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Projekti Hrvatske zaklade za znanost
Total cost
191 506
Start date
Dec 18th 2023
End date
Dec 18th 2027

Principal investigator

Plastics are everywhere. While largely inert and therefore lacking the urgency that a lethal toxicant would entail, recent research shows substantial sublethal effects of exposure to plastics. This is particularly alarming because production and use of plastics is increasing.  (Micro)plastics also act as a vector for xenobiotics and pollutants, and often degrade physico-chemical properties of habitats.


Accounting for such diverse impacts of plastics requires process-based approaches able to link exposure to plastics and the related pollutants, to organismal effects - including sublethal ones. While recent research provides data on plastic and the related pollutant exposure, tools quantifying the resulting organismal effects have not been developed. Models based on Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) theory track energy and mass acquisition and utilization, thus providing a framework for development of such tools. DEB models can also include toxicokinetics (uptake and elimination of toxicants) and toxicodynamics (effects of toxicants), thus quantifying interdependencies between energy acquisition, toxicant exposure, and organismal life history.


QPlast will utilize DEB approaches to develop a set of tools to quantify (sub)lethal effects of exposure to plastics and the related pollutants. It will:

-  use the approach for estimating energy deficiency resulting from plastics ingestion developed by the PI to quantify effects of the exposure on species of special conservation interest,

- develop an ecotoxicological module accounting for effects of organic and inorganic pollutants leaching from ingested plastics, and

- investigate behavioral consequences of the exposure, using experiments on earthworms to guide model development.


QPlast will develop new tools for quantifying effects of plastics, and will make use of the growing body of knowledge on sub-organismal and organism-level effects of exposure to plastics and plastics-related pollutants.

HRZZ: Quantifying Impacts of Plastics in Aquatic and Terrestrial environments (QPlast)

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