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NICE - Marine Environmental Research

Research project
Inactive research
Project period
2012 - 2019
Project owner
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences

Financier
Swedish research council Formas

Short description

Mixtures of toxic chemicals regularly occur in our coastal ecosystems. The research project NICE - Novel instruments for effectbased assessment of chemical pollution in coastal ecosystems developed instruments for monitoring their ecological effects, as required by the Water Framework Directive and needed for identification of the relevant pollutants in the field.

NICE three main aims

(i) To develop a NICE toolbox for effect‐based monitoring and risk assessment of realistic, complex exposure situations. The tools are based on an integration of the whole landscape of ecotoxicological effects, comprising advanced molecular tools (OMICs), classical biomarkers and population level endpoints and finally advanced ecological effect indicators (PICT).

(ii) To validate and apply the developed tools in a multi‐level field study, comprising fish, invertebrates and microorganisms. We will provide an in‐depth assessment of the links between ecological and chemical status at selected sites at the Swedish westcoast (in Västra Götaland). This will be contrasted with sites in Germany and Poland with known heavy pollution.

(iii) To provide options for amending current regulatory approaches for chemicals in the environment, in order to facilitate the setting of “mixture‐aware” environmental quality targets and monitoring approaches.

The NICE tools was evaluated in field studies. NICE research group suggested options for environmental regulation of chemical mixtures, thus provided input to the water management in Västra Götaland. Reference and contaminated sites mainly on the Swedish coast was selected in co-operation with stakeholder authorities and subjected to deeper ecotoxicological investigations. Chemical monitoring data was initially used for pinpointing the pollutants at each site. These was ranked according to their expected environmental impact and then further investigated by extended chemical analysis.

Ecotoxicological effect profiles (“fingerprints”) of the priority pollutants was recorded for microbial communities, invertebrates and fish, using classic biomarkers, population level endpoints, ecological effect indicators (PICT) and advanced fingerprints based on (gen-)OMICs. The fingerprints was used to detect effects in the environment, providing causal links between the mere presence of pollutants and their ecological impact of a site. The effect profiles was aggregated into models for site-specific ecological impacts, which were amended, if needed, to take into account the presence of unknown pollutants and interactions.

Work areas

  • Exposure assessment

  • Fish Ecotoxicology

  • Invertebrate Ecotoxicology

  • Legal work

  • Microbial Biofilms 

  • Omics and bioinformatics

Outreach and dissemination

The dissemination of this research project took place at several levels; within the project, to our stakeholders in the industry, the innovation system, policy, funding agencies and regulatory authorities, to the scientific community and to the public.
 

Major outreach activities

  • SETAC Focus Topic Meeting on mixture toxicity assessment in Colorado (Sept. 2017)
  • NICE Summerschool on bioinformatics for next-generation sequencing data (Kristineberg Marine Research Station, 2015)
  • Special Science Symposium on marine strategy framework directive (Brussels, 2014)
  • 5 mixture sessions at the international conferences of the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC, 2012-2017)
  • Omic approaches in biofilm research: advances in ecology and ecotoxicology  (2018)

 

Microbial work area

Bengtsson J., Eriksson K.M., Hartmann M., Wang Z., Shenoy B.D., Grelet G.-A., Abarenkov K., Petri A., Rosenblad M.A. and Nilsson R.H. (2011) Metaxa: A software tool for automated detection and discrimination among ribosomal small subunit (12S/16S/18S) sequences of archaea, bacteria, eukaryotes, mitochondria, and chloroplasts in metagenomes and environmental sequencing datasets. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek100 (3), 471-475.

Ohlauson C., Eriksson K.M., Haraldsson M. and Blanck H. Medetomidine effects on photosynthesis and protein synthesis in periphyton, epipsammon and plankton communites in relation to predicted environmental concentrations. (2012) Biofouling 28 (5), 491-499.

Bengtsson J., Hartmann M., Unterseher M., Vaishampayan P., Abarenkov K., Durso L., Bik E., Garey J., Eriksson K.M. and Nilsson R.H. (2012) Megraft: A software package to graft ribosomal small subunit (16S/18S) fragments onto full-length sequences for accurate species richness and sequencing depth analysis in pyrosequencing-length metagenomes. Research in Microbiology 163, 407-412.

Tlili A., Bérard A., Blanck H., Bouchez A., Cassio F., Eriksson K.M, Guasch H., Morin S., Montuelle B., Navarro E., Pascoal C., Pesce S., Schmitt-Jansen M. and Behra R. Pollution Induced Community Tolerance (PICT): towards an ecologically relevant risk assessment of chemicals in freshwaters. Accepted for publication in Freshwater Biology.

Eriksson, K.M., Johansson, H., Fihlman, V., Green, A., Sanli, K., Andersson, M.X., Blanck, H., Arrhenius, Å., Sircar, T. and Backhaus, T. Long-term effects of the antibacterial agent triclosan on marine periphyton communities. Accepted in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

Bengtsson-Palme, J., Hartmann, M., Eriksson, K.M., Pal, C., Thorell, K., Larsson, D.G.J. and Nilsson, R.H. Metaxa2: Improved Identification and Taxonomic Classification of Small and Large Subunit rRNA in Metagenomic Data. Accepted in Molecular Ecology Resources.

Fish Ecotoxicology

Asker N , Carney Almroth B, Albertsson E, Coltellaro M, Bignell JP, Hanson N, Scarcelli V, Fagerholm B, Parkkonen J, Wijkmark E, Frenzilli G, Förlin L and Sturve J (2015). A gene to organism approach – assessing the impact of environmental pollution in eelpout (Zoarces viviparus) females and larvae. Env. Tox. and Chem. In press

Sturve J, Balk L, Liewenborg B, Adolfsson-Erici M, Förlin L and Carney Almroth B (2014). Effects of an oil spill in a harbor assessed using biomarkers of exposure in eelpout. Env. Science and Pollut Res, 21(24): 13758-13768.

Asker N, Kristiansson E, Albertsson E, Larsson DGJ and Förlin L (2013). Hepatic transcriptome profiling indicates differential mRNA expression of apoptosis and immune related genes in eelpout (Zoarces viviparus) caught at Göteborg harbor, Sweden. Aquat. Toxicol, 130-131, 58-67.

Albertsson E, Rad A, Sturve J, Larsson DGJ and Förlin L (2012). Carbonyl reductase mRNA abundance and enzymatic activity as potential biomarkers of oxidative stress in marine fish. Mar. Env. Res. 80, 56-61.

Microbial work area

Bengtsson J., Hartmann M., Eriksson K., Nilsson R.H. (2013) Metaxa, overview. In: Nelson K. (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Metagenomics: SpringerReference (www.springerreference.com). Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, DOI: 10.1007/SpringerReference_304105 2012-06-01 1, http://www.springerreference.com/docs/html/chapterdbid/304105.html

Microbial work area

Metaxa – a software package for automated identification and classification of small subunit (SSU) rRNA sequences from archaea, bacteria, eukaryotes, chloroplasts and mitochondria in metagenomic and environmental sequencing data sets. http://microbiology.se/software/metaxa/

Megraft – a software package to graft ribosomal small subunit (16S/18S) fragments onto full-length sequences for accurate species richness and sequencing depth analysis in pyrosequencing-length metagenomes. http://microbiology.se/software/megraft/

ITSx - Improved software detection and extraction of ITS1 and ITS2 from ribosomal ITS sequences of fungi and other eukaryotes for use in environmental sequencing. http://microbiology.se/category/software/itsx/

Metaxa II - Improved Identification and Taxonomic Classification of Small and Large Subunit rRNA in Metagenomic Data. http://microbiology.se/2014/02/01/metaxa2-is-here/

 

Microbial work area

Eriksson K. M. & Blanck H. Båtbottengift kan ge svårupptäckta ekologiska effekter efter lång tids användning. Accepted for publication in Havsutsikt 1, 2013

Microbial work area

Bengtsson, J. (2011) Metagenomic Analysis of Marine Periphyton Communities. Master thesis at the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg

Fihlman, V. (2013) Short- and long-term effects of the antibacterial agent triclosan on photosynthesis of marine periphyton communities. Master thesis at the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg

Fish Ecotoxicology

Andrea mariossi. Toxic effects of multiple chemical exposures in the three-spined stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus: single and mixed interaction of cadmium, benzo-α-pyrene and bisphenol A. 60 hec master thesis, 2013. Supervisor Joachim Sturve.

Sophie Grellet. Cytotoxicity effects of mixture of chemicals in a rainbow trout gill cell line. 30 hec master thesis, 2013. Supervisor Joachim Sturve.

Kajsa Kvartsberg. Lysozyme activity in eelpout (Zoarces viviparus). 15 hec thesis, 2013, Supervisor Noomi Asker.

Keerthi Sing. Is there an effect on the thyroid system in fish captured in Göteborg harbour? 15 hec thesis, 2013. Supervisor Noomi Asker

Noomi Asker. Effects of environmental pollution on the thyroid system and its regulation in female eelpout (Zoarces viviparus). 29th Congress of the European Society for Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry (ESCPB), Glasgow, Scotland, 2014.

Lars Förlin. Deterioration of fish health in Swedish national reference coastal sites. 29th Congress of the European Society for Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry (ESCPB), Glasgow, Scotland, 2014.

Lars Förlin. Integrated monitoring of coastal fish. National Swedish program. Oral presentation at ICES WGBEC meeting in March 3-7, 2014 in Copenhagen Denmark.

Noomi Asker. A gene to organ approach – assessing the health status of eelpout (Zoarces viviparous) female and larvae. PRIMO international conference. Faro, Portugal, 2013

Noomi Asker. Large scale gene expression profiling on female eelpout (Zoarces viviparus) and developing larvae capture around the Baltic Sea area. 28th Congress of the European Society for Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry (ESCPB), Bilbao, Spain, 2012.

Contact

Thomas Backhaus
Associate Professor
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
University of Gothenburg

Phone: +46 (0)31-786 2734
E mail: thomas.backhaus@bioenv.gu.se