union and the United States to develop appropriate regulatory standards (i.e., environmental quality standards or predicted‐no‐effect concentrations in Europe and ambient water quality criteria or state water quality standards in the United States). Eleven species, including algae, an aquatic plant, and several invertebrate and fish species, were used in the performance of acute and chronic Co toxicity tests.

Published on March 25, 2020

The Faculty of Sciences at University of Antwerp and the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering at Ghent University have 3 full-time (100%) vacancies for talented PhD scholars in the area of

Environmental Nanoplastics: Detection, Characterization, Bioavailability, and Effects


funded by the FWO research project:“Towards ecological risk assessment of nanoplastics: dynamic considerations”

Published on January 15, 2020

Respiratory exposure to marine toxins in sea spray can induce both health‐affecting and potential health‐promoting mechanisms. All depends on the specific toxins and their inhaled dose. In this explorative (in vitro) study we used lung cells to examine this matter. As such we found that yessotoxins downregulate the important mTOR cell signaling pathway in lung cells. This pathway is related to multiple pathological conditions. In summary, this research supports the theory that the inhalation of natural products via sea spray is health promoting (i.e., the biogenics hypothesis).

Published on January 7, 2020
Water quality standards for cobalt (Co) have not been developed for the European Union or United States. The objective of this research was to produce freshwater Co toxicity data that could be used by both the EU and US to develop appropriate regulatory standards. Eleven species, including algae, an aquatic plant, and several invertebrate and fish species, were used in the performance of acute and chronic Co toxicity tests. Results indicated that invertebrate and algae/plant species are more sensitive to chronic Co exposures than fish. Following the European‐based approach and using EC10 values, species sensitivity distributions (SSD) were developed and a median hazardous concentration for 5% of the organisms (HC5,50%) of 1.80 µg Co/L was derived. Chronic EC20 values were used, also in a SSD approach, to derive a US EPA‐style final chronic value (FCV) of 7.13 µg Co/L.

Published on January 7, 2020
In this paper, we describe and evaluate the construction of a metatranscriptome dataset from a pelagic crustacean zooplankton community. We sampled zooplankton in one marine station, named LW02, in the North Sea, in both winter and summer, and generated transcripts using Oxford Nanopore Technology (ONT), a third-generation nanopore-based sequencing technology. ONT is, uniquely, capable of sequencing RNA directly, rather than depending on reverse transcription and PCR, and applicable to be used directly in the field. We found that metatranscriptomics is capable of species detection, including screening for the presence of endoparasites, hence competing with morphological identification. The most abundant mRNA transcripts with known function coded for essential metabolic processes. Although small in scale, our study provides the basis for future efforts to characterize the metatranscriptome of marine zooplankton communities and its application in biomonitoring programs.

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