Understanding both the fate and effects of chemicals in the aquatic environment is fundamental in assessing the risks that chemicals may pose to aquatic organisms. The Ecotoxicology and Risk Assessment Section carries out biodegradation tests to determine the persistence of chemicals in freshwater and marine environments and according to regulatory guidelines such as OECD 301, 306 etc. In addition, the hazard assessment of chemicals performed in the Ecotoxicology laboratories involves a wide variety of test organisms in both freshwater and marine test systems according to regulatory test guidelines (e.g. OECD, ISO) and also more complex customised test set-ups according to our customer’s needs.
Biological effects assessments, using an integrative suite of biomarker responses, are important tools performed within the Ecotoxicology laboratory and are used to provide additional endpoints to provide reasons for adverse effects of chemicals. Biological effects monitoring is used for a diverse range of industrial discharges including mining, aquaculture, sewage treatment and coastal and offshore oil and gas activities. Our staff are trained in many biological effects techniques that are measured in tissues, cellular fluids and whole organisms and show an exposure and/ or effect to one or more chemical contaminant(s). Model organisms include fish and mussel, which are used in laboratory controlled studies as well as field investigations using naturally occurring and field transplantation studies.