Emerging contaminants in freshwaters: deciphering impact on aquatic macroinvertebrate metabolic response and ecosystem transfer
Current state-of-the-art research identifies Europe’s water bodies and resources impacted by a vast number of emerging contaminants. The presence of emerging contaminants such as pharmaceuticals (PhACs) and endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) in the aquatic environment is well known, but the information on their presence and fate in aquatic organisms is still scarce. Understanding of effects of PhACs and EDCs on aquatic biota is a prerequisite for a thorough assessment of their environmental risk and shaping future environmental policies. Accordingly this project aims at advancing our knowledge on: I) endogenous and exogenous metabolic response of selected aquatic macroinvertebrates to mixture of PhACs and EDCs and II) bioaccumulation of these compounds and aquatic-terrestrial food web coupling. These objectives will be approached by combining field based research (in situ) and laboratory (mesocosm) experiments. Last generation analytical methods that include hybrid and high resolution mass spectrometric instrumentation will be used to study metabolomic profiles and to detect PhACs and EDCs in biota samples. By establishing collaboration with world known scientist from a leading European water research institute (Catalan Institute for Water Research) unique combination of skills, expertise (ecology, environmental chemistry and mass spectrometry) and knowledge will be mobilized to carry out the project activities. Accordingly, we expect that achieved understandings of metabolic profiles of aquatic insects exposed to PhACs and EDCs, but also bioaccumulation and ecosystems transfer of these compounds will have direct application in the environmental risk assessment. In addition, project actions will contribute to development of research infrastructure and transfer of knowledge and skills to Croatia, as well as increase of prospects for project leader participation in H2020 programme.