UBC - Chair of Environmental Biology and Chemodynamics
ESA - Department of Ecosystem Analysis
Our research aims at assessing dynamics and effects of stressors in the aquatic environment and developing methods for removal or reduction of ecological damage.
Anthropogenic and natural pollutants often result in adverse effects on different levels of biological organisation – from molecules to ecosystems. We are developing test systems in order to assess both acute and mechanism-specific toxicity as well as chronic toxicity caused by chemicals in different environmental compartments, as water, sediment and soil. These are investigated by in vitro methods, various test species, populations and communities in lab- and field-based systems. Monitoring of effects and integrated strategies are also topics in our research. The observed effects are used for the extrapolation of environmental risks.
Modelling and simulation play an important role in the effort of structural study of ecological systems. In environmental risk analysis different kinds of techniques are used to model spatial and temporal dynamics. Simulation models are able to depict and predict concentration-dependent effects and their extent on individuals, populations and communities. In individual-based simulation we use process-based models based on the life-cycle of individuals, in statistic modelling approaches the model structure is developed in a data-based inductive way.
The exposure of organisms with environmental contaminants is directly linked to the properties of the environmental matrix and the physico-chemical properties and the fate of such chemicals. In this area of our research we study, therefore, the metabolism, bioavailability, binding and formation of non-extractable residues of the pollutants in soil, water-sediment, and plants. In addition we develop remediation technologies of polluted sites, e.g. by phytoremediation.