The Sphere research group conducts fundamental and applied research concerning the adaptation of aquatic and terrestrial organisms to their environment and the effects of environmental contamination on the health status of organisms, populations and communities. Within this framework three lines of research can be distinguished. The first line is work concerning the bioavailability and accumulation of environmental contaminants, the second line concerns the mode of action and mechanisms of toxicity and the third line aims to relate effects at different levels of functional organisation.
The ECOBE research concentrates on the ecology of aquatic ecosystems and wetlands and the processes in the land-water interaction along the whole river continuum and the river-coastal sea interaction. The studied systems vary from small streams with riparian margins over larger rivers and floodplains to estuaries. These studies, both descriptive and experimental in nature, are integrated to predict the impact of different management options on the functioning and the biodiversity of the system.
Together the research force counts 8 professors, 6 postdocs and around 50 PhD students and additional technical staff. The research group leaders, prof Ronny Blust and prof Patrick Meire published over 1.000 A1 articles in peer reviewed journals.