Baltic Sea multilevel health impacts on key species of anthropogenic hazardous substances

Coordinator: Rune Dietz, Aarhus University - Department of Bioscience
Total budget: EUR 2.8 million

Duration: 3 years, 1.4.2017-31.3.2020

Summaries of reports:

The Baltic serves as a unique model ecosystem in which top predators can provide early warnings for ecosystem health. Over the last century the Baltic food web has been severely impacted by hazardous substances, hunting, fisheries and eutrophication. The main focus of the proposed project BONUS BALTHEALTH is therefore to investigate spatial and temporal trends in multilevel food web impacts of chemical substances, climate change, zoonotic diseases, and their interactions. The consortium, representing four BONUS countries, provides a unique synergism of extensive ecological, toxicological and veterinary expertise. The consortium has access to state of the art facilities and techniques, as well as decades of acquired samples and data, which will be used to develop novel indicators of animal health and good ecological status. Once having defined food web interactions between key ecological and commercial species, separate work packages will investigate food web dynamics of energy and hazardous substances, linkages to pathological, immune and endocrine effect biomarkers, as well as important infectious and zoonotic diseases. All data will feed into an integrated model of health effects of multiple stressors on the Baltic food web. The BONUS BALTHEALTH outcome will furthermore provide novel knowledge for risk assessment by Baltic stakeholders, including HELCOM, ICES, OSPAR and ASCOBANS, and will have large impact through education, public media and the participating national history museums.

Keywords: hazardous substances, food web, biomarkers, diseases, population effect modeling

Partners: Sweden, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway, United States of America

For more information visit BONUS BALTHEALTH's website and the BONUS projects' website.