Micropollutant availability and effects to phytoplankton in the Venice lagoon

(M. M. Wildi, Mlle C. Pestrimaux, Dr S. Le Faucheur, Prof. V. Slaveykova, in collaboration with Dr. R. Zonta, ISMAR, Italy)

The lagoon of Venice is a transitional ecosystem, located between the land and the Adriatic Sea. It is a very dynamic environment in terms of physical, chemical and biological characteristics due to the water inputs coming from the watershed and the sea. For example, its salinity or nutrient concentrations vary continuously over time. Additionally, the lagoon receives different loads of contaminants coming from industries, agriculture as well as domestic sewage. Aquatic organisms living in such ecosystem experience thus multiple gradients of stress, conditions to which only few ecotoxicological studies address, rather focusing on one stressor at a time, making potential risk assessment erroneous. The aim of this study is to fill this gap and model the effects of mixture of pollutants on phytoplankton.

The outcomes of this project address to the regulation of chemicals in the environment, and particularly to their risk assessment. Nowadays, water quality criteria developed to protect aquatic ecosystems, are limited by the lack of scientific data on the toxicity of stressor combination. The obtained results in the present study will be put in perspective with the present laws in order to improve them.