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Bioavailability and mixture effects of metals in different European mussel populations
Deruytter, D. (2016). Bioavailability and mixture effects of metals in different European mussel populations. PhD Thesis. Ghent University, Environmental Toxicology Unit: Gent. 196 pp.

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Document type: Dissertation

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  • Deruytter, D., more

    More than 100 million tons of chemicals that have the potential to pose a risk to the environment are produced in Europe each year. A subset of these chemicals may, intentionally or not, enter and affect the environment. To protect the environment and the diverse services it provides, it is important to know what the impact and risk of a chemical release may be. Underestimating the risk can have harmful effects on the environment and on human health. Overestimating the risks may, unnecessarily, increase the costs of preventing or ameliorating pollution. Hence, accurate knowledge of the effects and the associated risks is essential. Predicting the effect of a chemical is, currently, primarily based on the results of singlespecies experiments with freshwater organisms that are exposed to a single stressor in a standardized (laboratory) environment. However, in reality organisms are not exposed to these standardized conditions, but live in and are exposed to a variable environment. Furthermore, inter-population differences in sensitivity may exist due to differences in local adaptation and even a single organism’s sensitivity may change during its lifetime. Finally, organisms may be exposed to multiple stressors, natural or anthropogenic, simultaneously. Hence, it is suggested that it might not be possible to accurately predict the adverse effects using the currently prescribed methods. The main objective of this research was to examine the effect of these potential sources of variation on the toxicity of chemicals on marine organisms in order to increase the realism of current environmental risk assessment procedures. This was accomplished by assessing the influence of environmental variation, mixture toxicity, population variability and life-stage variation on the accumulation and toxicity of Cu on a Cu sensitive marine test species, the mussel.

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