Published on May 26, 2014

Environmental effects on fished lobsters and crabs


In times of climate change, when the sea temperatures are increasing in the world oceans, and ocean acidification is becoming and increasing concern, information of environmental effects on key life history stages of important species is important and needs to be readily available. Lobsters and crabs are key commercial species, and due to their complex life cycle different environmental variable may have dissimilar effects on their abundance, depending on the life stage considered. This review will be very valuable for managers, fishermen as well as scientists alike.


Published on May 19, 2014

In Knack: Drs. Lisbeth Van Cauwenberghe comments on microplastic use in cosmetics.

lisbethLisbeth Van Cauwenberghe is currently conducting research on microplastics in a marine environment at GhEnToxLab. Knack (a weekly flemish newsmagazine) interviewed our colleague on the possible environmental and health issues of these microplastics.

Read the full article (Dutch) at:


Published on May 10, 2014

GhEnToxLab researcher Dr. Dieter De Coninck wins SETAC Europe Best Publication Award

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Every year SETAC Europe organises the Best Publication Award in the categories risk assessment, chemical analysis and ecotoxicology. This year the SETAC Europe Best Publication Award for risk assessment went to Dr. Dieter De Coninck, for his paper “An approach to assess the regulatory relevance of microevolutionary effects in ecological risk assessment of chemicals: a case study with cadmium”.

Published on May 10, 2014

Prof. Karel De Schamphelaere stands for election for a second 3-year term in the SETAC Europe Council

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At the General Assembly of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Europe in Basel on Wednesday 14 May, prof. Karel De Schamphelaere, is one of three candidates for being elected as a SETAC Europe council member (representing academia). 

Published on May 7, 2014

GhEnToxLab at SETAC Europe

setaclogo2 thumb medium50 75Another year, another SETAC conference. This month, our GhEnToxLab members will be presenting their research at the 24th SETAC Europe Annual Meeting in Basel, Switzerland from 11-15 May 2014. There we will highlight our research in a total of six platforms, one poster corner and nine posters. To keep track of us during the conference, a comprehensive list of our activities is provided below. 

Published on April 22, 2014

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Published on April 22, 2014

Elections at Ghent University

janaFrom the 5th till the 9th of May, Ghent University students and staff elect their representatives in various boards that govern the university. GhenToxLab is actively engaged in numerous boards and committees at both the faculty and the university level. Together with people from the Aquatic Ecology group, GhenToxLab members have applied for various representative positions. Prof. De Schamphelaere and Prof. Goethals (Aquatic Ecology) are both candidates to represent the ZAP staff in the Faculty Board of the Faculty of Biosciences. Drs. Jana Asselman and Dr. Pieter Boets (Aquatic Ecology) are both candidates to represent the AAP in the Faculty Board of the Faculty of Biosciences. In addition, Drs. Jana Asselman also teams up with Rob De Staelen from the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture to represent the AAP in the Board of Governors of Ghent University. You can read their election program on


We warmly encourage you to support GhenToxLab and the Aquatic Ecology group during the elections! 



Published on April 8, 2014

The ChimERA project: coupling mechanistic exposure and effect models into an integrated platform for ecological risk assessment


Typically, environmental exposure and the expected ecological effects are assessed separately. Yet for the last 25 years, the environmental realism, the ecological relevance, and the methodological accuracy of these official procedures have been questioned. Bearing in mind the ecological and environmental complexity inherent to natural ecosystems, risk assessors increasingly realise that ecological risk cannot be adequately assessed while disregarding most, if not all, of this complexity. Exposure to chemicals is not constant in time nor is it homogeneously distributed in space. This may allow for recovery-inducing processes at the individual, population, and community level. In addition, real ecosystems may be faced with the combined effects of multiple stressors. Moreover, this approach neglects that functional redundancy may compensate species loss and sustain functions in stressed ecosystems. Experimentally examining the effects of multiple stressors at higher levels of biological organisation from multiple exposure scenarios in various geographical areas is an informative exercise but cannot be considered as a standard approach for ERA. Instead, new models are needed which can be extrapolated to many different alternative scenarios. In this paper, we outline the methodology and objectives of a new project which will answer this need.

Published on March 31, 2014

Toxicity data for modeling impacts of oil components in an Arctic ecosystem

10646Today, modeling has become an invaluable tool to extrapolate impacts of toxicants from an individual to the population level. As such, it is essential for ecosystem-based approaches to impact assessment. For modelling purposes, this study synthesized available literature on the effects of petroleum related discharges on selected cold-water marine species (plankton and fish). The resulting dataset is to be used by ecotoxicology algorithms included in an ecosystem-based modeling system that combines both ecological and toxicological knowledge into a single modeling framework. We believe this study is of general value to the ecotoxicology community in two ways: first, the assembled data are of use to others engaged in the development and/or application of ecotoxicology models. Second, the results indicate where further ecotoxicology research will be of greatest value for both increasing general knowledge on cold-water ecotoxicology and for designing new ecotoxicology studies for modeling applications.

Published on March 10, 2014

A comparison of the short-term toxicity of cadmium to indigenous and alien gammarid species

10646Alien invasive species (AIS) are, next to global change, considered to be one of the major threats to global biodiversity. Globalisation and habitat deterioration positively contribute to the establishment success of AIS. Besides appropriate vectors of introduction and favourable environmental conditions their success can be attributed to species specific traits such as a high reproduction rate, an omnivorous diet and the ability to easily cope with changing environmental conditions. In this study, we hypothesized that AIS are more tolerant to metal pollution compared to native species. We tested this hypothesis based on a comparison between native and alien freshwater shrimps that were exposed to different concentrations of cadmium. We found significant differences in sensitivity to metal pollution between different species which should be taken into consideration in environmental risk assessment and water quality standard setting. There was no clear trend in Cd sensitivity between native and alien shrimps, indicating that alien species do not have an advantage over native ones in cadmium contaminated waters.