The EnviroStress consortium focuses on mechanistic understanding of the impact of environmental pollution, in combination with other environmental factors and stressors, on the condition and performance of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. A diversity of organisms is studied, representing differences in structural and functional organisation and ecological niches and habitats. The work includes experimental studies under strictly controlled laboratory conditions, semi-controlled experiments in micro- and mesocosms and field based experiments and monitoring, as well as biochemodynamic modelling. For analytical support, special attention is given to the further development of our bioanalytical platform, by establishing more sensitive and selective analytical methods and by inclusion of new contaminants in our protocols. The research program comprises three pillars at different levels of functional organisation which provide complementary information on exposure, responses and effects.
Pillar 1: exposure and effects at the molecular and cellular scale
Pillar 1 characterises the effects of stressors in terms of their mode of action and the response profiles generated in a series of in silico, in vitro and in vivo model systems which are used in environmental and human risk assessment. We are elucidating the molecular processes involved in stress development, including uptake kinetics of toxic compounds, their interactions with the cellular machinery and the responses generated in terms of defense and repair.