Published on March 13, 2019

The laboratory of Environmental Toxicology and Aquatic Ecology, Environmental Toxicology Unit - GhEnToxLab (Ghent University) is looking for a full time Scientific Researcher.

1-year research project: Population models to improve ecological risk assessment of nickel


Published on March 1, 2019
In this study, we assess the relationship between beta-diversity (measured as Bray–Curtis dissimilarity) and regional productivity (measured as biovolume) under various levels of a stressor flux in meta-ecosystems that were composed of two marine micro-algae communities. We created heterogeneity by exposing one of the two communities to a herbicide and manipulated regional diversity by applying a dispersal gradient, which decreased beta-diversity.

Published on March 1, 2019
This study recorded temporal and spatial patterns of the FA profiles of two dominant calanoid copepods within the BPNS: Temora longicornis (Müller, 1785) and Acartia clausi (Giesbrecht, 1889). By means of distance-based linear modelling and by applying multi model inference to generalized additive models, environmental stressors were linked to patterns of the FA profiles of these species.

Published on February 15, 2019


Sea spray aerosols (SSAs) have profound effects on our climate and ecosystems. They also contain microbiota and biogenic molecules which could affect human health. Yet the exposure and effects of SSAs on human health remain poorly studied. Here, we exposed human lung cancer cells to extracts of a natural sea spray aerosol collected at the seashore in Belgium, a laboratory-generated SSA, the marine algal toxin homoyessotoxin and a chemical inhibitor of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway. 

Published on February 15, 2019

In this study we developed a novel, mechanistic model where we predict effects of Cu on aquatic invertebrate populations (Lymnaea stagnalis – the great pond snail). Lymnaea stagnalis is particularly sensitive species to various metals 
and the precise mechanism for metal toxicity for this species are not fully understood. In this research, we extrapolated Cu toxicity effects from various studies and food sources to the population level. To improve inter-study comparability, we used a biotic ligand model to correct for the water chemistry. At the population level, the range in EC10 decreased significantly compared at the individual level. This model is the first developed at Arche Consulting and the University of Ghent where we promote the use of ecological models for the risk assessment of chemicals.

Published on January 25, 2019
On January 24th and 25th, our research concerning the potential human health effects of sea spray aerosol exposure was picked up by the Belgian and Dutch media. Dr. Jana Asselman and PhD student Emmanuel Van Acker explained our latest findings which are published in the open access journal Scientific Reports. In short, we found that sea air, collected near the waterline, induced a downregulation of PCSK9 and some genes related with the mTOR pathway in lung cells lines. These results are very interesting since this gene and this pathway are potential targets for treatments against LDL cholesterol and cancer, respectively.

Published on December 12, 2018

We are glad to announce that our recent ES&T paper entitled ‘Deciphering the combined effects of environmental stressors on gene transcription : a conceptual approach’ was selected by the jury as the best toxicology paper of 2018 by the Norwegian Society of Pharmacology and Toxicology (NSFT). Congratulations to all the researchers involved!


Published on November 8, 2018

Over the past decades, the world's oceans and seas have been influenced by several human induced impacts, including climate change. Understanding the impacts of this changing environmental condition in zooplankton communities is crucial, as alterations in the zooplankton communities can affect entire marine ecosystems. Here, we focus on the potential effects of an increase in temperature on the calanoid copepod species, Temora longicornis, the dominant zooplankton species of the southern part of the North Sea. We sequenced the transcriptome (using RNA-seq technology) in T. longicornis, after being exposed to thermal stress, to investigate gene expression differences as a response to temperature fluctuations. 

Published on November 8, 2018

We are happy to announce that our colleague, Cecília Silva Pereira, on October 30, 2018, defended her dissertation to earn her doctoral degree! During her PhD, her research focused on assessing the effect of temperature on metal toxicity to Daphnia magna.

Published on October 22, 2018
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have key biological roles in fish cells. We recently showed that the phospholipid composition of rainbow trout liver cells (RTL-W1 cell line) modulates their tolerance to an acute cadmium (Cd) challenge. Here, we investigated (i) the extent to which PUFAs and Cd impact fatty acid homeostasis and metabolism in these cells and (ii) possible mechanisms by which specific PUFAs may confer cytoprotection against Cd.