(Abstract submissions are closed)

Aquatic ecotoxicology focuses on the effects of chemicals and other abiotic or physical stressors on aquatic organisms. This includes amongst others the impact of ammonia, metals, legacy POPs, PAHs, pharmaceuticals, plant protection and personal care products, flame retardants, and perfluorinated compounds. Effects at different levels of biological organisation can be addressed in this session, ranging from specific tissues through phenotypical (including endocrine and behavioural changes) up to population responses. This includes, but is not limited to, mixture toxicity, standard and novel aquatic toxicity assays, as well as microcosm, mesocosm, and in situ studies.

Since there is a constant release of chemicals into the environment, it is crucial to understand their environmental fate and potential risk for living organisms. In addition to standard testing of chemicals, mathematical models have become a powerful tool helping to not only identify potential exposure pathways and their magnitudes, but also understand the chemical kinetics and (toxic) modes of action within organisms, and predicting future trends. This session will focus on state-of-the-art modelling methods that proceed to elucidate the impact of chemical and environmental stressors in acute and chronic exposure scenarios. Submitted research may include for example empirical or process-based (mechanistic) effect models, pharmacokinetic models, environmental fate models, as well as strategies developed to reduce model uncertainties.

Describing and interpreting environmental chemistry data is crucial to enhance our understanding towards the chemical status of the environment. In this session, the aim is to highlight research that focuses on novel analytical methods and quantitative determination of legacy and emerging compounds in the environment. Research topics may include, i.e., description of the environmental fate of pollutants, chemical analysis and monitoring of pollutants in the air, water, sediment, and biota, or development of novel analytical methods.

The Earth’s climate is the product of complex and highly dynamic interactions among physical, chemical and biological processes occurring at many scales in the atmosphere, at terrestrial, freshwater and marine surfaces, and in the depths of the oceans. Scientists are aware that climate change is happening due to anthropogenic activities, but our ability to predict how the Earth’s ecological as well as human systems will respond to climate change is still limited. Climate change is likely to affect the fate and transport of chemicals in the environment, the trophic balance in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and the geographical distribution and fitness of organisms, including pests and pathogens. Examples of research fitting this session include the impact of climate change on the behaviour of pollutants and their toxicity, stress ecology (e.g., temperature stress and other joint stress effects) and adaptation.

Risk Assessment and Regulation

Over the years, the need for relevant and reliable ecotoxicity data for hazard and risk assessment has been increasing, in response to the growing complexity of European and global chemical regulations. Appropriate hazard and risk assessment data are integral during the evaluation and authorization of chemicals such as industrial chemicals, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals. In this session, example research topics are risk and hazard assessment of chemicals, and novel testing strategies and tools for the reliable testing of complex chemicals. Research regarding the development or applicability of Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) approaches is fitting as well.

Microplastics (MPs) (smaller than 5 mm) are of rising scientific and public concern because of the adverse effects exhibited within the environment as well as continually increasing amounts. MPs differ in their physicochemical properties (e.g. shape, size, polymer type) and derive from a variety of sources. Primary MPs, which are produced in this size fraction, and secondary MPs, which are formed by abrasion and degradation of bigger plastic pieces, are both found all over the world, especially in the oceans. Due to their chemical properties and their high surface to volume ratio, MPs effectively sorb hydrophobic substances (including most anthropogenic chemicals). Ingested MPs can lead to potentially hazardous consequences for organisms’ survival, growth, reproduction, or metabolism. This session aims at discussing sources and degradation of MPs, accumulative effects within food chains, transport effects of chemicals, sorption/desorption properties, sampling methods, and monitoring of MPs.

Molecular and Genetic Ecotoxicology

Molecular and genetic ecotoxicology focuses on the effects of chemicals on organisms at the subcellular level, such as gene and protein expression, protein activities and metabolism. Research topics applicable to this session are chemical interactions with molecular components (DNA damage, biotransformation, metabolic pathway disruption) to population-level effects of contaminants (changes in genetic variability, mutation rate, trans-generational and evolutionary responses). Epigenetics and biomarkers studies are encouraged to apply.

‘Omics as the Future for Ecotoxicology

There are over 100 million organic and inorganic substances known to mankind, making it analytically, physically and financially impractical to detect and test the toxicity of all of these chemicals in the environment. Therefore, better methods must be developed and validated to quantify biologically relevant endpoints of toxicity. ‘Omics technologies (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, lipidomics, and metabolomics) are gaining increasing prominence in ecotoxicology because they can provide molecular insights into the biological significance of chemical exposure. This session aims to discuss how ‘omics technologies can advance the field of ecotoxicology while providing data relevant for risk assessment. Examples of topics fitting this session include: ‘omics-based predictions of apical endpoints, cross-species extrapolations, studies integrating chemical monitoring and ‘omics, biomonitoring, biomarker development, chemical risk assessments and non-invasive ‘omics applications. Both field- and laboratory-based research of aquatic and/or terrestrial organisms are welcome.

Nanotechnology is an emerging field with numerous applications and increasing usage, which comes along with (un-)intentional release of nanomaterials (NMs) into the environment. The increasing release and the potential negative impacts of NMs raise concerns. This session aims to address environmental fate as well as biological effects of NMs. Examples of research fitting this session include effect evaluation of NMs from subcellular up to population levels, modelling of release, fate, and effects in the environment, risk assessment, characterisation and synthesizing methods for NMs.

The focus of terrestrial ecotoxicology is on the effects of chemicals and other abiotic stressors on terrestrial organisms. Submissions based on laboratory and field studies, as well as ecological modelling approaches, are highly welcomed. Submitted research may include, for example, exposure and ecological effects of chemicals in soil and terrestrial biota, soil toxicity, fate and transport of chemicals in terrestrial environments, or assessments of agricultural chemicals.

When it comes to the management and preservation of the environment, science and technology need to go hand in hand. In this session we want to give a special focus to innovations, strategies, and applications that aim to reduce human impacts on nature and/or improve the environmental quality. With this intentionally vague description, we welcome submissions from all disciplines of environmental engineering in a broad sense. Studies from the field of Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) are also appreciated.