A blueprint for national ecological risk assessment based on indigenous aquatic organisms

15 March 2023 → 14 March 2027
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Aquatic biology
    • Environmental impact and risk assessment
    • Environmental monitoring
Biological assessment Ecological risk assessment Ecotoxicity DB Integrated ecotoxicity index
Project description

Water quality monitoring using traditional physico-chemical analysis has serious disadvantages due to high cost, tedious processing time, limited technology, and lack of trained human resources. In the absence of information on the presence of unknown extraneous pollutants or their interactions with pollutants, it is not possible to determine the direct risk to humans and other living organisms when assessing quality. Therefore, ecotoxicity assessments have emerged to overcome these limitations. In Korea, there are about nine types of ecotoxicity test standards for seawater; however, for freshwater, only Daphnia is considered as a test organism. Nevertheless, testing a large population of Daphnia, a foreign species, in the native habitat may result in: 1) an unclear interpretation of the indigenous ecosystem and its functions, 2) disruption of the indigenous ecosystem due to the introduction of new species, and 3) economic damage caused by the implementation of foreign species. Therefore, there is an urgent need for the development of robust ecotoxicity test involving native species. The ultimate goal of this study is to develop 11 techniques for acute and chronic ecotoxicity assessment based on aquatic species. In particular, through the joint research with the research team on the home campus, a standardisation of the joint development technology between UGent and GUGC can be expected.