Aquatic ecosystems are complex environments where organisms interact with a heterogeneous group of stressors from anthropogenic and natural origin. Yet, current risk assessment practices fail to include these combined effects of stressors and their potential interaction as they primarily use a chemical-by-chemical approach. The lack of sufficient comprehensive data in literature and the lack of predictive models further impede the incorporation of combined and interaction effect in environmental regulation.
Combined and interaction effects are likely to increase significantly in the future. Anthropogenic factors and climate change conditions stimulate bloom formation of potential toxic cyanobacteria. These organisms are an emerging concern for both environmental and public health. Although effects on mammals are well documented and understood, the mechanisms driving adverse effects on zooplankton species remain unclear and research is largely biased towards effects of Microcystis.
The project therefore focuses on developing new techniques based on RNA expression profiles to estimate combined effects of cyanobacterial stress and pesticide stress on the water flea.